Moving from Confused to Comfortable

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BIM Strategy co-hosted ‘BIM: from Confused to Comfortable with CIOB Northern and Constructing Excellence at the Centre for Life in Newcastle last week.

It may be 2 years since the BIM Mandate came into operation but the level of take up of BIM across the industry is lower than many hoped. Despite the enormous range of free advice available online many still feel left behind in terms of their knowledge and understanding.

The day long event featured a broad range of speakers, from architects and engineers, contractors and lawyers who delivered a programme of learning for those who don’t feel up to speed with BIM. The audience was an eclectic one which included a mix of contractors, architects, developers, project managers, estates and FM experts and Phd students amongst others.

On a day with many highlights, perhaps the Keynote Speech from Professor Steven Kyffin, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Business and Enterprise) won first prize. He challenged the industry to remember to always focus on the social impact of our work when we’re specifying buildings. His speech raised questions on a much greater scale than simply BIM’s focus on efficiency and performance. Not surprisingly, this was the main topic of conversation during lunch, and rightly so.

Other notable presentations came from Anna Thompson, Director & Head of BIM for Turner & Townsend, who discussed how to successfully integrate client’s aspirations through BIM. Her focus on the simple things like listening and not trying to shoehorn a new client’s aspirations into something you’ve done for a previous one was a powerful reminder that BIM should be a bespoke process. Mark Crowe of BIM Academy used the largest COBie data sheets imaginable to demonstrate convincingly just how beneficial BIM is for FM. Those in the audience from this sector were left in no doubt of how important BIM will be for them going forward.

Judging by the feedback it seems we hit the mark with a really informative event which enabled the attendees to hear directly from teams delivering BIM projects in the North East, from SME practitioners and PR experts about what the business case for choosing BIM is alongside BIM’s benefits for Facilities Management.

John Adams, Director of BIM Strategy, was a busy man. Having curated the speakers, conducted the opening presentation and chaired the panel discussions he still had the energy to identify 5 key takeaways from the event;

1.       Don’t panic. Organise

Always take a structured approach to adopting new processes and tools. Understand what your client, the project and your business needs from the BIM process. Remember, you don’t need to know everything

2.       Why do we exist?

Don’t get obsessed with efficiency and performance. As in all thing, people – the users – come first

3.       What’s happening with the mandate?

It may end up not being enforced but perhaps this doesn’t matter. The BIM chasm has been crossed and BIM is now going to happen, enforcement or otherwise.

4.       Don’t try to read clients’ minds

Listen closely to their aspirations and don’t try to force a square peg into a round hole: just because a previous client has used BIM doesn’t mean this one will have the same needs.

5.       The UK BIM Alliance is coming together

The Alliance is starting to gel and build a solid plan for getting us all doing BIM for the benefit of the industry and beyond.

A longer version of John’s thoughts on the event can be found in the latest edition of BIM +

Niven & BIM Stategy