Friday, 20 July 2012 what?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like my gadgets. I also love technology and I continue to be excited by the advances being made.

Like many others I am often blown away by some of the clever stuff we can do with software.

As well as my fascination with technology I have always been driven by finding better ways to do things. In relation to our own industry I have always thought the way we design, procure, build and operate buildings is wasteful. However the majority of people are not keen on change so anything new takes time to be embraced.

The challenge we have with the use of BIM is that not everyone is as excited by gadgets and technology as I am and therefore may not be willing to commit in the short term to see the long term benefit. In the current marketplace who can blame those investing in buildings.

We all do our very clever show to clients demonstrating what BIM can do and how we can do lots of clever stuff in 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9D. But all of the time they are thinking so what!

I support the "so what?" thinking. Why would someone buy into how clever a consultant or contractor can be. “Look at the clever things I can do"

From a clients perspective in the short term it has to be about" Show me the money"

As designers and contractors we have to be able to put our money where our mouth is. BIM processes have to improve the bottom line and the client must benefit financially.

At this point I sympathise with contractors because it is their risk. It is all well and good the clever consultant selling the virtues of this BIM stuff but is their cash on the line.

There isn't much robust research around about the financial benefits of BIM. The evidence at present is very circumstantial. One contractor has suggested that each clash costs on average £2500 on site.

Another contractor was willing to half the risk pot thought using BIM throughout stage E.

We therefore need to get the estimators to understand and believe in BIM. They need to talk to their construction teams and talk about risk.
When settling a tender we should be using BIM to explore risk and how it can be reduced. Ultimately this needs to reduce the bottom line figure. It may take some time to get to this point as we need to be able to prove the benefits over an extended period.

Maybe then the response to "so what?" can be 20% cheaper, guaranteed! "Now you’re talking, tell me more."

BIM...another trick up our sleeves.