Hollywood BIM: how NOT to do a BIM project?

How not to develop property in the 21st century

  • How much?
  • 60!
  • What’s 60?
  • What is how much?

You know it, right? This is what it sounds like in the construction industry today:

  • What does the BEP say about HVAC?
  • 300!
  • What’s 300?
  • LOD.
  • But what is BEP?
  • Why, what is HVAC?

Caution, explicit content follows

So the thing is, I’ve held some job interviews in the past few weeks and I’ve found that the vast majority of people in the construction industry (with respect to the exception) have no idea what they’re talking about.

So what? That won’t hurt anyone.

Of course, this is an understandable position. Why should a professional be expected to move with the times? So that a digger can learn to drive a backhoe or a woodcutter can start a chainsaw. How a doctor learns to use CT instead of X-rays or the name of new medicine. In the same way, the designer or contractor has time to learn the tools of the new generation of construction.

All those buttons and foreign words are really confusing. And if you go off the old ways, you can always make a mistake. This is really unpleasant because then you will be scolded by the boss, you will lose authority, and this is often more important than anything else.

There are always plenty of reasons.

There’s a lot of work, we carry a lot of stones.
No time to explore the wheel.

A basic thesis of Hollywood BIM (Source: Ten Mile Square)

But let’s see how the market is doing

We are now at a point where 60-70% of applicants for modeling positions know what BIM is. It is possible that many of those who apply to become airline pilots know what a plane is, but let’s not be insatiable, this is good news. They are mostly young. They’re curious, they’re smart, and they learn easily.

Only about 40-50% of the applicants for architectural design jobs (we asked for about 10 years of experience) were already familiar with BIM – it’s a bit harder with them. And about one in ten of those who applied to become a construction manager or project manager was in the know.

I don’t know where you are in this palette, but before anyone is ashamed, we were at the world’s largest building digitization exhibition in November, where the German Building Research Institute reported that

in Germany, around 17% of active constructions were BIM projects. Taste it, it’s less than one in five construction sites.

But the exciting thing was that they were forecasting a 20% increase in the next couple of years and that was before the coronavirus, which I think will catalyze this process. But more on that another time.

Let me tell you a little bit about the practice

Today, in Hungary, the average project starts with a person of your choice (whose knowledge of the BIM approach should not cloud his or her vision) launching a price competition to find the cheapest designer.

That’s a smart idea – that’s how I would choose a surgeon for my child – two things happen.

The first is that we have already earned at least 0.5-1% of the 4% of the investment (the design fee). This is much less over a lifetime, but let’s not get hung up on that now.

The other is that from a BIM perspective, we have also automatically lost 90% of the investment, particularly in the residential, condominium, private industrial, and for-profit real estate development segments.

Now that the amateurs are out, let’s see who is the madman pushing BIM so hard and why.

Well, they’re usually big multinational companies that do a lot of optimization, and – even with their slow and cumbersome organization – they’re pretty damn efficient. That’s why they make large and/or complex buildings with sophisticated technologies and considerable experience in construction.

That is why they would never think of not designing in BIM because they know very well how expensive and dangerous it is to do it traditionally and how much the energy invested is worth once the house is finished.

It’s worth it…. Yeah, sure, it’s just like the heat-pump, by the time it pays for itself, it’s broken. ????

This is the answer I usually get.

But no.

We simply have new tools that rewrite the rules of how we built, used, and operated our buildings in the previous 2000 years.

The fact is that not only does the BIM approach pay off handsomely during construction, but the project itself becomes much safer because there is no extra work, so the deadline is not delayed.

After that, it’s much more profitable, but more on that another time.

Now let’s see what’s wrong with Hungarian BIM projects

Today, the average project is carried out by a client looking for a contractor who has usually never done a real BIM project. This is not surprising, because it is a new technology and not much has been done in our country.

So the consultant is looking for architects that they already know from somewhere, saying that there is a project here and it should be done in BIM.

Everyone is happy about this.

The problem is that BIM today, even in the minds of 80% of designers, means a fancy 3D made together with disciplines – everyone with the software they have – and then saving a geometry from that, which we look at and comment on and correspond about in a sixth program until we can give a report that there are no more clashes.

Then we print out the plans, and give the model to the client – in layman’s terms, we pull the carcass over the fence – and the BIM sample project is done.

However, we cannot check what was actually made, as we could not even write down what we were asking for. The model contains no information other than the geometry, and it is certain that the geometry itself does not fully reflect reality because it is impossible to build this complicated coiled pipe from 2D paper plans (see our post on the Hungarian design reality).

But that’s okay; we’ll publish the project in several catalogs, create well-tailored visual designs with multi-colored lines and present it as excellent PR content at several exhibitions.

This is why BIM is expensive. Very expensive for marketing material.

And foreign customers are really upset because they didn’t get what they asked for.

But what is the problem?

After all, the model is in BIM. We worked with it a lot. The model is also sufficiently large and complex, even the clashes have been detected.

The main problem is that it is not built as it was modeled by the designer. Practice almost always overrides plans.

Because the world is such that the first to arrive at the construction site is the sprinkler expert, and if he installs the 2-inch firewater pipe straight on the pumpkin ceiling, then all the sections must be redesigned, otherwise the air technology would conflict with the sprinkler, the cable tray, and the anemostat.

Why, it’s fixed, isn’t it? Yepp. There you go. (Source: BuildEXT)

It’s also a problem that no one follows these changes up in the building model. Because it’s so complicated that – rather than explaining to the designers what elements have been changed and where – it’s much easier to build it on-site the way you know how. Then what’s the point of drawing it. We haven’t overdone it in the past.

It is also not good that the model is perfectly unsuitable to integrate with any kind of coordination or facility management software, because as many elements as there are in it and as many software as it comes from, each one is parameterized with a different classification. The LOI just comes up as some obscure acronym, but it was not even in the design.

Another problem was that we knew that the LOD was 200, but we didn’t know exactly which element is referred to – and that was only as good as the answer to the meaning of life, 42.

It also doesn’t help that our education is at least 10 years behind.

Because it takes 5 years to write and approve the curriculum for a new subject and another 5 years to graduate. It takes 10 years for a new entrant to learn what BEP is – and by then it will be history.

But the thing that bothers me the most is that we hear too much of this constant explanation and excuse-making around us.

Because people like power and immutability, and cognitive dissonance – in other words, the old dog doesn’t learn new tricks mentality – is more comfortable than constant change and lifelong learning.

Yet our world is changing at an unstoppable pace, and development is accelerating exponentially, with the result that there will be both unemployment and labor shortages in the market. We will meet old people aged 30 and young people aged 60 at the same time. At the same time as we hear “that’s the problem”, there will be organizations where almost everything will be much better. And it is a matter of choice. Everyone can decide which route they want to take.

So is this the happy ending?

No. The happy end is the information model-based workflow.

This is a new set of tools that will transform our industry. It takes property development and the built environment to another level. And it’s brutally efficient.

Interested to see how it works?

Read my blog!

Csaba Livjak

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