Opinion

Using "BIM" in Your Job Title

 

From BIM Journal. Click Here to Read Issue 2

Now that we have explored the many roles, meanings, overlaps and state of play in the market (see BIM Journal Issue 2), it is time to make sense of where we are at present and if, indeed, the use of “BIM” in one’s title is a good idea after all.

There is clearly a disparity in expectation and implementation when it comes to major organisations and SMEs and how these roles and duties are disseminated, which is to be expected. Indeed in an ideal world the BIM roles discussed would be as everyday as those of “plumber” “baker” and “doctor” but until then it does remain something of a free for all. Industry has clearly taken these roles under it’s wing however and for good reason, it seems.

I say this as using “BIM” in one’s role at present is seen to act as a differentiator. Suggestive of a person that understands the process deep down, or at the very least their role within it. However we have all come across people who lack BIM knowledge who have appended these initials to their title to project an accolade that they have yet to achieve.

But this is a danger in any realm that only trust, experience, reputation and certification can overcome. It is also to be expected in earnest as BIM really is the buzz word of the moment and people do not want to be seen to be falling behind.

It is true that one day BIM will be business as usual, and the word “BIM” itself has created more harm than good in the eyes of some. Why we cannot just use the term “digital” instead has been put forward many times, but this would only yet again serve to be used as a differentiator in exactly the same way. Indeed a vague term that requires similar clarification.

Prominent people have already suggested that “BIM is dead” and the term “digital construction” should replace it[22]. But by that measure we should simply use “construction” and drop the “digital” surely? Indeed industry needs a buzz word and BIM seems to be doing the job very well and clearly for the foreseeable future. When “BIM Level 3” is fully embedded then I agree it may be a different kettle of fish, but we need to hang our hat onto something in the meantime and newcomers find such announcements and goalpost changing less than helpful I am told, but it is a journey that we are all on and change as ever is the only certainty. Keeping BIM as a future goal in any organisation is healthy.

Will BIM Technicians revert to being called CAD Technicians once more? Simply a slang term? Indeed the use of “CAD” in the title was not met with the same attention that “BIM” has endured in years gone by and industry really does seem to accept it as the new norm. Old school participants may well revert to old school terms, but tomorrow's graduates very likely will not.

Perhaps avoiding the use of “BIM” in a project capacity can help, as John Ford (Carillion) explains, with Jonathan Hewitt (theBIM.guru) also being conflicted here too. That said there are likely as many reasons to use BIM on a project level as there are not and it comes down to overall alignment and the prowess of the other project participants too. So a real mixed bag of opinion here but an important and vibrant one in which you should have your own say.

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After much internal research on BIM and ‘Level 2’ and with much trial and error, Carillion made the conscious and informed decision not to use BIM in any Project Job Roles.

We very much believed that all the responsibilities that were required for the successful management and delivery of information using models could be obtained through the use of current resource via training/upskilling of that resource.  

We found other organisations who were starting to use BIM Managers were running parallel processes to conventional ones like certain design/project & document management activities now being done by two or more people/organisations with their own specific agendas and knowledge of the tasks at hand.

However we were not oblivious to the fact that this approach we had chosen would not be easier to implement and would take considerable time.[10]

JOHN FORD, BUSINESS INFORMATION MANAGER (BIM R&D), CARILLION

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Well a “BIM Advisor” or “BIM Consultant” gives some confidence that you should know something about BIM. That said, I am not a fan of job titles with “BIM” in them.  

The industry set off to try and make a more efficient process for design, building and operating built assets.  To date all we have managed to do is create a completely new discipline, a new cog to the already clunky process to confuse things even more.  

For BIM to work properly it needs everybody (from the top to the bottom of the supply chain) to contribute and pull in the same direction.  By introducing “BIM” into job titles or even departments is just making the problem worse.  It is giving responsibility to an individual or group of individuals which then gives the rest of the people involved the excuse “The BIM guy deals with that”.[5]

JONATHAN HEWITT, DIRECTOR, theBIM.GURU

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There is currently controversy whether there should be a project BIM Manager or the title should be Task Information Manager. This is for level 2 projects which I agree with. However, as an internal title, BIM is essential as it distinguishes the difference from level 0 2d cad.[16]

ANDREW WILLOUGHBY, BIM MANAGER & COORDINATOR, LONG AND PARTNERS

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It is hoped that you found this issue of BIM Journal both detailed and enlightening. Do feel free to distribute this to other interested parties and as ever please do get in touch directly or leave a comment (or post your own opinion/blog at The BIM Hub), should you wish to carry on the debate further. In an emerging realm that affects all players making your voice heard is important.

Until then, I wish you well on your BIM journey, wherever you are.  

 

For references see BIM Journal magazine.

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