Are we beyond BIM?

If everybody is so proficient with the change to a BIM process, then why aren’t building projects embracing it more widely? Why aren’t those firms who have embraced it finding the efficiencies that it promises? Why are our buildings not being constructed with less problems? Most importantly, why are those people who build those buildings still not convinced that the move to BIM has improved the quality, capability, efficiency and functionality of their products?

BIM has been around for over 15 years and still many architectural firms are struggling with how to actually leverage its potential. Engineering firms are not utilizing the information in the data-rich models being created. Contractors are spending valuable time remodeling the digital information created by their design teams so that they can utilize them for their purposes. Finally, these models are not of much use to the owners and even more work needs to be done for them to get a true digital repository of the structures they have created.

What has gone wrong? Why can we not create a true digital model of a building that can be used for design; then passed onto production of construction documents; then passed onto the contractor him/herself to build and extract useful data from; and finally passed to the owner to utilize throughout the building’s life-cycle. Along the way, why isn’t this data-rich model used for a myriad of additional benefits? A true building information model should exist throughout the life of a building.

The answer is that WE CAN! The secret is that all of these participants have to want to work together to achieve a set of common goals. The only person who can define what these are is the person paying the participants; yet that person does not have the experience or knowledge to do what is necessary. Until we can get together as one team pulling for that elusive set of common goals, the building process and the resulting building will be a disparate set of activities producing a result that reflects that lack of cohesiveness.

It is time that we got together and came up with a better way to use BIM so that everybody in the process can benefit.