A conversational workshop tour, listening to thoughts and opinions in adoption of this technology.
BIM Academy and i2C recently held workshops to capture current beliefs and attitudes held by Australian businesses towards BIM.
BIM Academy has been active in the UK for 4 years where the initiative to mandate BIM by 2016 has been taken. Established by Ryder Architecture in combination with Northumbria University, the BIM Academy is also directly supporting the government’s national BIM library and a Digital Plan of Works. Recently, Ryder and BIM Academy have created an alliance with i2C Design and Management in Australia to provide BIM enabled architecture and BIM project management services.
In the absence of any Australian government BIM mandate (if indeed one does arise) there is still significant debate and BIM “chatter”. BIM Academy’s approach has been not to presume what the industry needs, BIM is not the solution on its own. To get the best out of BIM, it requires careful implementation, the right people and the right approach. So we decided to undertake a series of workshops with clients to canvass their thoughts and opinions on the appropriate adoption of this technology.
It’s not quality of design that is enabled by BIM, it is quality of decision making.
A client cuts to the chase following a 2 hour workshop
The BIM Academy team in Australia represented by Sam Collard (BIM Academy) and Will Joske (i2C) met nineteen companies across Melbourne, Sydney and Perth with over 140 individuals in attendance. They comprised building contractors, consultants, project managers and the building supply chain.
This Australian BIM Roadshow was indeed a listening tour. One of the few rules we had upon entering each workshop was to not argue the point to convert to BIM; in fact there were certain instances that we were converted to a new way of thinking.
The Workshop Approach
We came across plenty of passion and optimism in the room with many people already convinced of the potential benefits. This was countered by much discussion around the difficulties in implementation. Such is the ying and yang of BIM wherever you go.
After the business cards were exchanged and introductions made, we started the conversation with live examples that demonstrated how a BIM enabled team could increasingly deliver enriched data for projects.
We showed multi-discipline models and opportunities around model content increasingly embedded with data to facilitate costing (5D) and facilities management (6D). And yes, we confess, PowerPoint did make an appearance, but less frequent than we thought. Old habits die hard.
BIM requires clear project objectives, planning, capable partners and upfront decisions on how we use it. BIM needs to be aligned to how we do our business.
Said by a manager with years of experience but still new to BIM
General comments and thinking were captured around the technology adoption. We didn’t propose to have all the answers but rather listened and encouraged the discussion.
We took note of all comments with no bias. We believe they are all important within the discussion of BIM standards in Australia.
There were no ‘eureka moments’, nor have we recently submitted a new BIM diagram to the patents office. It was pretty clear that BIM doesn’t come on a plate. The hospitality was great, and we couldn’t help notice some interesting correlations as outlined in the diagram below.
BIM/BEER Maturity Index: 2014 with apologies to Mr Bews
(Note: many capable people did not offer beer or Tim Tams).
A Final Note
BIM is a revolution for our industry, and we don’t dare propose neat conclusions from something as wide ranging, complex and difficult. However we thought we might close with a change of perspective.
Education will be one of the cornerstones to support Australia’s standardisation of BIM protocols so as the roadshow neared an end, we thought it only sensible to get together for a beer with Christopher Byrne from Swinburne University. Chris has become a trusted colleague and as an educator will undoubtedly be developing best practice training for students and industry in Australia.
Level of competency in construction is dropping because of programs that build “things”, but it’s not technology that caused the problem, it’s people. A model that’s created by graduates is not going to be a great information source.
A common issue reflected: technologically adept people are not necessarily the most experienced or wisest employees in the business
Chris shed light on his views from a construction management perspective that were well reflected in the workshop comments: “I think you’re going to see a lot of people wait for a mandate – it’s just human nature, then everyone’s on a level playing field”. He also highlighted “potential problems stemming from the fact that so much of government and commercial building is design and construct. Who’s influencing the client to make the right decisions about BIM?”
Regarding education “I believe there is a massive gap in the capability and education of the supply chain that will hamper efforts and hurt cost competitiveness for a good time to come” said Chris. “When I participated in BIM Academy’s Virtual Project training course earlier this year, I saw a vast difference compared to what’s currently offered in Australia. It’s an innovative best practice approach to education”.
The following comments and questions were captured and reflect the discussion and opinions voiced at the Workshops.
- It’s not quality of design that is enabled by BIM it is quality of decision making.
- We will take BIM on board when it is appropriate – we will wait until there is a groundswell of clients asking for it, or it is mandated. Knowing how BIM works and what clients require will dictate how we will use it.
- Who’s in control of the standards?
- BIM requires clear project objectives, planning, capable partners and upfront decisions on how we use it. BIM needs to be aligned to how we do our business.
- Does it mean more design work up front and therefore a realignment of fees? If it creates efficiencies for designers and contractors why do consultants want to charge more? Why should we pay for it when it’s the owner who benefits?
- Engineering services get a lot of critics but Revit MEP is a lot of years from being good.
- We might as well throw out the services design models.
- Subbies won’t get on board, and they still work in the old ways, but why should I ditch a subbie I like?
- Level of competency in construction is dropping because of programs that build “things” for them, but that’s not technology that caused the problem, that’s people. A model that’s created by graduates is not going to be a great information source.
- Have you seen the buildings outside, they got built without BIM.
- We would like to see models issued by designers. Currently they think contractors can’t use them, and mostly they would be right.
- Can we implement BIM in a way that is cost effective?
- We will get quality people through quality training, but currently I am being overcharged for people who quite frankly I find disappointing.
- I have seen clash detection and it’s good, but it can be better aligned with the design and construction process. Uncoordinated models are a big risk – I need clash free design.
- What’s the situation with the authoring content, when are manufacturers going to get on board?
- How can you future proof this stuff?
- Who’s responsible for controlling the data and managing the detail?
- Who accepts liability for the BIM model? We need to manage risk.
- There are people out there communicating the BIM Message and they don’t actually work with the technology, but profess they know how it should be used. How does that work?
- What’s the ROI? Who are the main people who are using it? We can’t clearly see where the value in is in BIM.
- I would love to use it to plan the project logistics.
- Can Australia be as smart as the UK? Our procurement routes don’t help with the adoption of BIM, we need more partnering approach.
- Talking about FM, there’s got to be more value than what we currently receive that ends up in archive box.
- How does refurbishment work?
- Quality, cost, coordination – these are the most important things for us.
- I am glad we took the decision to adopt BIM a number of years ago, I would hate to be starting the journey now.
- I talk more about BIM than actually do it.
BIM Academy wishes to thank all those who spent their valuable time in speaking with us.
Sweett, Charter Hall, MAB, Hacer, Brookfield Multiplex, Kmart, Swinburne University
Mainbrace, Woolworths, SEMF, Aurecon, AW Edwards, Charter Hall, Mitchell Brandtman
Brookfield Multiplex, Pritchard Francis, Georgiou, Cooper Oxley, Probuild, APP Project Managers
BIM Academy offers consultancy services around strategic implementation, project services, asset management and training and certification.
Our mission is to help transform our clients’ business in the built environment through the intelligent application of digital modelling, coordinated data systems and collaborative working practice. Our independent research-based expertise is combined with practical experience from industry to deliver real value throughout the project lifecycle. From briefing through construction and into operation, our approach works for projects, regardless of type or size.
Email Sam here.
Visit BIM Academy Website
+44 (0) 7808 041 445
Read Will’s Profile
Email Will here.
+61 (4) 02 289 836
Read Anthony’s Profile
Email Anthony here.
+61 (4) 11 767 444