a (slightly biased) review of AGC BIM Breakfast

This morning I, along with a handful of other Tocci staff, attended the AGC's BIM Breakfast, which featured presentations from:

Markku's presentation reviewed BIM from the national design perspective. He had some interesting content (for instance a review of all of the AIA/CURT papers on BIM), but for the most part, he repeated things that most of us already know. His presentation further reinforced that on the national level, architects seem to be all talk and no BIM.

However, Jill did a great job of proving me wrong: ADD Inc is using BIM. Not just BIM for visualizations, but for document coordination, change management and some clash detection. She reviewed several of their projects designed in Revit, and at one point challenged the contractor for one of the projects (who was at the presentation) to utilize the Revit model for the project and collaborate with BIM. Jill also reviewed some of the steps to implementation, encouraging future implementers to learn from their successes and failures. Her advice:

  • Educate everyone in the company on BIM.
  • Get buy-in at all levels; since it is a process change, everyone needs to believe.
  • Train at all levels.
  • Pick the right project; sometimes a complex project isn't the way to start.
  • Make sure that there is an open dialogue between the design team (including the client, consultants, contractor, architect, etc.).

She also warned about some of challenges:

  • There is a learning curve.
  • Using BIM does have an impact on the schedule, team, task assignments and deliverables.
  • Software interoperability is still a problem.
  • Perception: it may be hard to believe, but not everyone thinks BIM is a good idea.

Mike discussed the content of the Contractor's Guide to BIM; he was one of the major contributors to the guide. He also touched on his company's philosophy of BIM ("It's when, not if.") and what his company is doing with BIM. Holder seems to use BIM in the field quite a bit; although, I wasn't sure to what extent. He showed some examples of clash detection and other applications of BIM, but they (like Tocci) seem to still be in the exploring stages (for instance, he referred to one project where they found 81 clashes, but wasn't able to quantify how many they avoided).

John eloquently reviewed both the AGC BIM activities (including BIMForum activities, BIM training workshops and other programs) and Tocci BIM activities. I won't go into great detail about John's presentation, mostly because a lot of the topics have been covered in previous posts (and those that haven't been will be covered in the near future!). He reviewed our efforts in:
  • 2D Conversions
  • Clash Detection
  • Primary 4D models
  • Partial 5D models
  • Streamlined 5D

His presentation, much like Jill's, was honest; he talked openly about our failures and successes. He also talked a lot about the issues that we've faced while implementing:

  • resistance to BIM from field personnel, architects, owners, etc.
  • problems with BIM software
  • high costs associated with BIM
  • time-consuming uses of BIM
  • lack of industry standards

Despite covering all those negative points, John kept his presentation upbeat, accessible and inspirational. He also captured the audience's attention with real examples of our successes and failures. (This is the part that I might be slightly biased about, but he is an amazing speaker!)

Although I already knew about most of the topics and issues that were addressed today, it was a great event to attend. It definitely renewed my excitement about BIM, which sometimes wanes during the day-to-day implementation tasks.

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