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Is BIM merely papering over deep-seated cracks?

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We need fundamental change right across the industry if the full impact of BIM is to be felt, says Emma Hooper, BIM technologist at Metz Architects.

The construction industry is often talked about as being fragmented, unproductive and adversarial.

This is nothing new, in fact, it’s been described in this manner for decades, yet we still seem to be no further forward with regards to changing it.

The Latham and Egan reports put forward recommendations that we enact lean thinking and alliance partnering back in the 1990s, to combat the negative issues the industry faced.

It is now up to all of us involved in construction to start acting rather than leaving it for future generations to actually change the industry.

Over the past five years BIM has been the great catalyst that has started to get us to change our ways. However, in all the enthusiasm and turmoil of it all, have we forgotten the basic principles of what we were trying to achieve in the first place?

BIM is certainly helping to make us more productive, especially in light of all the increased project demands, but it can only go so far. Without fundamentally changing the way projects are structured, how they operate and the way people in them behave, BIM is merely papering over deep-seated cracks.

The procurement models we use are out of date for the new digital age. BIM promotes collaborative and efficient working, yet the way we procure our projects promotes siloed working with individual agendas riddled with inefficiency and a culture of blame.

Integrated project insurance (IPI) was one of the new methods of procurement put forward in the 2011 Construction Strategy. Described as an industry disruptor it will change the way we all work from client to subcontractor. One project bank account, one insurance, one team, removing the issues associated with liability and blame which suffocates the industry.

The fact is BIM cannot change the industry alone. IPI complements BIM methodology, and is an example of what is needed to change the industry – Dudley College Advance2, the world’s first IPI project, demonstrates how this can work.

Emma Hooper will be expanding on these themes during her presentation at BIM Show Live 2017, which takes place on 1 and 2 February in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Main image: Dmitri Zakovorotny/Dreamstime.com

BIM has been the great catalyst that has started to get us to change our ways. However, in all the enthusiasm and turmoil of it all, have we forgotten the basic principles of what we were trying to achieve in the first place?– Emma Hooper, Metz Architects