the (one-sided) race to implementation

The e-mail I referenced in my last post also brought up another issue:

Unfortunately I do not see Architects liking the BIM because of the change they will have to do. On the other hand I do see the Contractors really jumping on the band wagon.

I am pleased to hear someone from a design firm addressing architects' resistant to BIM as well as contractors' acceptance; it makes me sound less biased. (Clarification: I don't mean all architects or all contractors; I'm speaking generally here.) I'm aware that the AIA has produced the majority of the public documentation on BIM, but that doesn't mean they are implementing. And the reverse applies for contractors; we haven't been talking about it a lot because we've been doing it.

I have had several experiences with introducing BIM to architects:

  • We modeled one of our projects to utilize clash detection. After running the interference check (and finding 20 real clashes in one floor), we presented the information to the owner and architect. We were hoping that the architect and engineer could propose solutions to some of these clashes, so that the owner could realize some savings. What was the architect's response? He "didn't have the time" to address these issues in a timely manner (timely meaning, 2 weeks).
  • We created a basic 4D model for an owner meeting to a project that we were bidding. We showed the owner the model and then presented some of the benefits of a full model. After hearing about clash detection, the architect claimed that "coordination was his job", but we "couldn't expect him to completely coordinate all the trades".
  • We presented the benefits of BIM to an architect who was thinking about Revit (and remember, Revit is currently a tool for architects). Their response? They will implement after owners start requiring tools to support BIM. I think one of them actually said they would implement only if "forced".

I don't want to criticize architectural practices (I might be too late for this); everyone and every industry has its own pace. But I implore architects not to be offended when we implement this first.

We aren't trying to point out flaws in construction documents; we are merely trying to efficiently build a building. It doesn't matter when we find the "pipe running through the beam"; trust me, we're going to find it. We'd just prefer to find it ahead of time so we can avoid additional costs (contrary to popular belief, contractors don't make money off of change orders) and time delays.


BIM BAM BOOM said...

Hi Laura,

I am in a Architectural firm in a process to implement (may be) Revit Building. We just submitted our first prototype project (35% CD) 100 residential buildings with 20 different types. Big challenge for us. We are trying to have the structural Eng. on board too, they are in the process...The General contractor is still having issues with DWF vs. PDF so Revit (how do you spell it? they asked me) is too far to be a reality ;)...We keep the hope and faith...I estimate 5 to 7 years from now to have a complete understanding of the benefits to use Revit Platform (its like 2 decades ago the struggle with the drafting table vs. CAD tools); we (the AEC industry) needs time to digest.

Laura Handler said...

It sounds like you are doing a great job with this! I'd love to see some images of the work you're doing (in fact, e-mail me & we'll set you up to showcase them on the BIMForum!).
I'm sure some GC firms will have some initial problems with using DWF instead of PDF. It sounds like you need to work with us - we can handle DWF and will actually demand the RVT file!