BIM Voice: If BIM is a journey… Do you need a Route map?

BIM Voice - Andy Spooner

Project Five‘s Andy Spooner is back with another guest article on BIMcrunch.

Like me, many of you reading this will remember a time of when you were planning a long journey you would get out road map and diligently plan your route to your final destination. This planning would invariably include considerations for the initial part of the journey such as your route to join the motorway, the volume of traffic, strategic comfort points and stages of your journey. This meticulous level of planning would help ensure you increased the predictability of arriving at your final destination safely, on time and as efficiently as possible.

Through the levels of innovation in this area and society’s acceptance of the developing technology, it has become even easier through the use of online tools such as Route Planners, the further development and availability of affordable technology such as GPS and Satellite Navigation which has now become ‘mainstream’ in society.

So, let’s consider the above common scenario in the context of BIM. Many of you will understand that BIM implementation is a ‘journey’; a start point, initial steps, a route to and a desired final BIM destination. Therefore, I believe that to reach our final BIM destination, the Built Environment’s BIM 2016 Level 2 objectives and beyond, we must firstly define our BIM start point and our desired BIM destination. Once we have established the key phases of our journey, we can plan our route effectively including the key strategic points of our journey to measure our progress on the journey to ensure we are on track to arrive at our final BIM destination as per the opening scenario I describe.

Many Stakeholders in our industry including Clients, Main Contractors and supply chain members are struggling to define their BIM journey ‘start point’, the BIM ‘route map’ and their final BIM ‘destination’. As I have alluded to in this blog, and I hope you as the reader agrees, BIM is a journey and if you are setting off on a journey you need to have considered the above and planned your route appropriately. Surely you wouldn’t leave the achievement of your organisations and the industries BIM objectives to chance would you?

Therefore, I ask you…. do you and your organisation need a ‘route map’ for your BIM journey? If your answer is yes, then I would recommend you consider utilising the well-recognised Lean and Process Improvement tool of Process Mapping.

Process Mapping your current processes to understand the ‘Current State’ will help you and your organisation identify the starting point of your BIM journey, how BIM ‘ready’ you are and how BIM will influence or impact on your current processes? Utilising the information and outputs generated through the Process Mapping methodology your organisation will be able to define your current BIM readiness, levels of maturity and the journey your organisation needs to travel to achieve your organisations and the industries BIM objectives. Creating this detailed level of understanding will enable you and your organisation to define your desired ‘Future State’ i.e. your BIM destination, and develop a detailed BIM ‘route map’ which includes the strategic points of your journey to measure and assess your progress.

By engaging the team in developing a common understanding of your organisations BIM journey you will invariably increase the levels of understanding and commitment to achieving these objectives. Process Mapping the ‘Current State’ and the requirements of your BIM journey will enable all of your team to support and drive (please excuse the pun) in the same direction to ensure your organisation reaches its desired ‘BIM’ destination.

With BIM Level 2 in March 2016 on all publicly procured projects looming on the horizon, it is definitely time to consider where you and your organisation are on your BIM journey. So, if you haven’t planned your BIM ‘route map’ yet then Process Mapping is a must for you to define your BIM ‘route map’.

Even if you have already planned your BIM journey, I would guess you have encountered a few roadblocks or traffic jams along the way? If so, then I would also recommend that you utilise Process Mapping techniques to support the implementation of BIM. Remember, when on a car journey your Sat-Nav will continuously assess your progress to your final destination and recalculate your route if you encounter traffic jams and roadblocks. This adage may be useful when your organisation considers its BIM journey and as the industry as whole begins to get to grips with BIM maturity.

I often consider the quote below when working with my clients when implementing ‘process based change’ to enhance performance:

“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you about your destination.” – Drake

I am convinced BIM is ‘process based change’ and will enhance performance and therefore, I believe the above quote is very apt in this case. I would love to know your thoughts…

Author Profile:

Andy Spooner (follow him on Twitter @_fiveandys) is an Associate Director of Project Five Consulting Ltd.

At Project Five Andy specialises in the delivery of lean and continuous improvement techniques to deliver greater efficiency and bring about collaborative working through cultural and behavioural change. Andy has over 20 years’ experience in delivering lean support, training and development programmes across a range of industry sectors including aerospace, automotive and construction. Andy is also chair of the Lean Construction Institutes (LCI) North West Community of Practice and I am a committee member of Constructing Excellence’s (CE) Liverpool Construction Best Practice Club.