‘Not to BIM’ is not an option

A new adventure is beckoning me. After five years working ‘on the edges’ of the construction business, based at STABU, I’m going back to basics. The new basics, that is. I will be involved in creating the wonders of the construction and installation business – without ever laying my hands on a brick or length of tubing. I’m off to BIM. Or let’s say I will be serving people who are doing that, from a position of leadership. A whole lot more hands-on and basic than just talking about BIM or thinking of how others should do BIM…

Author: Marc Verhage

That’s one of the things I’ve noticed (no judgment) in the last five years, from the viewpoint of expert institutes, business associations and all manner of consultants. BIM is booming, for sure! A veritable army of experts are examining the technology, standards, Levels of Detail, whether or not something is ‘open’, and if it’s not, whether you can work with something that is ‘closed’. Experts can’t get enough of proving to each other what’s the proper way to use the phrase ‘door-set’. An idea from on organisation might be thrown out on the basis of its lack of ‘openness’, whereas another idea could be dismissed instantly for its lack of expertise…

Sure, those things need to happen. We do need to discuss what we agree on and which standards to use, to allow computer programs to communicate and interface. What we don’t need is a near-fundamentalist approach and being adamant that we are right and the other person is wrong. Exciting and well-intended projects are vilified on social media, purely for their failure to follow the supposed correct BIM gospel, so to speak. The divisions between BIM thinkers are apparently as diverse as those within the Building Construction business itself.

It’s not all bad, though. There are wonderful things going on, like the ILS base . A group of BIM aficionados decided to stop waiting around for a top-down approach (regardless of who the top may be) to reach the market. It is an idea by people who were keen to get started with BIM and who agreed on some ground rules for BIM. It is an idea that caught on all over in the Netherlands in no time, and has since been rolled out all over Europe. Or how about UNETO-VNI picking up the gauntlet and working hard on a Uniform Object Library – flaws and all. Whatever else people might think of this, it means that the installation business decided to join forces and is deeply involved in learning how to BIM. Loads of businesses are in busy designing and making great things using BIM. Anything rom small projects to largescale projects – including the entire planning, logistics, crane movement and construction-lift-movements. Whenever they stumble upon something – an agreement, a standard, a system – that has yet to be developed, they simply get on with it and finetune it later, during the next project. Many of the BIM seminars (in a league of their own, they are) are the go-to for presenting the newly developed projects, besides being a great way to see how the construction business is moving forward every year.

So, all in all, loads of things to glory in – and I have a positive view of the BIM future for us all. I’m sure al the shenanigans of experts on the fringes and the hands-on experience of those who are getting down and dirty on construction sites will ultimately go from strength to strength, moving the whole business into a place where virtual construction is the new normal.

What’s next? We’ve got the technology sorted, some standards have been set up, so now we need to get to work on a new mindset and legislation. Not everyone is ready or willing to embrace BIM, yet. BIM requires a whole new mindset and approach to work. Computers are not the only ones who need to communicate, the people in this business will need to be open and transparent, share information and work together, in order to achieve the client’s brief. We do tend to forget that the client is the one that matters, regardless of who they are. Legislation might need to be adjusted here and there, to reach this goal. I for one have full confidence in organisations like the IBR, who are dedicated to exactly that.

As for myself, after discussing BIM for five whole years – in which I must admit to having tried to decide how others should work – I am now off to work at the brilliant company that has ‘just’ been doing it for years already. Not to BIM, then, is not an option. Off to BIM, again!
The BIM Engineers are true BIM specialists. From small-scale projects (where they help companies ‘do a little BIM’) to greater and grander ones, where they take over the full management and coordination of BIM projects. I am thrilled to be working with young, exciting and go-getting people, working together helping businesses and projects to BIM, just by doing it for them. This is the perfect place for me to use all the knowledge I acquired ‘on the edges’, not just from the consultants and institutes I mentioned before, but from co-workers and close acquaintances in the construction business, to whom I’m grateful for what I learnt.
I can’t wait to start this new and exciting step in my life…

Marc Verhage