So let’s first consider why BIM?
It’s fair to say that most (if not all) of us in this industry enter on to site with perhaps only 50-75% of the information we actually need to deliver the project; leaving more than 25% to be resolved on site. Scary when you think of it that way isn’t it? Now, we can discuss the whys and wherefores all night on this one; but until you develop a culture of collaboration and early involvement from client to the lower tiers of supply you’ll simply get what you had before… poor and often late decision making resulting in a lack of information before going to site. BIM software and file sharing platforms are without doubt the super whizzy things sent to us from above to enable the creation of better coordinated, reliable information across the lifecycle of a built asset; however the quantum leap for implementation is not the adoption of technology itself but in the collaborative ways of working we seemed to have dropped as a good idea nearly a decade or so ago; dare I say partnering?
‘poor and often late decision making resulting in lack of information before going to site’
However, the collaborative environment is not going to happen overnight. The mechanics of procurement need to be challenged first, particularly in the public sector. Then, and only then, will we be able to move forward; and this may take years to develop in the right manner. It’s also unlikely we will see the demonstrable benefits of BIM coming through for some time. It therefore has to be acknowledged that BIM is a journey not a destination. You simply can’t become BIM ready, BIM compliant, BIM accredited, or BIM whatever you want to call it until you have developed mature ways of working that are based on collaborative culture and behaviour – on both client and supply side.
‘Completing the journey will require such vigour and determination that can only be delivered by those willing to champion this change’
Imagine a day when you will receive 90-100% complete information, way before you are due to arrive on site that you can distribute seamlessly amongst your preselected supply chain. Sounds perfect? This is a transformation like no other seen before in this industry. Successful organisations will be the ones who can keep this end in sight. Completing the journey will require such vigour and determination that can only be delivered by those willing to champion such change.
BIM Champions – Your Company Needs You!
A BIM Champion is positioned to lead an organisation in the successful implementation of BIM. Through the creation of a BIM Strategy, BIM Champions are equipped with the required knowledge and skills to drive change throughout their organisation, aligning processes and systems in a collaborative environment, allowing for the production and sharing of information. The rise of the BIM Champion has already been seen throughout industry; Tom Oulton from East Riding of Yorkshire Council is a well admired BIM Champion driving the change from client side. When asked about the challenges he faced in his role he commented:
“On a daily basis we come across barriers to change. My role is to understand these barriers and work with our teams to bring them down. We are no different to the suppliers in our industry. It’s definitely more about people and ways of working than technology and to do this properly we have to be prepared to change and become more collaborative with our suppliers. But this will indeed take time.”
– Tom Oulton, BIM Champion at East Riding of Yorkshire Council
The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has now launched a nationwide CPD certified ‘BIM Champion Programme’ with the aim of empowering and equipping individuals across industry to successfully drive their organisations through this change. If you would like to know more about the programme please follow this link.
Tim Whitehill (follow him on Twitter @_fivetim) is the Managing Director of Project Five Consulting Ltd.
Inspired to launch Project Five, Tim’s aim is to better organisations operating within the built environment; moving the industry beyond compliance and onto achieving excellence. Tim’s commitment to improving the industry doesn’t stop at Project Five; since 2012, he has been the Chairman of Constructing Excellence in Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral and since 2013 Chairman of the National Clubs Steering Committee. Tim aims to provide an approach to innovation and continuous improvement to better the way the construction sector serves the needs of the built environment.