Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You must measure it to manage it!


I commented on a Return on Investment type question in the BIM Expert Group on LinkedIn and I thought readers would benefit from the exchange.  Below is a copy of my comment and a link to the discussion.


I have a presentation called ROI to the X Power of IPD & BIM in which I cite a lot of these studies and reference many testimonials.  The reason we lack concrete data on the impact of IPD & BIM - and you need IPD to wring the most value out of BIM - is the disjointed and fragmented nature of the built industry.  Owners have never demanded delivery of infrastructure from integrated teams.  Owners always accepted piecemeal delivery of bits and parts.  The fragmented nature of the services provided by built industry professionals begins in the planning and site selection stage and flows through to operations and maintenance.  Owners have file cabinets full of worthless paper reports nobody every reads or reviews - unless a construction dispute arises and then lawyers billing $300 an hour read them in detail! - and the paper relates to a thousand different aspects of the project.

Until owners demand fully functional digital assets with which to operate, manage and maintain their facilities the industry will continue to deliver bits and pieces of data related to the project in a piecemeal fashion.  Until THAT happens there will be very little incentive for the built industry to track the metrics that matter to one calculate the ROI on IPD & BIM.  And if you don't MEASURE it you cannot MANAGE it.  The built industry does not MEASURE efficiency because too many in the industry have business models that take advantage of inefficiency to turn a profit.

Again, until owners demand VALUE and they recognize IPD & BIM enable them to extract more VALUE from the infrastructure they procure, operate and maintain we will continue searching for metrics that matter in a piecemeal fashion.

You can compare big picture items like cost per square foot, whether the project was on time and on budget and the number of RFIs etc. and compare BIM enabled jobs to non-BIM enabled jobs.  But that is a crude measuring devise and much of the data is self-reported and thus, too often, self-serving.  The key is to identify metrics that MATTER in advance and MEASURE those metrics over time across multiple projects.  Only a large institutional owner can do this as the smaller bit players in the industry lack access to the critical data streams and critical points in time.

I've been advising institutional owners for several years now to modify their procurement methods and to track data of this kind.  A few are beginning to pay attention but not enough.  The IPD Procurement Program I authored for AUGIWorld Magazine this month addresses the need for new procurement methods. Anyone with a client that is ready to address these issues should call me.

What is your view on BIM benefits?

If you are not a member of the group you will have to join to comment.




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James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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