By Jack DeCandia, Redstack
I wrote an article recently about "WHAT BIM ISN'T" which, I thought was a little controversial, the feedback and comments I received actually agreed with where I was coming from.
I read an excellent publication recently, "National BIM Guide for Owners" which was published by the National Institute of Building Sciences in the US. It explains BIM DONE RIGHT almost perfectly and I encourage those interested in BIM to read it, particularly if you are a developer or owner or if your one of those people or organisations doing "BITZA BIM".
BITZA BIM is what mostly occurs, if at all, particularly in Australia. Projects that use BITZA BIM often fail or the owner and contractor don't experience any benefits from using the BIM process. What is BITZA BIM you might ask? Well it’s those who do "bits of BIM here and bits of BIM there" but don’t really realise any of the benefits of doing BIM properly. I spoke about BITZA BIM in my last article (What BIM ISN'T). BITZABIM gives BIM a bad name.
Some of the frustrating comments I come across in the construction industry is "We are not using BIM on this project because the client hasn't asked for it". Guess what? They don't ask for it because they don't know about it and unless we tell them about it, it will always remain a untold secret.
Another frustrating comment I hear often is "We will not be using BIM on this project because the client doesn't want to pay for it" Guess what? They are paying for it, probably 3-5 times over with variations, delays, waste, rework, errors etc.
Why are there certain individuals involved in the construction industry, afraid to offer BIM to their clients? Is it because they are afraid to do something different? Is it because they think it will make them uncompetitive? Is it because they don't have any idea on how to implement BIM? Or is it because they will lose additional revenues through variations because BIM will actually provide the client with a highly accurate and true cost of construction before the project begins?
I suspect it is all of the above. My recommendation is to get as much training on BIM as possible because if you don't, you will become a dinosaur and we all know what happened to dinosaurs.
There is no "ONE BIM FITS ALL" as each project is different and every client will have different needs, objectives and deliverables. BIM means different things to different people, which is why the success of BIM depends on skills, knowledge and experience. The starting point of a successful BIM project is asking the right questions at the start of the project with the primary focus being the outcome of the project and what to do with the asset through its lifecycle.
Clients (building owners) should engage an experienced BIM Advisor (preferably independent to the architect, engineer and main contractor) to facilitate these decisions and remain project outcome focused for them. The BIM Advisor should understand what the client wants and how the project team should deliver it. An Independent BIM Advisor ensures there are no conflicts of interest between stakeholders. Each stakeholder will have unique BIM objectives depending on the industry they are in and their part in the project. The clients BIM Advisor should oversee the appointed Project BIM Managers and establish a collaborative approach on how the project will be executed for the client. (See National BIM Guide for Owners)
The BIM Advisors should create and publish the required BIM documentation which should be signed off, agreed and followed by all stakeholders involved in the project and included as part of the contract documentation. Skilled BIM Advisors will be looking for areas where additional value can be generated.
Owners should start with the end in mind and communicate their objectives with their BIM Advisor who can then detail a roadmap on how to best achieve it. When selecting a BIM Advisor for your project, you should ask the following questions:
- Do they have at least 5 years of real BIM Management experience?
- Are their BIM Manager's certified or suitably qualified or are they just self-titled BIM Manager's with no real BIM Management qualifications?
- What projects have they executed (successfully)?
- Do they do BITZA BIM or do they DO BIM RIGHT?
- Do they have the necessary BIM resources for my project?
- Are they capable of helping me integrate the BIM into Facilities Management Systems so my asset can be maintained efficiently through its life-cycle?
- Do they cover the entire BIM process from tender stage, through construction and into facilities management, or are they just focused on 3D modeling and clash detection?
If you’re considering using BIM on your next project, don't see it as an additional cost to the project, because it isn't. I'm not saying BIM is free, because it’s not, but implementing BIM correctly will save you significant amounts of time and money over the entire project. If you’re not implementing BIM, you will be paying for it three to five times over by the completion of the project without even realising it. You need to accept that BIM is already paid for in the cost of a project. It’s just included at the start of the concept design phase and spread over each phase of the project instead of what happens now, where you get a huge surprise at the end of the project and the owner is paying for all the variations, time delays, re-works, material waste, legal costs from disputes etc. With a small amount of investment in BIM at the start of your project, you can save a large amount at the end of the project and move onto your next project quickly.
There is also a belief that a large upfront investment is required to learn BIM, train staff and pilot BIM on a selected project. Piloting BIM with internal resources only also creates a higher risk of doing BITZA BIM and not realizing the benefits of BIM DONE RIGHT. If you’re going to do it all in house, that risk is very real, however you don’t need to do it all in house. Companies like Redstack offer a complete outsourced BIM service. We can manage BIM for you on a pilot project, train your staff and guide you through the correct process of BIM DONE RIGHT. Over time, your dependence on Redstack will reduce and you will be in a better position to decide whether to continue outsourcing BIM management or bring it all in house.
So in closing, don't do a BITZA BIM, do BIM right. If you’re an owner or developer, do yourself a favor and read the National BIM Guide for Owners 2017 and engage a BIM Advisor to partner with you in implementing BIM on your next project. Contact us for more information and advice.