BIM without information is a shocking experience
- November 28, 2022
“I don’t know what the potential of BIM is, but I’ve spoken to five design firms, both smaller and larger than yours, all of whom said that most of their projects are in BIM, it’s only natural that all firms should be ready for it.”
That phrase I got from one of our guests – rightly so – and I get it from our customers countless times. But now I’ve had enough and I’m going to explain the difference as no one has ever done before… (think of any emoticons here you like).
Did you know BIM is like the electric wiring in the old electrician joke?
“The wire with electricity in it
looks the same as the one without…
Only the feeling of holding it is different “
The same is the case with BIM.
A 3D model with organized data looks the same as one without. Only it will be good for something else.
Because even if you install the electricity in your house, nothing will work. If it has no electricity, it’s worthless. Yet it is the basis of everything.
What is in the wire is ELECTRICITY,
is DATA in the BIM model.
This is the basis of everything.
But it’s no use having electricity in your house if it’s not good, or if you don’t connect devices to it. (At most, you’ll be shocked if you built the system wrong.)
That’s when it all starts to make sense when you put a device on it.
Then the washing machine replaces the hand washing, the cooker cooks the ham, the TV and computer switch on and entertain and suddenly everything comes to life.
Because cables carry the electricity our devices transform into services and convenience.
BIM works the same way
The data stored in the building model is worth nothing in itself, and neither is the electricity. But if you plug in an app or a communication platform, you suddenly have
- more accurate planning,
- faster change tracking,
- AR so the contractor understands the house,
- less extra work,
- and the operator knows where to turn off the tap or which pump is broken and how to fix it.
Because software running on smart devices makes the data in the BIM model accessible and our increasingly complex systems and applications transform data into solutions, speed, and convenience.
In summary :
- the 3D model – the wire,
- the data – the electricity,
- the apps and software – the washing machine, the TV that makes sense of it all.
And it’s OK. Let’s accept that any self-respecting architectural firm can build a 3D model – which is the wire.
The question arises
How many can create a consistent data structure in the model? Which is electricity.
And how many can connect an online CDE environment to the live model? And how many of them can connect it with operational software? Which makes sense of it all?
The 3D model is not the goal of BIM.
It is the basis.
Advice to take
When two design firms tell you they are working in BIM, ask them to quickly show you what project platform they use on their design model on any of their current projects – which they have used to track changes during construction – and then show you what FM software integration they have implemented during the operational period.
If you can do it within 10 minutes, you’re in the right place.