BIM: What's in a Name? The Emerging Job Roles pt 1


From BIM Journal. Click Here to Read Issue 2

Seemingly quite a lot - and it changes from company to company and region to region. As if the wildebeest migration to BIM were not enough, during the transition from scratching at the barren scrubland of traditional ways of working to the scent of pastures new, it seems that there is some effort (nay pain) to endure on the way to this abundant paradise of flora and fauna. But at least the general direction and the approximate location is known.

Indeed rampant opportunity presents itself perhaps moreso now than in the digital dream of what may lay ahead. Companies large and small are modernising and not just by adding the word “BIM” to their marketing either (although that is happening a lot). Here we see companies all over the world genuinely beginning to question their approaches to their whole set up and ask if they too can really up their game in terms of performance, efficiency, outlook and profitability. Having the buy in from the right staff to do this is critical of course, hence the migration to these very roles to begin with. But change is most definitely occurring.

Tellingly, the staff in these roles also require complementary buy in from seniority in return. Which is another issue we will examine through the opinions of key industry players and what it means from one practitioner to the next - before we summarise with an overall consensus later on.   


As BIM yet again contains so many approaches and methods, the many “new and emerging” roles have in actual fact long since emerged and are little short of new, but we can hardly call them “old and everyday” just yet. But there are considerable differences in terms of how these roles are applied project wide when it comes to how BIM projects are implemented; not least with regard to the clarity of emerging roles and responsibilities and the meandering of how these definitions can blur. Even for the same person from one project to the next. Plus there are BIM Coordinators, BIM Engineers, BIM Modellers, Task Team Managers and Interface Managers thrown into the mix along with several other vestiges. Each of which we will seek to clarify.

So first things first, in terms of standards then as PAS1192:2 and subsequently the BIM Protocol, being the de facto contract addendum that facilitates the use of BIM in the first place (the spirit of which is enjoyed in other standards around the world), the honouring of its demands propels a framework for these emerging roles and duties to fall into, with a natural variance that becomes largely dependent on the project size. Another aspect that we will also consider.

Many roles, or as we shall go on to interpret, many duties, are put forward in the standards but they seem at odds to industry parlance at this particular moment in time. We are obliged to honour these roles wholeheartedly, at least where BIM Level 2 or “actual BIM” is concerned, and we will study this obligation in greater detail next and indeed throughout the publication.


To some, adding the word to “BIM” to their existing role seems to be getting them through this troubled time and this is a tactic that is seemingly occurring at all levels. To others, the fact that the BIM Protocol mandates the appointment of an Information Manager, a vital and senior role is another kettle of fish and propels their adoption strategy much more distinctly with much more clarity. Rather than adopting BIM blind, this cohort has sought to go further than scratching the surface - which many operations are only really doing in earnest.

That said, you can already see how the confusion begins to start “don’t BIM Managers also manage the same information as the Information Manager?”

Industry it seems, or at least pockets of it, quite often refer to an Information Manager as a BIM Manager - at least in some cases. Plus they can also be called a BIM Information Manager[2] as well. In fact there are other terms that are being bandied around similarly but these will only muddy the water if we bring them up now. But it does lead to another question;

If the Information Manager is also known as the BIM Manager, then surely there can only ever be one BIM Manager on any given job? Assuming the role has not been split?

To answer this, and a raft of other questions, let’s get back to basics.

..part 2 here.

For references see BIM Journal magazine.

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