After last week’s Construction Computing Show (see previous post), I have finally got round to reading the show edition of Construction Computing magazine (November/December 2006), which incorporates CAD User. In the latter, there is an article (not yet on the CAD User website) from Mervyn Richards, which I think gives a good, if ultimately somewhat depressing, overview of the business process challenges we face in introducing the building information model (BIM) into mainstream activity within the architectural, engineering and construction market. He writes:
“The change in business process will need to cover most of the current activities in the delivery of the project namely:
- Collaborative Contracts
- Greater definition of the roles and responsibilities of the supply chain
- Changes to the professional designers appointments
- New processes for Construction Management
- New processes for Contractors Design Management
- New processes for the Contractors modelling needs
- Full involvement of the manufacturers and fabricators at an early stage
- Education and training for the construction team in process and enabling technologies”
As if this wasn’t daunting enough, he continues:
“Change will also impact upon the traditional social and cultural habits of the staff and project teams and their resistance to change. … Taking BIM to its ultimate conclusion, the industy will have to change its dependence on the use of CAD, 3D or otherwise, in the delivery of a project.”
Mervyn and I had a brief chat at the show last week – he was particularly interested in a section of my presentation which covered some of the social and cultural issues (also described in chapter 8 of my book), but I talk about them in relation to general collaborative working within the AEC industry – nothing perhaps so profound in its implications as BIM.
While on the subject of BIM, I notice that Asite’s latest news concerns its collaborative BIM product, which it discussed in the US at the start of November (see BIM – Asite targets US). If you read this latest ‘press release’ (full of un-journalistic marketing ‘puff’ and hype), you might think the Asite solution is the answer to the industry’s problems, but, as Mervyn Richards has described, it will take much, much more than a technology offering to bring about wider adoption of BIM approaches. The AEC industry also has to tackle the much more fundamental people and process issues, and on past form these issues may take some years to overcome (see also BIM – some background reading).