Archive for September, 2010

Is BIM for Big Firms Only?

There are a lot of firms that have not embraced BIM and may not even be investigating its use.

Before you start thinking that they are going to be left in the dust and will be out of business in 5 years or less, let’s ask the question first.

Is BIM push back just the plight of smaller firms? Are all big firms going to BIM?  Are there any big AEC firms that have not started moving to BIM and have chosen to stay on plain CAD or 2.5 D CAD?

Many firms have production capabilities built on tools other than BIM.  They are productive, accurate, design focused and getting the job done.  They think “Why move to BIM?”

Their thinking may be:

1. We are happy where they are – We are productive.  My team is trained.  We are making money and we are fine without BIM

2. We are forced to stay where they are by economic reality  – we cannot afford BIM.  It costs too much.  We have software now that is paid for.  The cost of upgrading is making us not even think about it.

3. We are forced to stay where they are by business reality – we have to compete on speed.  Transitioning to BIM will slow us down.

4. Training cost will kill us – money is the issue as well as time.  We cannot afford to have someone take 3-4 days off production to get trained.

5. None of my competition is moving in that direction – others are using CAD and getting work.  They propose and win and can do it cheaper in CAD.

6. I cannot convince my clients to make the jump – they don’t care about BIM or anything it brings to the table.  They just want their plan drawings done.  They don’t want any fancy 3D or animations or renderings or anything else.  They want to pay as little as possible and get it done fast.

Are there other reasons for not moving to BIM?  Do they relate to firm size?  Clients or markets?

Let me know by leaving a comment…  why are you not moving to BIM?

Are You Using CAD as a Crutch?

All of us think we are embracing BIM wholeheartedly.  We think that we are moving forward and making progress by expanding our talents in BIM.  We see more and more projects delivered using BIM tools and processes.  But are we free from legacy tools yet? There are so many that still use CAD tools for some portions of the projects that it still may be the crutch that not easily discarded.

Why can’t we all just jump into the future and use all  BIM tools now?

Here are a few statements that I hear people giving for not using BIM even though their firm may have started the march toward full implementation:

The old tools still work for some portions of the design process.

My staff is not fully trained.

We have a compressed schedule and cannot afford to miss deadlines.

Others on the design team have given us CAD files and we just kept on using them.

The client gave us old files that are in CAD.

CAD is dependable and I know how to use it.

We do not have enough software licenses for everyone to use it yet.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.  Some of these reasons may be legitimate and reflect real issues, but sometimes they are excuses that people hide behind when they just don’t want to take the time or effort to move forward.  The BIM Manager has to address each of these issues and provide workable plans for getting past them.

The plan might outline stepped levels of progress to address the concerns.  Move forward should be done in stages.  Your firm may not progress if you just rip away the CAD platform and force everyone to jump.  I have heard about firms that have done that, but it is after the workforce has reached the tipping point.  They were embracing BIM with gusto and sweeping away the CAD platform was the last step of a managed migration.

So plan out the steps needed to get your staff trained, licenses purchased and processes for dealing with CAD files so that your firm can continue to making small steps that will eventually allow you to jettison the crutch.

Show me the Model

BIM is a process – not a tool.  Revit, Bentley Architecture, ArchiCAD and others are BIM tools.  This is fairly common knowledge now.  Most of those that embrace BIM realize that the change is not just the adoption of a new software platform.  It is a change to the fabric of a practice.  The promise of BIM is that the models become more and more intelligent as they move through the design process.

With that in mind – why aren’t we sharing BIM models as the promise of BIM expands.  There are many who actually fear the concept of someone taking their model files.  What might they do with them?  What might they find out about our ability in BIM?

Would you be open to just passing your model file around?  Would you send it to others without a disclaimer?  What are the issues holding you back?

Let me know by making a comment below.

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