Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why is it so hard to deliver BIM?

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

It is almost impossible to deliver BIM solutions in a Design - Bid - Build environment. You have to have fantastic team chemistry - a rarity - to make any hay with BIM or lean processes in a Design - Bid - Build environment. Integrated project delivery, Design-Build and even CM at Risk are all more BIM / Lean friendly project delivery mechanisms than Design - Bid - Build.

Separately, owners don't realize the value of an as-built-BIM at this point and simply don't view the creation of such a digital asset as adding value to their facility / infrastructure beyond completion of construction. There's a lot of talk about the value of BIM in O&M but very little action on that front.

Enterprise level product life management software tools utilized in manufacturing have been used for YEARS to integrate and support planning, design, manufacturing, distribution, sales, warranties, service, recalls, etc. etc. But that's because knowledge and information about the product produced MATTERS to the manufacturer of an airplane, a jet engine, a car or another PRODUCT.

The construction industry is fixated on delivering PROJECTS not PRODUCTS. Until we begin to treat high quality sustainable facilities and infrastructure like the products they are we will continue to fall on our face. In the construction industry a disparate rag-tag amalgamation of planners, designers, constructors, subcontractors, owners - think developer, government, commercial tenant, home owers etc., and a variety of service providers and consultants come together to deliver a PROJECT not a PRODUCT and they do so by operating largely in secret in their silos - which are converted to bunkers if anyone sues - and the left hand RARELY knows what the right hand is doing.

The software tools offered by Autodesk, Tekla, Bentley, Archicad, etc. etc. are not enterprise level software tools and cannot be made to operate as such unless the entire team purchase a single software application. Even then, none of the design tools communicate or play nicely with the O&M software packages utilized by facility managers.

Dessault System's CATIA program is an enterprise level design tool - Siemens offers one as well as does IBM - but those programs are generally too costly, too complex and too foreign for use on average construction projects. Until we perfect the concept of a centralized BIM server owners will not have access digital assets contained in a quality as-built-BIM.

There are a lot of temporary / incremental solutions and BIM is a great process that needs to be nurtured, expanded and advanced. But we have a long way to go.

James L. Salmon
Of Counsel
Beatty Bangle Strama, p.c.
400 West 15th Street Suite 1450
Austin, Texas 78701
(o) 512-879-5050
(f) 512-879-5040
(c) 512-630-4446
(s) 859-912-7747

Collaborative Construction Resources, LLC

Office: 512-879-5050
Skype No: 859-912-7747
Cell No: 512-630-4446
Skype: JameswithCCR

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