Sunday, April 25, 2010

BIM Certification - What do owner's need?

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

Owners generally have no idea what they want, what they need or what is possible when they ask for BIM. Sadly, few design professionals can answer those questions effectively either. Further, the classic Federated BIM Model delivered by most BIM Consultants and /or BIM software providers is worth much either. As regular readers of this Blog know, I've use the allegory of "Katy's Birthday" to tell the story of the owner who receives a box of "BIM Blocks" with no idea how to reassemble the BIM Blocks, access relevant information or otherwise the advantage of the shiny the new digital asset that is purportedly being received. I wrote about Katy's castle in the Collaborative Construction newsletter last month.

Other times, the owner gets even less information. Rather than a box of "BIM Blocks" some owners receive the equivalent of a Braille Rubick's Cube rather than a box of BIM Blocks. If the owner cannot access, analyze or otherwise utilize the BIM then the BIM serves no purpose.

Filtering, analyzing and accessing the right data at the right moment in time for the right purpose for the right decision maker is what Big BIM - as Finith Jernigan calls it - is all about. To deliver integrated solutions to sophisticated owners - i.e. something like a "Certified BIM" - the integrated team needs to have a better understanding of the business purpose of the facility and the supporting infrastructure the owner seeks to procure.

The "business purpose" of a single family home, a convenience store, a storage facility, a commercial warehouse, a hospital, a server farm and a regional hospital are all very different. The owner of each facility has one level of interest in the digital assets associated with each such facility and its supporting infrastructure, while the community at large, the owner's employees, emergency personnel and others who interact with the facility have other interests that merge, diverge and even clash with the owner's interests in the facility. Real digital assets that can be recorded, analyzed and accessed intelligently over time by relevant stakeholders will enable more of those staked holders to make more and better decisions about how best to utilize such facilities.

Just as the business purpose of facilities and the infrastructure that support facilities varies from structure to structure, facilities differ greatly from manufactured components and products. It is critical that thought leaders in the construction industry begin to recognize that the advanced software tools utilized in the manufacturing industry can now be leveraged - at a fraction of the cost - to allow intelligent and effective use of data related to the planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance of facilities.

We must filter the data or we will be overwhelmed by it. The knowledge base required to keep a Boeing jet in the air or to make a complex weapons system function is far broader than the knowledge base required to effectively manage a convenience store. A hospital, on the other hand, is at least as complex as a jet, and it both instances lives hang in the balance.

BIM Certification is needed. But first, we need to be very clear about what we are - and are not - certifying.

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

PresidentCollaborative Construction Resources,LLC

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