Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Conversations about BIM are funny. Even firms we are there to help can come across a guarded about heir BIM process and experience. I used to think it was a distrust I was sensing, after some contemplation and a lot more experience I believe it has much more to do with trying to manage a perception of BIM experience in an industry that is supposed to be inundated with it. I can tell you that mostly the industry is not inundated. There are very progressive groups and very  intelligent/experienced people, but a vast number of firms are posing as BIM savvy or even worse "fully BIM Implemented". Actually now that I think of it I'm not sure which is worse.

I cannot tell you what damage that does to the industry as a whole. In fact it makes it almost impossible to manage expectation and turns a provable credential into a magic show of smoke and mirrors. Even those that really seek to maximize their BIM benefit are forced to exaggerate the ease of BIM and downstream benefit.
Unfortunately I don't have the easy button about this one, its just a problem. Around the Dallas IMAGINiT office, we use the term "BIM-washing". The "yeah, yeah, we do BIM" that so many firms respond with when pressed. These are usually the statements of leaders/executives in a firm who have in the past purposely distanced themselves from the trenches of software technology integration. This is a GC and Architect problem mainly, it is much harder for Structural, and MEPF to hide this skill gap when they enter into a contract.

This is an oldie, but it fits so well. Hilarious part is that this character's name is Tommy Flanagan (I'll be quick to point out it is a different spelling and pronunciation, hilarious though).
Those firms over promise, under deliver, and in many cases under bid when the modeling scope expands but they don't know any better. Generally they bring us all down. Now I know I'm preaching to the choir a little here, or a lot. But maybe it is time to force the hand of every firm to put their experience out there. Maybe its time to stop selling BIM to owners and start educating owners about practicality and honest benefit without expanding the scope 5-fold. I'm just riffing here but this is a major frustration of mine. When "it" hits the fan we are the guys they call. It usually goes like this: "Hey, I won some BIM work, so I need BIM. The project starts in a week, when can I get in a class? The class comes with the software right?" In a sales environment this seems like a perfect situation but it is not. They put us in the same  somewhat impossible situation that they have stumbled their way into.  It isn't a switch you flip, there are many caveats many things to understand, many things to discover for yourself. It takes time. Even if you hired us to come to your office every single day, or hired 1 or 2 experienced people full time, it just isn't that easy. Ok well now I'm just venting.

Let's stop BIM-washing together. Help me figure out how. Help yourself. Help the industry.

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