Harnessing Disruptive BIM Technologies
By now, everyone has heard of Building Information Modeling or BIM. But did you know that BIM is a process that uses disruptive technologies? In fact, BIM is a real manifestation of some of the top disruptive technologies ever: Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, Internet of Things and Generative Design (genetic algorithm).
The term “disruptive” may sound negative, but in fact, it is frequently far from that. Most leaps forward in history have been the result of disruptive technology. Smart phones are an excellent recent example of disruptive technology. Likewise, moving from paper to CAD is disruptive, while moving from CAD to BIM is even more disruptive.
As a disruptive technology, BIM necessitates a change in culture of many organizations that wish to successfully adopt and implement it. It will impact nearly every aspect of business in one way or another and will impact the way organizations collaborate with others. Deliverables are changing as a direct result of what BIM offers to building owners and managers.
To implement BIM, you will need to take a different approach. Simply investing in new software and hardware and sending some people to training, while certainly part of the process, is not enough. BIM, though disruptive, is no longer a new, untested concept. Many firms have adopted it successfully, and depending on the discipline you are in, you may find that, if you have not yet implemented a BIM workflow, you might be falling behind your peers. The Technology Adoption Curve can be applied to virtually any new technology and certainly holds true for BIM. Architects, engineers and contractors, for the most part, are beyond the “early adopters” phase due to some pitfalls, including:
- Lack of leadership buy-in
- No plan or roadmap
- No commitment
- Lack of understanding or the attitude that it’s just a replacement for CAD
- No accountability
- “Too busy”
- Forced to adopt BIM
Your firm’s BIM implementation roadmap will vary based on many factors, including firm size, goals and budget, but there are elements that are common to nearly all of them. The development of a BIM implementation roadmap has its own process.
- Before any planning can be done, 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. It is best for this to be done by an objective third party, through the use of indepth questioning of principals, managers and project team members, all of whom will have different perspectives on goals, challenges and bottlenecks.
- Testing should be
done to determine staff proficiency with BIM technologies that are anticipated
to be incorporated. There are a variety of ways this can be done, from self-
evaluation surveys to formal testing. Web based utilities such as online
surveys, are useful for conducting self-evaluations, and there are a variety of
services available to conduct more
formalized testing. KnowledgeSmart certification exams provide testing with reports that indicate knowledge and skill shortcomings for specific areas of software utilization.
- At the same time, a survey of existing technology and infrastructure should be conducted to gather information about hardware, network infrastructure, and software and operating systems. This will identify any upgrades or improvements that might be necessary.
- In addition to interviews and questionnaires, it is frequently helpful to develop process maps of critical aspects of project delivery.
Embarking on a BIM implementation can be intimidating in the beginning and appear to be a daunting task. However, with a well considered plan that contains the critical elements of a BIM implementation – realistic short term goals, upper management support and buy in, consultant assistance from Applied Software – you CAN succeed. Remember, if you don’t continue to grow your BIM implementation after the initial effort, you will soon find yourself playing “catch-up” again, facing another major effort to become current and able to deliver on owner requirements and expectations. Follow this link to request a quick discovery call from the Applied Software experts.