Exorcising digital construction demons on Halloween

Halloween in construction: abstract image of a digital demon
Image: Tomert |

Don’t want to see something scary? Look away now as BIMplus rushes headlong into Halloween: digital construction demons must be exorcised!

Thanks to Captain Howdy and our Ouija board, we contacted some restless spirits this Halloween who shared their BIM nightmares and tales of digital construction demons.

David Shepherd, product manager (data & construction enablers) at the Houses of Parliament Restoration & Renewal, revealed the Creepshow-esque monsters he’s had the misfortune to encounter (and the good luck to survive in order to tell the tale): “The Vexatious View Control Villains – they randomly use any and every view control function to hide stuff that they don’t want in their assigned drawings, not realising that their changes are screwing up everyone else’s drawings… a day before the design submission deadline!

“The Ominous Over-Detailers – they even model each key on computer keyboards and then wonder why the model takes three hours to open!

“The CAD Criminals – their favourite time saver is to import swathes of CAD details…and again wonder why the model takes three days to open!

“The Demonic Design Leader – typically asks for the (almost) impossible at the last minute: ‘By tomorrow, for those 400 drawings, we need drawing titles in not just English, but also Korean!’”

John Ryan, co-founder and director of SymTerra, has a background in civil engineering and therefore reason, but there’s a construction nightmare that grips him on Halloween: the reinvention of the BIM wheel [sounds like an Edgar Allan Poe title – ed]. He said: “Instead of adopting best practice and other projects/teams successfully implemented BIM strategy/documents/standards etc, they develop their own in-house bespoke set-up that takes longer than the project to finish.”

Smart building horror

For those looking for some construction-themed entertainment on Halloween, BIMplus recommends the Ghost in the Machine episode of The X-Files, in which an AI building management system turns on its masters. You’ll never step in a lift again. It’s the seventh episode of season one.

If you like your horror in the vein of HP Lovecraft, then Sara Saab’s short story, Burrowing Machines, may give you a shiver or two. It focuses on a civil engineer recounting how the London Underground’s Northern Line extension wakes something from its eternal slumber…

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