Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Smart Built Culture Answers

I presented a Smart Built Culture lecture today for Barie Hasib's WIN with BIM webinar series. The registered attendees asked a number of insightful questions which I promised to answer in writing on the blog. The questions and answers are set forth below.

If you have the opportunity to attend one of the WIN with BIM webinars I highly recommend it. David Philps, my good friend Ralph Montague and  Andy Hamer have all presented all with other BIM experts. More are scheduled throughout the year so don't miss the opportunity to learn from those in the trenches!

Also, if you have any questions regarding efforts within your organization to adopt a smart built culture please don't hesitate to contact me. 

Smart Built Culture Lecture
Hosted by BIM REC
James L. Salmon

What does IPD look like now and what will it ultimately look like? I have seen IPD-light and IPD-like projects, both more successful than traditional contracts. What is preventing IPD wide spread use?

Commitment to Value

The AEC industry is committed to waste based business models and most stakeholders think they can make more money delivering planning, design and construction services under the old school model. The transparency imposed on the old school model by BIM and VDC causes great angst among those trying to hide the ball.

What is the economic model behind IPD that ensures the client gets best value but removing inefficiency, i.e., in an economic sense, what keeps the supplier "honest"?

Value v Waste

Value based business models, open books and transparent, open and honest communications.
IPD only works if those delivering planning, design and construction services expect to EARN a profit by adding value AND the owner is willing to PAY for the value received. If those delivering the services expect to EXTRACT profits from waste and inefficiency – i.e. because another stakeholder made a mistake – then your IPD project runs off the rails. Similarly, if the owner fails or refuses to pay for real value that is added, providers will rightly become disgruntled.
Negotiating a new generation compensation model that rewards providers for delivering value is a critical component of a good IPD agreement.

How do you convince firms to execute IPD contracts if they have resistance?


Firms that passionately believe in their ability to deliver value are eager to sign IPD agreements.  Firms that doubt their ability to deliver value are reluctant to sign IPD agreements. Firms that passionately believe in their ability to EXTRACT profits from the failure of others on construction projects will never sign an IPD agreement.

Most resistance to signing IPD contracts comes from firms in the last category and it is highly unlikely those firms will ever sign an IPD agreement.

Even firms that believe passionately in a value based business model will be reluctant, however, to sign an IPD agreement with other firms because experience tells them somebody will screw them.  And they are right.  The key is to convince all the potential players that the legal framework through which the project is delivered is one that can collect the stingers from all the scorpions. That requires TRUST, the rarest resource in the AEC industry.

How to organise and run design charrettes [for a BIM platform and in an IPD environment] ?


Start with Katy’s Castle Workshops then move on to Charitable Doll House Events, then to Charitable Community Projects, then Pilot Projects and finally a real live Small Commercial Projects and the Real Projects on a regular basis.

How to model and evaluate (calculation/estimation/simulation) various lod stages in an open BIM approach?

A Lean Loop

Subject the modelling and evaluation process to a continuous improvement cycle. Capture institutional knowledge, share it and improve upon it.

What legal issues should we expect to find when choosing BIM and IPD? Is IPD the best delivery process when we speak about BIM projects?

The legal pitfalls encountered by designers operating on a BIM platform in an IPD environment include all the traditional legal issues with a few extra twists.

First, the scope and nature of the intellectual property associated with the BIM raises a different set of questions and concerns than those encountered in a 2D world. 

Second, the level of detail in the BIM and required of the designer tends to morph or become a moving goal post depending on what the BIM is expected to do and when.

Third, BIM is definitely emerging as the new standard of care in AEC and it won't be long before lawyers begin beating designers over the head with virtual renderings created on high end BIM platforms and arguing the designer should have used those tools and processes.

Best practices to transfer data not involved in IFC standards? (Survey, electrical namespace...) Could you suggest CAFM platforms (or just interfaces) with I/O Revit and/or AutoCAD integration?

Open Source BIM.html

My hope is that Bill East’s COBie tool and IFC will result in a common formatting and labeling schema from which the basic data can be hovered up onto a centralized open BIM.html data platform that can be mined by a variety of apps and tools.

The AEC is way behind other industries in the drive to master BIG DATA and we need to take advantage of our obsolescence by leaping over pitfalls that entrapped other industries. Countries on the African continent successfully leapfrogged our 18th Century banking system and went straight to electronic banking on cell phones. China is doing something similar with medical records and medical services. Construction should leverage BIG BIM – on an Open Source BIM.html platform – to leap frog from spread sheets to a web based data repository that can be searched via algorithms rather than by columns and lines.

