Opinion

The BIM Manager pt 3

 

From BIM Journal. Click Here to Read Issue 2

..from pt 2 here.

Complexity

BIM Managers must still be able to manage, coordinate and work with companies who have not yet adopted a BIM workflow or approach however.  Plus the flotsam and jetsam of the ever shifting tides of technological progress and increasing expectations to utilise the model for ever more demanding scenarios sees a much more evolved role than what came before[12]. Indeed the role has morphed somewhat and of late has been elevated to a focal point for all BIM related activities on a project. A beacon of sorts, that shepherds all far and wide. Indeed it can be summarised that as the acceptance and extent of BIM has grown in the industry, the managerial responsibilities of the role have expanded accordingly in tandem[12].

However, so important is the role that when it comes to organisational placement, some see the BIM Manager in a central role directly between the Client and the Project Management personnel. Such that a lifecycle BIM approach that gets all stakeholders from the top down involved is sufficiently being implemented. Leveraging an ability to measure project performance independently of either the client or the developer[12]. Other sources see the BIM Manager in a more integral position, but again it is dependent upon the particular project or client requirement or project need.

What is certain is the need to continuously keep abreast of both technological and training opportunities and not just the latest software advancements too. Knowing when to stop looking at software and “lock down” what will be used is also another skill, and experimenting with trial versions are a must. But site experience, contractual procedures, and stakeholder management are clearly major issues that are coming to the fore and the importance of finding candidates who are proactive and willing to learn soon becomes even more paramount. As does time and the realisation that all personnel need sufficient support to experience and understand the complexity of the role outright.

Embedding Culture

As industry has emerged and expanded so too has the role of the BIM Manager. Setting the company’s consistent “BIM Vision” and communicating this to all relevant personnel. Especially those who are client facing and/or in a recruitment position[15]. This also remains a necessary and vital task in addition to the duties examined above.

However, above all it has been observed that there is a sizeable difference between BIM Managers that are tasked with technology implementations and their counterparts, who are focused on creating a new epoch for their fellow-employees to adopt[15] overall. Indeed the reach of the BIM Manager is far and wide, felt by many, and the outcome of these changes and the influence that they have on other prominent roles will be examined next.

In closing then, it is important to say that on a project level some organisations choose not to have BIM roles at all, in an effort to contain the feeling that BIM is somehow external to or “in addition to” business as usual. Indeed holistic integration is ultimately the key and this is possible using many means - especially if the team feels that BIM is part of the process rather than a side burden that the good old “BIM Manager” will simply take care of[10] which comes from a digitally embedded culture outright, pure and simple.

The advantages and disadvantages of the use of “BIM” in one's job title at any level is another matter however, and one that will also look at in the following articles in earnest.

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One of the most important parts of the role is managing the team and ensuring that the correct resources are being used in the most productive way. Ensuring that a coherent, streamlined and above all happy department is nurtured throughout. [16]

ANDREW WILLOUGHBY, BIM MANAGER & COORDINATOR, LONG AND PARTNERS

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I think it’s prudent to note that a BIM Manager is a ‘swiss-army knife’ type of role as it really can mean anything to do with BIM. Currently, 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. The whole thing.

JOHN ADAMS, DIRECTOR, BIM STRATEGY LTD

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 In our experience a BIM Manager possesses control over the operations and strategy of a BIM project. In most cases, they will also oversee the team which can include BIM coordinators and BIM Engineers.

The word ‘manager’ is the key component to this position, overseeing a team, the overriding project requirements, devising a relevant strategy and ensuring this is carried out over a defined timeline.[23]

JAMES SKELTON & JOE COLEMAN, FMC GLOBAL TALENT

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For references see BIM Journal magazine.

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