I am not going to pretend that I know everything about this BUZZ word “BIM” because I don’t think it is that easy to grasp – The ramifications from a business and industry perspective is huge and so multi-faceted. The current enquiry for me is to move beyond any single software/supplier solution. BIM is so much more than a 3D model stuffed with heaps of “possibly useful” data and some sexy schedules. In this blog I will engage in a dialogue of “What is BIM really and how (as an Industry) do we actually pull this off? “ in the hope that this debate may lead to the expansion of my (and perhaps your) understanding of BIM beyond some of the surface solutions that are being promoted out there that seem to have little substance when I dig a bit deeper and challenge a typical software salesman’s solution.

Frankly – I’m bored of the conversation that everything should be stored in a 3D model and that schedule exports of quantity take-off’s equates to using “BIM”.

I guess technically it is – perhaps defined as “small BIM”. All I can seem to comprehend from my understanding and research is that the true concept of BIM in the context of industry change is far-reaching. I have read journals and definitions of BIM that truly challenge the efficiency of our industry and exposes the depth of data mismanagement and the enormous challenge that lies ahead to address some of the issues. This inefficiency results in project costs blowing out, wastage of resources, materials and the duplication of knowledge multiple times within the life cycle of a project. (Some statistics claim 7-9 times in a project is the same data recaptured by various Departments and specialists) There must be a better way – and in my opinion it means thinking beyond a single platform solution.

I am beginning to grapple with the enormous challenge that comprehensive BIM is asking of the Design and Construction Industry and I am curious to see whether egos will be put aside and territories will be merged within our industry in order to accomplish this enormous task. Of course – there is hope. I remain committed to see a solution that provides a sustainable, duplicative and comprehensive solution that does not result in information overload across Departments and just another version of chaotic Information management.

Does anyone have some insight or comments on how we could go about this?

© Copyright Reserved by Michelle Louw



  1. Hi Michelle, nice start.
    First off if you want people to participate drop the required log-on for comments and add reCAPTCHA (it stops blog spam):

    Secondly egos won’t be put aside and the walled gardens will still exist, if they didn’t the world would be a boring place :-).

    Perhaps the more interesting question is what will BIM be like once an equilibrium is struck between the ignorance of academia, the innocence of marketing and the legal minefield of an entrenched industry?

    Looking forward to more.

  2. Firstly – Thanks for your feedback. I have managed to un-tick that magical box that forces users to log in to post and hope that this will make it easier for travellers to pop-in and say their piece and be one their way…..
    In response you your proposed enquiry:”Perhaps the more interesting question is what will BIM be like once an equilibrium is struck between the ignorance of academia, the innocence of marketing and the legal minefield of an entrenched industry?”
    If I could imagine for a moment the future of BIM, and try and put aside my prejudices and assumptions I can only imagine that it would be a collection point of data that allows users to extract the data they need, potentially from a web-based environment. I would like to think that the BIM solution lies in (a) enabling users to access data in a format-neutral environment (so that the data is not held hostage by selected or preferred softwares) and (b) where data can be manipulated and either pushed back to update the web-database or not (depending on the appropriateness of the change and if it should be allowed to impact on other users work or data) .. just a thought….

  3. It is impressive there is much confusion regarding BIM. Like IP and IDP, it not a new concept. When the first person drew on sheepskin or parchment, they were doing all those things. And that concept is what we do today and call it BIM.

    Also, it is foolish to think one approach will work for all projects. And if you accept for a moment that BIM is really building information managment, the idea takes on a broader scope; perhaps a more inclusive one.

    The truly broader issues are acceptance all involved influence the process and product. And all take an equal responsibility for those influences. As David noted, the current legal pit falls are real. From my perspective BIM is one option to reduce those legal issues. Imagine for a moment all the attornies re-writing or writing new agreements to meet this arrangement. And a severe reduction of professional insurance costs … perhaps a complete elimination. I just went to my happy place!!

    Ultimately, BIM – IP -IDP have one consistant goal; certainity. For everyone involved; regardless if it is design outcome, timing, or economic impact. I think this approach can and will lead to better projects in both design and construction; ie. better environments (design), less expensive to operate, and more predictibility of cost of construction.

    One area of the process that needs a serious adjustment are the review agencies and processes. It is important to know that is part of the BIM process. It will be interesting to see how paternal adherence to past design (Santa Fe for instance) can and should be eliminated. Europe understands that message … the US needs to grow up in that regard.

    Great question …


  5. Thank you for your comment. You raised several interesting points. (One of which has sprouted a separate side conversation – BIM IN HISTORY & IN OTHER APPLICATIONS) I will however respond to one comment in particular since I see this as one of the greatest challenges when addressing a cohesive, efficient and multi-divisional BIM solution. (Which – by the way – I’m not convinced is possible – as yet)

    “The truly broader issues are acceptance all involved influence the process and product. And all take an equal responsibility for those influences. “
    These two sentences raises far more questions than answers for me… because I am constantly grappling with this dilemma of how to get a team of individuals (under different management) working together with a common goal. I’m sure you have all heard comments like “The project is the client” and “we have a common goal” but I am not convinced that this ideal is enough to pull everyone together.

    I am often drawn to the euphoric solution of shared risk and shared reward (some sort of additional project bonus) but I am yet to see in any project that teams/departments are all equal in the efforts they put in to get the job done well, where each member takes equal or even consistent ownership/ responsibility for their work and where everyone is honest and operates in world of integrity. This is one of the stumbling blocks I see and I guess it will be what separates the turkeys from the eagles in the business world.

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