The data flowing through the aqua duct is a miniscule portion of the BIG DATA available on the web and the AEC industry ought to focus on new generation apps and software tools that mine that data on an as needed basis. As I put it during the presentation, owners should be armed with a digital asset that creates and streams the right Variety of data in Volumes delivered at a manageable Velocity that enables the owner to extract real Value from that Verified data. In short leverage V5th .

Why is it very difficult to convince people to implement BIM for construction projects? What would most suitable benefits from BIM for a Construction Company?

Lack of Trust

Most enterprises are comfortable operating a waste based business model designed to EXTRACT profits from the failed Design-Bid-Build delivery model prevalent in the industry. The elephant in charge of the subconscious mind – where momentous decisions are made - doesn’t change unless something catastrophic occurs.

Constructors that adopt BIM enjoy immediate increases in efficiency and productivity and gain the ability to track key metrics from project to project more easily.  Constructability, material take offs, improved coordination between trades and the ability to leverage just-in-time delivery of construction materials are among the low hanging fruit available to general contractors and trade contractors.

When and who initiates discussion for doing BIM/ IPD on a project?

Visionary Leaders

Every stakeholder in the AEC industry that intends to remain in business needs to initiate the discussion in-house. Once a firm has a handle on BIM & IPD in-house engagement with key clients and crucial collaborative partners is the next best step.

Why has BIM not focused upon the most critical aspect... collaborative construction delivery methods?

BIM is only half the arch

BIM is set of tools and processes designed to carve blocks that make up the left side of the arch. Collaborative construction / lean construction / construction management / cultural change are all tools and processes – collectively (CM)X - that

How can the AIA E203-2013 BIM guide help the process?

These are good templates from which to begin negotiations.

Is there a difference between IPD contracts and IPD BIM delivery systems?


An IPD agreement memorializes the rights, duties and responsibilities of the parties. As with any legal agreement, it serves as the mechanism whereby the parties’ legal relationships are established and adjusted.

An IPD / BIM delivery system is made up of an array of tools and processes used by stakeholders in the AEC to plan, design and construct facilities and or infrastructure. As with any system, the culture in which it is deployed matters a great deal and impacts the system as much or more than the tools and processes deployed within it.

BIM is well established in the Architecture/Building industry. How widespread is the implementation of BIM and IPD in the Civil/Transportation industry? Can you talk about some case studies about how BIM has been utilized on a Civil/Transportation project and quantify the benefits gained over traditional project delivery?

DOT in Arizona

The Department of Transportation in Arizona adopted BIM and modified their procurement rules and regulations to allow IPD Lite.

D-9 ripper dragged through a 10” gas main in Wyoming

Turn of the century clay sewer pipes in San Antonio

Moving less dirt less often

Modernizing residential infrastructure and delivering it just in time

Do you recommend that the Architect manage the VDC-BIM process in the Validation and Design Development stages of a project?

Leadership Baton

BIM and IPD leadership baton constantly changes hands.  Leader is the entity / person with the requisite skill set and experience to ensure success of a given phase of the journey.

Is there an international body tasked in global BIM implementation?


The buildingSMARTalliance seemed poised to for the role but has not fully delivered.

A combination of practical grassroots leadership combined with visionary leadership from governments and the C-Suite leaders of leading AEC firms.

A smart built culture makes sense but what about local building knowledge and construction. Will global BIM culture, somehow destroy our diverse and rich culture of building? As a BIM specialist, I find the methodology urgent and needed within the construction market. What about the technical side of this way of working? Only for technicians or also for owners and other people in general? Should BIM be more "easy" to use in order to reach more professionals?

Local Rules

Construction is like real estate, it’s all about location, location location. A smart built culture must, ultimately, be deployed on A project in A specific location.  Sure, the team may be global but the materials and labor must be sourced locally.

SMART BIM is the goal.

Smart BIM should be like the Web; Easy peasy lemon squezzy.

I don’t know jack about Revit.  And I couldn’t model a dog house on Dassault Systems CATIA platform. Nor can I model steel connections in Tekla.  But I know people who can use those tools.
When you log onto the web to reserve a flight you don’t care what makes Travelocity or Priceline work. You just want to type in your destination, the dates you have to travel and in return you want a list of flights. Once you have the list in front of you, you may need to sort by price – if price means best value – by departure time if that’s more valuable to you than price, etc. The digital asset we hand of to the owner of a building should allow that owner to interface, in simple way, with that smart building. Think Apple meets Google.

We always talk about BIM is needed for future, but still a lot companies are reluctant to embark on BIM due to the cost of investment and limitation of the software and process to help them adopt BIM. Do you have any advice?

Bite the Bullet

BIM & IPD are coming and those that don’t adapt will die.

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV

Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446

Collaborative Construction Website
No Silos Website

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