Best BIM Bad BIM: Mohamad Kassem

Credit: Geospatial Media
Credit: Geospatial Media

Answered from either a personal or industry-viewpoint perspective, Best BIM Bad BIM sees a member of the #GlobalBIMCrew divulge their best and worst BIM experiences and what they have learned from both. Today sees BIM Researcher and Teesside University‘s Senior Lecturer in Engineering Project Management, Mohamad Kassem discusses what is Best and Bad, an example of the latter being clients who require BIM despite not “knowing the strategic and operational impact from doing so”.

What does Mohamad think the BIM industry is doing Best at the moment?

As an academic, I am on the research side. However, most of our work is applied research and we closely work with several construction companies regionally, nationally and internationally. An excellent BIM experience I had was when BIM was utilised in the design of a residential care accommodation for people with special needs. BIM was utilised by the architect to run a participatory design exercise with people with learning difficulties and collect their feedback about their future living spaces. In this exercise, BIM helped first to communicate the design intent to people with learning difficulties and second, to quickly generate several designs that encapsulated the residents’ feedback. I thought that was a really unique application of BIM.

The best thing the BIM industry is doing at the moment is in its role as a ‘change engine’ – triggering and facilitating a behavioural and cultural change towards more collaborative practices. The industry has been striving for this change for decades with limited success. BIM is creating an impetus for change that the industry has never witnessed before. I absolutely think this is the best thing the BIM industry is doing to the construction sector at the moment.

What are the Bad trends in BIM according to Mohamad?

Bad BIM experiences are happening at both the demand and supply side. At the demand side, many clients are now requiring BIM just because they have heard of it without knowing the strategic and operational impact from doing so. As a result they are unable to stipulate their needs or they set unrealistic requirements for the suppliers. At the supply side, there are lead architects and contractors pushing their supply chain to the edge knowing their limited BIM capability to deliver in some circumstances. I think both these situations will fade over time as the maturity of all involved reaches adequate levels.

One of the worst trends I see is the constant proliferation and duplication of BIM standards, acronyms, etc. Even for an academic who works with complex acronyms and large quantities of documents on a daily basis, it is becoming difficult to keep up. This is also making the BIM world look much more complex for potential new entrants and creating a sense of discouragement for them. I think that such a phenomenon should and can be controlled especially in initiatives where there is a central influence such as BIM Task Group related initiatives.

What lessons does Mohamad think can be learned from both?

I have learned that BIM is undoubtedly the most exciting change that has occurred in the construction industry in decades. It is fascinating to see how trades that are historically either separated by the plan of work stages or working in silos can now establish communication at any stage for the benefit of the project and client. Whether you are implementing BIM within your organisation or on your clients’ projects, you can achieve a successful adoption and reap the benefits if you build and sustain commitment and demonstrate leadership.

Follow Mohamad on Twitter and don’t forget to connect with him on LinkedIn too. You can also read some of Mohamad’s latest case studies by clicking here to take you to his University of Teesside page.

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