BIM: 4 Things to Consider in Your Move from 2D to 3D

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In the beginning, implementing building information modeling (BIM) can be intimidating and seem overwhelming. However, your success will be more assured if you go into an implementation well informed about disruption, issues, planning, and culture. Following are four things to consider in your move from 2D to 3D and BIM:

BIM Cycle
  1. Disruption

BIM isn’t a tool you install. It’s a whole new process with all new workflows. This alone will disrupt a company, especially considering accompanying technologies like generative design, robotics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things.

Although “disruptive” may remind us of grade school, when we were disciplined for being disruptive, in the AEC industry disruptions involving technology can be a good thing. Advances in the industry have resulted from such disruptions as computer-aided design, smart phones, 3D printing, and drones. Just as moving to CAD from paper-based workflows was disruptive, the move from CAD to BIM turns the design process inside out.

  1. Issues

Implementing BIM requires more than investing in new software, hardware and training. As more and more companies implement BIM processes, many have shared their experiences with common BIM implementation issues that can arise:

  • Unclear plan or roadmap
  • “Too busy” to do it right
  • Lack of commitment by leadership and staff
  • Unclear accountability
  • Lack of understanding that it’s not simply a replacement for CAD 
  • Resistance to being forced to adopt it
Image: ClearPointStrategy.com

  1. Plan

Your company’s BIM implementation plan, the roadmap, should be tailored to its size, goals and budget. There will also be elements that nearly all companies have in common. The development of a BIM implementation roadmap requires:

  • Data

Before planning, data needs to be gathered to determine the current state of technology, current processes and workflows, bottlenecks, business and design goals, and challenges to project delivery. The best way to gather this data is by using an objective consultant  to interview principals, managers and project team members. The information gathered is more useful if it represents different perspectives on goals, challenges and bottlenecks.

  • Testing

To determine staff proficiency with anticipated BIM technologies, testing should be conducted. This might range from surveys for self-evaluation to formal testing. A variety of services are available for conducting formalized testing, for example  KnowledgeSmart certification exams. The key is to determine knowledge and skill shortcomings for specific areas of software use.

  • Current Assessment

A survey of existing technology should be conducted to gather information about hardware, network infrastructure, and software and operating systems. This will help identify necessary upgrades and improvements.

  • Process Maps

It is helpful to develop process maps of critical aspects of project delivery. This indicates inputs and the way BIM processes flow in the design and construction of a project.

  1. Culture

To be implemented properly, BIM requires a change in culture, since it impacts everyone in the company to some degree. It also impacts the way a company collaborates with others. The BIM process offers benefits to every team on a project, from building owners and architects to designers, contractors, and building managers.

As your company implements BIM, remember that it needs to continue growing and improving. If that concerted effort isn’t made, you will soon be playing “catch-up” again, facing another major effort to become current and deliver on project requirements and expectations.


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