Building Information Modeling [BIM] is like an ailing dictator, the Hugo Chavez of the construction industry. The believers and inner circle promote the exploits of BIM out of all proportion to the reality.
BIM is supposed to integrate all the information that describes a building into one shared model that everyone contributes to and retrieves information from. A lofty and worthy goal. Technology is up to the challenge. Apparently people aren't. The new wisdom is that BIM is 10% technology and 90% social. Uh oh.
Architects and engineers seem to be the only ones who get it; but not necessarily all of them or even the architects and engineers on the same team. It looks like the two groups that stand to benefit the most from BIM either can't be bothered or don't know how to change.
Contractors are easy to understand. Even the biggish outfits struggle with electronic anything. With BIM they are going to need to learn to use a system that is more sophisticated than anything they have ever done. It isn't just a familiar process made digital, it is a whole different process. This change for them is going to be generational. Or BIM has to present itself to them in a form that they are familiar with.
Owners are nearly the same as contractors. They come in all sizes and levels of sophistication. Some can't even find the 'blueprints' you gave them last month, much less know why they would want to. Others, like a university, may even have architects on staff and a policy that says they want BIM. Remember though, these architects remodel spaces in buildings built without BIM and hire big firms to do any heavy lifting. They probably own a BIM package. Someone may know how it works. But interfacing with the big firm would be the only reason they have to use it - to print out drawings for review. The building management group might use BIM if it weren't easier to just go look at what you need to repair/upgrade/change.
So BIM will remain synonymous with 3D design until Autodesk and Archicad find a way to make BIM as easy as using email or a spreadsheet. Oh, and lowering the cost of ownership might speed the process up.
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