WSP: 10 truths about BIM

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December 28, 2014  Posted on http://www.wspgroup.com/

BIM has the potential to become the information backbone of a whole new industry.

The aim to make BIM integral to all of our project processes within the next five years is an important aspect of our WSP Group Strategy for 2011-2015, and to help facilitate this ambition we commissioned this report from Kairos Future.

We wanted to gain a clearer understanding of how BIM is perceived around the world. When you’re at the forefront of such far-reaching change, it’s sometimes a good idea to take a step back to get the complete picture - to understand how others interpret BIM, how it’s being adopted, where our clients see it going and what’s holding it back. Above all, we wanted to understand how we can help drive its development and acceptance across the industry.

The aim of Kairos Future’s research was to understand how BIM is perceived and discussed across the globe, in different parts of the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) industry and among academics. Their approach was to combine interviews and desk research with a statistical analysis of online media and involved in-depth reading of 600,000 articles from around the world. 

Ten major themes, or “Truths” were identified, some relating to how BIM is perceived today; others dealing with how BIM will affect the transition of the AEC industry, and the barriers to change; and, finally, some of the topics are more visionary and consider the long-term consequences, where BIM has the potential to become the information backbone of a whole new industry.

The 10 Truths about BIM (Building Information Modeling) 

1. BIM takes design to the next level.

Technological developments open up new avenues for design, and BIM is no exception. The 3D function enables complex shapes and the software’s ability to handle sophisticated calculations will allow structural engineers to push the boundaries with ever more daring designs. 

2. The ‘I’ is more important than the ‘B’.

Pretty pictures might impress, but it is as an information management tool that BIM software really shines. One reason for the slow take-up of BIM in the civil engineering sector is that the BIM community has so far focused on ‘building’ to the detriment of ‘information’. 

3. The colour of BIM is green.

Using it properly will cut project time and thereby energy use, as well as cost. BIM will reduce the waste of materials during construction and building management and eventually assist in sustainable demolition. Energy modelling can also minimize energy use over a building’s life. 

4. BIM will destabilise the construction industry.

Unlike CAD, which computerized a single activity while leaving macro processes largely intact, BIM will change everything. There’s no point attempting to implement BIM software throughout the industry with the expectation that things won’t change. They will. 

5. Governments must take the lead.

The benefits of working the BIM way only come with close collaboration. If one member of a project team is using BIM while the others continue doing things the old way, there will be limited benefit. To make the investment worthwhile, someone has to break the stalemate. That someone is often the government.  

6. Companies must work together as one.

Firms and disciplines working separately, interacting only through the exchange of construction documents just won’t do any more. BIM both enables and requires tighter integration.   

7. Both the software and the professionals must work together.

But simply working together isn’t enough – habits and routines have to be aligned in order to make cooperation natural. The software will need to be developed to allow seamless integration, and so will the attitudes of professionals. 

8. New contracts will emerge.

Both digitalisation and close collaboration challenge the prevailing system of intellectual ownership. There are two possible development routes. One is increased specialisation where ownership resides with modelling specialists. The other is consolidation into giant firms, as companies work increasingly closely, solving ownership issues.

9. The software platform is at a crossroads.

The fight for supremacy in the software world rages on. Depending on the outcome of current power struggles, the digital environment in the new construction industry will conform to one of three types: open standard, closed and proprietary standard, or no/several standards. 

10. BIM will become the DNA of future construction.

When the system is sufficiently streamlined we can start to focus on using it. Once the basic information infrastructure is in place and we’ve learned to work with it, numerous technologies, in use or in the pipeline, can be brought in.


Source: www.wspgroup.com/en/wsp-group-bim/10-truth-bim
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