Best BIM! Bad BIM! – Dan Rossiter

Dan Rossiter shares his good, bad and ugly BIM experiences in the latest of our Best BIM! Bad BIM! profiles…

Best BIM experience:

My best BIM experience would have to be on a recent school project I was design team leader for; where I finally managed to suggest a new way of working that was well received.


As part of our goal to reach BIM:2 we have been trialling a number of BIM related features in the office; these have ranged from layer naming conventions, file structures and standard templates. Up to this point most have been met with a lot of resistance.


The newest feature is a means to transfer our paper based room data sheets into Revit, which involved a modified room tag and a lot of shared parameters. The use of this tag allowed us to transfer from A4 RDS sheets, to A3 with a plan of the room alongside the tag. 


These room data sheets allowed for a reduction in tender drawings as a lot of information could be transferred to A3. For example, our interior design drew furniture layouts, which allowed the RDS to also be used to co-ordinate the FFE. 


Overall the idea has been well received. The M&E engineers who were not Revit trained were shown how to input data and were impressed at how easy it was to manipulate. This new method has been used on other schemes, and is incorporated as part of our Revit standard template.


As a result the office is now more open to some of my suggestion, and I feel that I have helped moved us a little closer to that 2016 goal.



Worst BIM experience:

My worst experience has been the near identical format of a lot of BIM seminars. Having attended a few, this is the kind of format I expect:

“Welcome, we are hear to talk about BIM”
“Remember, BIM isn’t just about a pretty 3D model” <<pause for laughter>>
“BIM uses the benefits of manufacturing in a construction scheme, like building a car!”
            15mins of car analogies that barely relate to BIM or construction
“I will pass you over to <<name>> from the govt. who is here to make BIM clearer”
            45mins of no new information
“Next is <<name>> from <<IT company>> who will explain the wealth of software available”
            45mins of free advertising
“Finally we have a workshop where we go into groups and discuss benefits/concerns of BIM”
            30mins of useful ideas that will never get incorporated, and everyone asking for case studies and more guidance



Lessons learnt:

I have learnt that change doesn’t come easy. In an office such as ours where a large majority of the workforce is above 40, there is a natural aversion to new ways of working. This resistance, however, quickly dissipates when the advantages have been demonstrated. Having successfully changed how we deal with room data sheets it was renewed by enthusiasm to incorporate more BIM-related features into our standard workflow.


Ultimately I have learnt that BIM isn’t about software, or technology. It is a cultural change, once we accept it is about doing things in a different way, adoption will come a lot easier.



Dan works in the public sector as a design team leader on many schemes from a new binstore to multi-million school extensions.  He runs the office CPD seminars, informal software training, and along with another colleague is also responsible for championing BIM.


Outside of the office Dan is currently in the middle of a part-time PhD looking at the effects of poor IAQ from classroom refurbishment of schoolchildren; and aims one day to lecture on BIM / Architecture at University.