People will automatically get nervous for fear of becoming antiquated when a new technology or a new way of working presents itself, especially in a field like construction where the same working principles have been in place since the Romans were building.
First, people need to understand that BIM and IPD are two very different things, and are not mutually exclusive. IPD is a project delivery method, and as effective as it has been found to be, was not a subject matter of this article and can be debated fully at a later date.
BIM, however is a virtual representation of an actual deliverable, as opposed to the historical methodology of delivering a 2D abstraction of a design intent. This virtual representation allows architects to better interact with what they are producing, and can allow for more control over the final product, as it allows a 3D experience as yet unavailable in 2D documentation. This also allows Architects to actually control design intent through virtual manipulation, which in the long run is much less costly to the project than controlling design intent trough actual manipulation in the field, which is unfortunately the norm. This practice of creating "virtual mock-ups" or details, can greatly reduce change orders and rfi's and focus the team on actual conditions rather than abstract notions.
Second, there are also plenty of directions BIM can be taken where it is still in it's naissance, as Mr. Barrett points out. Whoever is contractually responsible for coordination (also not a subject matter of this article) BIM is a tool that has and will continue to revolutionize the industry in many more ways than just that. The idea that an Architect/Engineer/Contractor can work with a virtual model to refine design and systems prior to actual execution can lead to not only updated coordination methodology, but also off-site prefabrication, as well as other, information based operations that can lead to better, more efficient buildings that are built in a better, more efficient way.
The idea isn’t to make anyone obsolete, but rather to use the technology that has been around in other industries for a number of years to make this industry better.
After reading this article and all of the comments, Sam Stuart, one of Tocci's modelers, had to respond:
Posted: Monday, January 31, 2011