Grontmij head of building information modelling (BIM) Rupinder Wilkhu thinks the construction industry is approaching BIM the wrong way. All of the engineering and construction titles want to celebrate the best examples of BIM implementation on projects, but he thinks the industry would be better served by by talking about the bad experiences.
It would be useful to find out what people are really struggling with and get the bad stories about building information modelling (BIM)
There are certainly schemes that have not been efficient because of BIM and I think by being honest we probably get the feedback that we need to improve what we want to do.
We underestimate the amount of hand holding people actually need
One of the key areas is people. But the people with the technical knowledge, the people who’ve been in this industry for a long time aren’t happily adopting BIM. When we look at the people actually involved in the field, they’re focused on what they’ve been doing and not looking or wanting to look at how they’re going to change that.
We sometimes change our programmes to get the guys out in the field involved in the design room.
We have actually changed some of our contracts to be able to do that – and clients need to be aware of this.
If we don’t change the contracts to allow this early collaboration, then they can’t expect more collaboration. I think that’s part of the problem: when you tell people you need early input from them and they say “fine, but it’s not in my scope”.
There’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation.
If the contracts companies are stuck in, don’t allow them to get involved early on, then they’re not going to do it, and vice versa.
On some schemes we meet with representatives from each of the companies bidding for the contract
We don’t know who the contractor is going to be, but we might have an idea that it is going to be one of three companies, so we at least try to get someone from each contractor to come and sit or get involved early on in the design stage. That way we can start adding or changing the way we’re going to do things, so that it supports them going forward.
It’s a shame that people still ask for traditional handover drawings and PDFs to 2D specifications
That is a major issue for us as a designer. We’re being asked to do so much more from an early stage and also produce the traditional output in the same timeframe.
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