Skip to main content

6 BIM Secrets for the Uninitiated

1. BIM is vague. BIM is not a software. BIM is not a tool. BIM is not even a methodology in the truest sense of the word. BIM is a philosophy; however, implementing BIM does not mean that you are safe from waste, negligence, or even general tomfoolery. When faced with the vagueness of “BIM,” ask direct, and pointed questions to help you. You may not be a BIM expert, but you are an expert in your field. Forget the jargon, and get to the meat of the conversation.

2. The path of implementing BIM is similar to the path to personal enlightenment. While some tools and methods might be useful to many, they might not be useful to you. BIM is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. How you represent this, which software you use, and how you facilitate communication and collaboration within multi-disciplinary project team is largely left up to interpretation. Fear not; the path is yours to create. Fear greatly; the path is also yours to muck up. Listen to the experts. Find out what others have done. Learn from their best practices; but remember, the path your team chooses for BIM is as unique as you wish it to be.   

3. BIM is multidimensional (I call this the Revolution in Flatland: Pftb to you, Mr. Abbott). Technical drawings were traditionally twodimensional, and in the past 40 years, technology has made them threedimensional, and accessible in real time on many devices. BIM adds the dimensions of time, cost, spatial relationships, green needs, usability, and even the manufacture of component parts. Even Captain Picard would have a hard time navigating this one, but please don’t play poker while he does. Keep in mind that pondering all these variables from the beginning will create a better project overall. Have faith that what feels like chaos is actually strongly managed.    

4. What we learned in preschool IS important; share your toys!  The foundation of BIM is sharing information with all parties, making detailed notes, and constructively making adjustments to plans. The sharing and communication begin immediately and never ends. If you are an introvert, this may scare you. Breathe deeply; take a course in leadership or communications; you are not alone. Better communication is always a good thing, and the skills you learn for BIM could be used on the kids … <bwaa ha ha ha> now the garbage will be taken out!. 

5. BIM is dataintensive. Imagine a world where every detail and decision can be weighted, calculated, and analyzed. This is BIM. When you begin the vision of a project, you are already considering the price, and sourcing of the materials, the energy consumption, and even the exact workforce needed from the beginning to end of a project. Yes, it can be shocking. Magic is happening. All these details might overwhelm you; allow yourself to walk outside what is comfortable. BIM done right means that this intensity of data will ultimately lead to cost savings and faster overall development.

6. Everyone has something to say about BIM and not all opinions are created equal. The vagueness of BIM means that good BIM vs nonsense is not always so obvious. GeT smart about BIM. Take a course or several, even if you have been in the world of BIM for a while.