BIM Voice – Lanre Gbolade: BIM adoption for Residential Client bodies

BIM Voice - Lanre Gbolade

BIMcrunch has become a platform for a plethora of elite industry names to become guest writers on the site and share their thoughts and opinions with the #GlobalBIMCrew. We are delighted to welcome Lanre Gbolade to the site, an Architect working with one of the UK‘s leading property developers in the role of Design Coordination and Management.

As those of you with a keen eye on industry movements will have seen, BIM has come to the fore of the industry over the last 4 years since the Government’s mandate to deliver all publically funded construction projects to BIM Level 2 by 2016.

With that time fast approaching the general consensus from media forums and my personal participation in industry events indicates some uncertainty and a lack of interest from residential developers to capture the significant benefits that BIM adoption has to offer their businesses.

Having worked in both architectural practices and for one of the South East’s leading residential developers since the turn of the decade, I’ve been able to witness the growth in awareness of BIM utilisation on the consultant side and draw attention to the need for its adoption within the client design management team processes.

My personal experiences seem to suggest a number of key barriers to BIM adoption exist within residential developer organisations:

1 – The perceived enormous costs & time associated with implementation. Like any investment, you need to put something in to get something out, but this need not be an expensive process.

2 – The belief that private residential developers do not need to use BIM as their funding doesn’t come directly from the public purse. This may well be the case now; however this will not last as more Housing Association bodies with funding links to government agencies request BIM information for operational use post handover from their private development partners.

3 – A perception that BIM is a modelling tool only for consultants and contractors. This perception probably comes from a misunderstanding generally within the industry that BIM is primarily useful for visualisation purposes, rather than appreciating what it really is; a process of collaborative project information management.

4 – A lack of certainty from all participants to the process of BIM regarding their role in the process. To a degree this is still understandable, as the industry continues to learn from each project and precedents.

For successful implementation to take place, my experiences to date would suggest there needs to be:

• Directorate/Leadership buy-in and promotion of BIM right through the business. It could be strongly argued this is more pressing with BIM than the implementation of other organisational/departmental change management processes because BIM really is fully impacting across all areas of the business (if implemented correctly). This starts right from Project Strategy/inception (Land acquisition) through to Operation and potential refurbishment => Whole Lifecycle Project Management.

Departmental BIM Champions and strategists are required with the commitment and knowledge to see BIM and a culture change implemented. This may be a combination of external consultants supporting the business’ own staff or entirely one or the other.

• Dedicated BIM Champions from each workstream of the business who regularly meet and relay/champion the impacts on day-to-day business of BIM implementation to the leadership.

The PAS1192-2:2013 (Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using Building Information Modelling) and CIC BIM Protocol are readily available to assist with understanding the management and legal frameworks for delivering BIM Level 2 compliant projects. Whilst the PAS may seem an intensive read for those just getting to grips with BIM, it does cover all the areas of information delivery that will need to be given due consideration.

• Formulation of a clear, succinct and all encompassing EIR (Employers Information Requirements) document. This key question needs to be asked – What does the business actually expect/want from the BIM process? For some residential clients, answering this question will involve assessing the current use of their assets (especially important if the client uses a Design>Build>Operate business model); for others, if starting from scratch, it will involve analysing what is desired from BIM to benefit each workstream within the organisation currently.

The BIM Task Group EIR guidance document provides a useful starting point: EIR Guidance Document

The EIRs will set the basis for the BIM Execution Plan that all consultants and contractors submit pre-contract to demonstrate their capabilities. This goes on to inform the overarching MIDP (Master Information Delivery Plan) for a project.

• A focus on the BIM training requirements for residential clients’ project team personnel. This needs to happen not just to bring personnel up to speed with BIM industry standards but to also keep them updated. Whilst there is a burgeoning volume of information and training courses being offered to individuals and companies regarding BIM adoption, there needs to be an acute appreciation by the BIM leaders of the specific requirements for those operating from the client-side who have very different needs to those of consultants and contractors who actually design and deliver information.

For example, spending time and financial resources training commercial/construction management members of staff on how to use BIM authoring software may not be wholly worthwhile against developing their knowledge on the capabilities of associated BIM reviewing/coordination software to deliver information that can be extracted and input into their day-to-day management processes.

Critically, a bold starting step to test the waters with BIM is required from those who still need convincing about its merits. Whilst achieving BIM Level 2 standards may not be necessary (yet) or achievable immediately for many residential clients, I firmly believe that BIM has the potential to deliver the raft of benefits associated with its implementation. One could argue that this is even more pronounced in the context of residential development. The standardised (and sometimes repetitive) nature of details and products re-used across multiple projects offers serial developers the opportunity to refine and streamline their management processes to achieve maximum operational effectiveness.

Author Profile:

Lanre Gbolade is an Architect, working with one of the UK’s leading property developers in the role of Design Coordination and Management. With practical experience gained in both Client and Consultant role within the industry, Lanre has an excellent understanding of the positive impacts of BIM in design, construction and development. He has passion for fostering project team collaboration and using advanced information technology systems to develop efficiently designed and constructed buildings.

Contact Lanre on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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