Monday, December 16, 2013

(BIM)X Googlizes Knowledge

Below is an excerpt from my lecture on how (BIM)X is Googlizing Knowledge in the built industry.  I spent time over the last two weeks refining the lecture and creating the accompanying power point presentation.  During that time a couple of interesting blog posts cam across my radar.

First, Laura Handler, Tocci Construction -n-house BIM Whiz and the proprietor of the (bim)x Blog , posted an insightful query upon her return from CITA's highly successful BIM Gathering in Dublin, Ireland asking what needs to change in the built industry, content or delivery?  Apparently, at the BIM Gathering  a number of academics raised the very question. Laura asked on her (bim)x Blog, “Content or Delivery: What needs to change in AEC education?” The question of how we learn was further highlighted when Randy Deutsch a scholarly leader in the field of BIM and IPD authored a blog post, “Why My BIM Book Didn't Sell and Why I'm Writing Another One.” Similar questions were posed by participants in an Academic Panel at the BIM Day Out in Australia.

The questions of how to teach BIM and IPD to the industry has taken center stage. It seized the spotlight at the BIM Gathering in Ireland. It was the focus of an hour long discussion at the BIM Day Out in Australia. Academics throughout the US and Canada are asking the same question. Middlesex University out of London has hired me to help deliver knowledge related to the cultural and legal implications of BIM. The UK Government authored a 60+ page set of BIM education guidelines. Penn State, Stanford and Georgia Tech, among other universities in the US, offer BIM and IPD related courses and materials.

The Smart Built Culture Series intends to tackle this issue in a collaborative manner. The goal is to deliver a unique online learning experience on a global scale and to supplement the virtual events with live workshops where we delve into the nuts and bolts of BIM and IPD. Collaborative Construction is negotiating with key stakeholders from all over the world. Dublin, London, Suttgart, New York, Miami, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Chicago, Toronto, Kansas City, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are all under consideration as potential sites for live workshops. Joining forces with Global e Training and universities around the world, as well as BIM and IPD champions throughout the built industry there's no reason we cannot solve this problem. Let's come together and get this done!

(BIM)X Googlizes Knowledge Lecture - Excerpt

Knowledge in the built industry

This lecture tackles knowledge in the built industry. Titled, “(BIM)X Googlizes Knowledge”, the lecture explores what passes for knowledge in the built industry, why knowledge matters in the built industry, and how we acquire, share and preserve knowledge in the built environment.

Knowledge, as defined in the lecture and in these lecture notes is the acquisition of information, understanding and or skill through experience and or education.

The purposeful use of the disjunctive, along side the conjunctive, highlights the varied nature of knowledge. Philosophy exists, in large part, to debate the scope and nature of knowledge. In this post and the lecture I grant the varied nature of knowledge and focus more on the what, why and how of knowledge.

To that end, the critical questions in the built industry include; What knowledge matters? Why does that knowledge matter? And how do we use that knowledge?

The knowledge that matters

Stated differently, the first knowledge question in the built industry is what information matters? What understandings matter? And what skills matter? True knowledge of critical information in the built industry entails a mastery of these three components. Knowing what information you need, understanding that information and possessing the skills required to leverage that information in a way that adds value to the project.

For example, the legal description of a parcel contains critical information. As a lawyer, I understand that information and possess the skills and training necessary to craft a series of legal instruments that depend on that information. Deeds, liens, and mortgage agreements each require that information and accurate deeds, liens and or mortgage agreements effect the value of the parcel. Separately, the civil engineer, the surveyor and the excavation contractor each bring skills to the table that enable them to leverage the information contained in the legal description.

Why that knowledge matters

Knowledge of the legal description of the property matters because you don't want to build on the wrong parcel. You want to place the sewer and storm water drainage systems in the correct place and you don't want to dig the foundation in the wrong place. If we fail to accurately locate the parcel then many things can go wrong. Thus knowledge of the legal description matters because it represents foundational information, is critical to understanding where the parcel is located and will be relied on by professionals with an array of skills to add to and or effect the value of the parcel.

How we use that knowledge

As noted, an array of built industry professionals leverage knowledge created by acquiring information, understanding that information and, ultimately, applying specialized skills that convert knowledge of that information into value. Converting knowledge to value represents a core component of the emerging knowledge economy. The built industry needs to leverage, enhance and adapt existing skills in ways that add value in the built environment as a whole. Winners in the new knowledge economy will learn to do this. Losers will fail. Be a winner.


Built industry professionals need to know what BIM is, why it is important and how to leverage it. The same goes for IPD. Existing mechanisms for delivering knowledge to built industry professionals don't appear to be working. And whether those mechanisms will work in the new knowledge economy remains an open question too.

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
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