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. It is a pleasure for BIMcrunch to today share the opinions of Silvia Mastrolembo Ventura with you. Silvia is a BIM Researcher at the University of Brescia and also spoke at GeoBIM 2015 earlier in the year. She discusses BIM for cultural heritage, the state of Italy‘s BIM adoption, and the importance of education in inspiring the next generation of BIM professional.
What is Silvia’s Best BIM Experience and what does she think industry is doing best at the moment?
In the last two years I have had the opportunity to work on academic BIM-related research activities and to support public administrations, designers and contractors in the implementation of the BIM methodology in design and construction processes.
At University of Brescia, we are investigating several BIM themes, such as BIM for Cultural Heritage, Model Checking, 4D BIM, BIM-based Constructability Review and BIM-based Construction Site and Safety Planning. We also created a Serious Game, based on one of our BIM models, to be used as educational tool for Health and Safety on the construction site. Currently we are working on effective ways to manage the BIM workflow from design to Field BIM.
One of my Best BIM Experiences deals with the successful implementation of the BIM-based constructability review process in collaboration with a medium-sized construction company based in Brescia. They contacted us to virtually build a prefabricated wooden primary school that they also have to manage for the next twenty years. The BIM model was useful to detect critical issues in the design process, allowing their resolution before the construction phase, and to integrate missing information. Moreover, in this case we ‘forced’ an effective communication and collaboration between designers, contractor and subcontractors. They actively participated at the modelling phase, they spoke to each other and arrived on the construction site with a high degree of knowledge about the project.
What is Silvia’s worst BIM Experience and what does she think are Bad trends in BIM?
According to my experience, I can talk about the Italian way of BIM. So far the implementation of information-based technologies in the Italian AEC industry does not seem to be consistent with an effective BIM-oriented strategy. The awareness about the entire process change is still not fully developed and the tendency seems to be the use of new tools of information modelling and management (IMM) only to emulate traditional processes and to provide traditional documentation. This practice leads to data fragmentation, invalidating the potential innovative aspect of the IMM methodology. An aware and effective application of the BIM methodology requires a process of reconfiguration of the AEC industry, as well as a review of roles, relationships and responsibilities among a project team.
What lessons does Silvia think can be learned from both her Best and Bad experiences?
As I said, the BIM implementation requires a revolutionary reconfiguration of the AEC industry, especially considering roles and responsibilities. My Best BIM and Bad BIM experiences have always depended on the degree of collaboration between designers and contractors, and the will of each of them to effectively innovate their way of work. In some cases, such as the one about the BIM-based constructability review, designers seemed to be really annoyed by our role. The contractor contacted us to model architectural, structural and MEP designs starting from detailed 2D drawings. Designers had the impression they were being judged and decided to not participate anymore due to the iterative process of virtual construction of the building.
On the other hand, contractors and subcontractors have always been the more involved participants in the BIM implementation process. Maybe it is because they can effectively quantify BIM benefits with a good effort-benefit ratio. The owner plays an essential role too. They have to clearly outline problems and then collaboratively work with the project team. Finally, in my opinion, BIM education plays a key role in this transition towards a process change, starting from secondary school for construction technology and universities.