As Head of BIM Strategy in terms of being a BIM Manager, what actual duties are you carrying out day to day?
Well in terms of named roles then first up it’s prudent to note that BIM Manger isn’t a formal role, it’s a bit of a catchall for a swiss-army BIMmer and to step into a BIM Manager role is stepping into unknown as it really can mean anything to do with BIM.
Currently for me, being a BIM Manager in an SME means you’re involved in everything internally from high-level project planning right down to creating templates and guidance documents.
Bringing BIM into an architecture practice requires this holistic approach to be successful, so having BIM Strategy as a sister company offering much more than one office junior that knows how to use Revit is a huge benefit to Niven Architects.
The internal work takes up every spare minute in between working with clients, contractors and manufacturers; however the same is true, being a BIM Manager means you do everything and anything to do with BIM so there’s always plenty of plates to spin.
What type of service have you been providing to customers?
Well as examples of things we’ve been doing with our customers; we’ve been auditing some models for COBie consistency for a contractor working on a tender at the same time as helping them with a Pre-Contract BIM Execution Plan, Supplier Assessment, Information Management Strategy as well offering guidance and training on a wider BIM issues relevant to them like CDEs and PAS1192-5.
I’ve also been writing an EIR with a client who aren’t only new to BIM, but new to being a client for a construction project so there has been a lot of input and guidance required to get us to tender stage with a project structured to ensure the client gets the most out of BIM processes.
What do you enjoy the most about the role?
No two days are the same and I genuinely believe I am making a difference to our industry as we have to disrupt ourselves or risk being disrupted from the outside.
As a hardworking research driven individual who makes a point of staying up to date and involved in the latest standards and approaches in design and construction, the BIM roles came about in the industry at a great time for me to get my teeth into something really exciting as I’d learnt enough about the context through my varied architectural roles to really understand how it all pieces together.
What, in terms of the traditional process or your “old role” do you miss the most/the least?
In my more traditional architectural roles, there was always someone in the office who had the answer to how things should be done because they’d been doing it for 30yrs or more, now with so many new standards that don’t all align there is an element of making calls on best judgement or through gaining consensus on Twitter. It’s exciting, but sometimes you run into issues that should be simple and take a long time to resolve as many questions haven’t been answered yet.
In terms of what I miss the least, it is probably the repetitive hunting through a set of drawings and specs to find all reference to something that has had to change; a mix of CAD, NBS Building and spreadsheets was so difficult to amend and keep the consistent.
It was pretty laborious and I’m glad I never have to do it again now we’ve moved to a much slicker approach using BIM.
What wider roles do you occupy in the company, talk a little bit about the setup?
I’m a director of a BIM Consultancy with a team which fluctuates in size depending on how busy BIM Strategy are compared to Niven Architects. Being a BIM Manager at the same time as managing my team, winning work, networking, and playing an active role in local initiatives like the Tees Valley Digital Strategy Boards makes for a near 24/7 role.
However some days I’m more focused on one activity than others and there are times where I spend 100% of my time wearing my BIM Manager hat.
I’m proud to say I have a great team with me a BIM Strategy and we work in an Agile methodology which makes sharing the work and getting things done a lot easier.
Canvassing wider industry opinion, what would you say separates being a BIM Manager from being a BIM Coordinator?
A BIM Coordinator has a slightly more defined role as they are tasked with deploying the standards and processes on a project. BIM Managers need to be more strategic and outward facing than a BIM Coordinator
What is a BIM Coordinator in your view, what do they do day in day out?
Simply put; where a BIM Manager writes the BEP (amongst everything else), a BIM coordinator executes it.
However, this isn’t consistent as the roles are often mixed up, merged or quite frankly just plucked out of the air during #BIMtranferseason
Part 2 here.
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