Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Tea Cup an Egg and a Cube

BIM, or (BIM)X as I like to call it, is all about integrating the digital assets that accumulate over the course of the project.  BIM data begins as a tea cup, grows into a gallon jar and becomes a giant 500 gallon tank of information by the time it makes its way to the project site.  

Stakeholders involved in planning, design and construction cannot attach a hose to the bottom of the tank and ever expect to consume all that information.  Nor should they.  They need to selectively pull the information that empowers them the make intelligent timely decisions that are relevant to their scope of work.  For example, project managers need to address constructability, schedule, supply chain logistics, clash detection etc. etc.  Risk managers have a different set of concerns and need access to different data.  In short, stakeholders who leverage BIM do so by  accessing and filtering that massive tank of data effectively.  There are dozens if not hundreds of software tools that claim to do that for you but only YOU know what you really need and only YOU can take the steps to find it.

Which brings us to collaboration.  You must collaborate, work on a cross-disciplinary basis and collaborate some more.  The designers who create the initial design intent oriented BIM usually know nothing about the needs of constructors and or trade contractors.  Those stakeholders need to educate the designers in that regard.  Too often designers toss design models over the wall to the constructors with no real communication.  

I call this Humpty Dumpty BIM,  In the current work flow constructors are simply sweeping Humpty Dumpty's remains up and dumping them in the waste bin.  They then take 2D DRAWINGS and set out to re-create the wheel by modeling everything in the 2D drawings again, from scratch.  A less sever version of the Humpty Dumpty game takes place when the contractors toss requests for bids over the wall to their trade contractors / subcontractors.  The (BIM)X at that point has become even larger.

Likewise, at commissioning and hand off to the owner the (BIM)X data has expanded even further.  Shop drawings - hopefully in a BIM compatible format - delivered by dozens of trade contractors / SMEs add thousands of gallons of information to the tank.  It becomes a vast reservoir of data, much of it completely irrelevant to the day to day operations and maintenance tasks confronted by the owners FM staff and those in charge of operations.  At that point, the entire team - including the construction manager responsible for hand off - must focus like a laser on the business purpose of the facility.

But, unfortunately, constructors don't hand off any really useful digital assets to owners.  Instead, owners typically receive, at this point, what I call a box of BIM Blocks or a BIM encoded on a Braille Rubick's Cube.  Owners lack the in-house staff to rebuild the facility from the Box of BIM Blocks or to decode the dozens of BIM software programs used to author the BIM encoded on the Braille Rubick's Cuber and cannot make heads or tails of it.  So once again, the wheel is recreated.

Owner hires yet another entity to come in and complete a facility assessment and tell them what they own.  It's all madness and waste.

An integrated legal framework that supports and enables BIM and IPD can help but stakeholders in the industry continually tell me they are not ready for that and refuse to hire companies like Collaborative Construction to help make that happen.  

Companies that recognize BIM as the (SMART)X Game Changer it is will learn to leverage it and will have great success.  Those who don't won't.

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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