June 15, 2015 │ Esteban Aristizabal

The purpose of this post is my personal opinion to try to clarify the misunderstanding/ misconception that is being created in the AEC market that if you know Revit thus you are a BIM guru!

Here is the typical scenario:

Company X tenders for Project A that has a specific BIM Scope with clearly defined BIM deliverables and requirements.  Company X somehow speed-reads through the BIM section thinking “oh that’s CAD lingo, and our CAD manager knows Revit, so we are ok with that stuff”. Weeks go by and they get awarded with Project A, yaaay everyone is happy! A few weeks more go by and the Project Manager gets a call from the Client requesting a meeting to present the BIM Implementation Plan and introduce the BIM Team…. Ohhh SNAP! Company X now realizes their in-house CAD Manager a.k.a “self-proclaimed-BIM-Expert” is overwhelmed with the requirements! Management doesn’t understand what they are contractually obligated to deliver and they didn’t assign a budget for BIM! Total chaos!!!

If you secretly feel identified, please don’t be offended or sad, I honestly want to provide a light at the end of the tunnel

Let’s take a few steps back to better understand how we got into this mess. For the past few years we are seeing many “professionals” in the AEC market claiming they are BIM Experts, and if you take a moment to review their profiles you will notice a pattern.  Some come from CAD drafting backgrounds, 3D modelers, Revit users or other 3D programs, and sometimes if you are lucky you will find an actual Engineer or Architect! I sometimes get the feeling that since people are seeing everywhere BIM BIM BIM, and since it has no governing body in MENA (yet!) that people have taken advantage of this and just changed their title!? Suddenly everyone is a BIM expert!

Unfortunately what these self proclaimed BIM experts are doing is shooting themselves in the foot because they belittle the true effort it takes to implement BIM on a project. They misguide management to believe BIM can be simply done by “that Revit guy”. I have personally witnessed in well known companies here in the MENA these self-proclaimed BIM Experts/CAD Managers using Revit or Civil3D for basic 2D drafting or creating simple 3D models from 2D drawings. This is NOT BIM, nowhere close!

So let’s get this post back on track. YES, Revit has many helpful BIM applications don’t get me wrong, but it is no way the sole BIM holy grail , even if it’s used properly it’s still not enough to fully implement BIM and for anyone to claim it is would just confirm they have no idea what BIM truly is!

You remember Company X, the guys that were mislead to believe BIM is a one-man-CAD-Manager-turned-into-BIM-expert job. Well many time I hear them in their desperation ask, “What about these low cost 3D modeling companies in Asia? I hear they can turn my 2D design into 3D models in no time! That will solve everything, right?” My answer to them is… a basic 3D model is not the solution. What does the contract say? What is your BIM Scope, what are you supposed to deliver? Do you have a BIM Implementation Plan? I can literally see his hair turning grey at this point.

This is where I have the chance to sit down with Company X’s PM and share with him the true meaning of BIM and he immediately realizes #BIMisNOTrevit, it’s so much more!

Clients are now demanding:

  • BIM Implementation Plans
  • CV’s of your BIM staff, most require proper engineering degrees with at least 5 years experience (not 2D/3D modelers or draftsmen)
  • 3D design files (no more converting old school 2D drawings into 3D models, you now have to really create your design using 3D tools!!)
  • 3D Design Coordination process and clash reports
  • 4D Construction sequencing and how you are linking it to the schedule.
  • Automated BoQ & Cost Estimates
  • High-res 3D visualization & video fly-thrus
  • COBie sheets and how you can support CAFM integration

As you can see, BIM at its best influences all major processes on your project. Implementing it correctly, and getting actual benefits from the new methods requires more than just issuing a purchase order to an outsourcing company (the company I work for, HOCHTIEF ViCon, actually has a good framework for what you need link ).

So the question you should ask yourself at the end of my post is:

  1. Are you looking to implement BIM just because the project demands it?
  2. Do you really want to get your team up to speed and bring BIM into your company and improve your stance in the market?

If you answered “yes” to question no.1….. I’m sorry to say you will be extinct very soon! About 99% of the large scale projects today in Qatar have clearly defined BIM requirement.  Clients are growing aware of what BIM really is and know what to expect from you. Are you prepared to deliver?  Or do you honestly believe you can fool them with just 3D models?

If you answered "yes" to question no.2.... BIM will actually change the way you work. It requires some investment in time and money, but if you focus on improvements instead of ticking boxes, you will definitely find it worth your while.

In closing, just because someone in your team is using Revit or is a certified/expert in Revit, this doesn’t make them a BIM Expert, just as having a motorcycle doesn’t make you a MotoGP racer. Don’t belittle BIM!.... Hmm that could be my next hashtag #DontBelittleBIM

*Let me take a quick moment to say I believe Revit is an amazing tool, I’m in no way affiliated to AutoDesk nor its competitors.  I actually love AutoDesk and have been using their tools for over +20 years! I started at age 14! While all my friends had Nintendo and where shooting up ducks I was drafting structural designs on AutoCAD 9 for my father on his IBM PC XT 286. Feel free to ask him http://www.researchgate.net/profile/J_Aristizabal-Ochoa

All comments and examples here mentioned are my personal opinion.

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