Ten ways to spot a BIM-er

BIM’s early adopters have something in common with the coders of London’s Silicon Roundabout. They are part of a new technology vanguard, forming an elite that is in demand both in the job market and on the seminar speaker circuit.

So what sets these BIMers apart from the crowd? Well, just as you can identity an architect by their carefully chosen threads, a property agent by their expensive and exceedingly shiny shoes, and an eco-consultant by their fold-up bicycle, the BIMer has their defining characteristics. Here’s the lowdown on what to look out for if you’re trying to track one down.

The tech

If your neighbour at the next construction conference appears to be writing a report in Evernote on the device in their left hand, while scanning a BIM object catalogue with the device in their right, then it is highly likely that you’re in the presence of a BIMer. The early adopters of BIM are construction’s true tech-heads, capable of accessing datasets on any device faster than the outlaw Billy the Kid could fire a Colt.

The talk

Twitter is the perfect communication medium for those who want to share a wry comment on working life, and in-jokes abound among BIM’s Twitterati. The broad church of BIM-related users ranges from David Philp (@ThePhilpster), Mark Stodgell (@stodgeblog) and Rebecca De Cicco (@becdecicco), to the distinctly uncuddly @BimKitten.

Above all, BIMers use Twitter to pursue their campaign for global BIM domination, which relies on the unsubtle tactic of prefacing any word with BIM as a hashtag, as in #bimtrain and #bimwife or #bimhusband.

The clothes

This IT crowd eschews the ultra-sharp suit – that is the preserve of the software company rep. Nor will you find them turning up at your office in jeans, t-shirt and trainers like the team members of a tech start up. The grey suit, comfortable in styling and perhaps bearing a Marks & Spencer label, is the BIMer’s sensible workplace uniform.

This should not be interpreted as a lack of sartorial imagination on the part of the BIMers, it’s simply the kind of common sense approach you’d expect from people who are used to interpreting an architectural flight of fancy as a good, reliable data-packed model.

And besides, grey looks good against any conference backdrop and BIM experts have much more important things to wrestle with than what to wear, like cyber security and #bimbeers.

The bag

You won’t see a BIMer carrying a slick tan leather briefcase or a brightly coloured satchel. Like Googlers and other staff in IT-focused businesses, the BIMer wears a backpack to help carry around their devices and accompanying paraphernalia. Sometimes, however, the BIMer will ring the changes by sporting a giveaway conference bag, bearing the logo of the conference and its software company sponsor.

The leisure pursuit

Everyone needs to loosen up, especially after a hard day hunched over a computer. The very best way to do that is to get into those Lycra shorts and head for the great outdoors. Walking, jogging, running and cycling are the leisure pursuits of choice for the BIMer.

You probably won’t find them on the golden beaches of the West Indies; the Peak District is more their natural habitat. In fact, High Peak in Derbyshire is the permanent home of BIM practitioner Poulter Architects, which has shared its experiences in NBS’s National BIM Report 2014 and RIBA’s BIM in Small Practices.

The hair

There’s no time in the busy world of BIM for high-maintenance hair. Wash-and-go is the order of the day in the rush to prepare for a hard day at the coalface of digital construction. Male BIMers keep their hair short, neat and well under control, while their female counterparts generally opt to keep longer locks tidily tied back. 

The facial hair

Facial hair may be worn, but large professorial beards are a definite no-no. The #bimbeard is much smaller and neater and is often grown during that walking/cycling/trekking holiday. As a result, it may only be sighted temporarily.

The flow chart

Where there’s a BIM-er, there will probably also be a chart containing a maze of coloured boxes or lozenges with interconnecting arrows. Flow charts are an essential element of any BIM-related Powerpoint presentation, whether used to explain the overall implementation process or interoperability between specific software.

To the BIMer the flow chart is a thing of great beauty. Watch them smile contentedly as they unveil and gaze upon their perfect works of art.

The vocabulary

BIMers speak a language that the rest of us are only just beginning to understand. Their fluency is evident in their easy use of acronyms, with true initiates knowing not only what those acronyms mean, but how to use the right combination of capital and lower case letters when writing the likes of dPoW and, of course, COBie.

The attitude

You have to have bags of confidence and positivity to be a pioneer and BIMers exude both. If you say hello to someone and find that they’re evangelising about BIM and its benefits within seconds of the start of the conversation then, irrespective of the nine other tell-tale signs here, you can be sure that the person you are talking to is a BIMer.

The BIM Blogger was speaking to Josephine Smit

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  1. I must take grave issue with this article. You suggest the male BIMmer’s hair is “short and neat” when it is a well know fact that the true BIMmer is bald and proud!

  2. Hear hear Tom! #BIMbaldandproud!



  3. Good to have a little humour in BIM+. BIMers are altogether too serious. Posted from darkest China where BIM is rising up the agenda fast!

  4. Also like to point out that the BIMbeard fact is also controversial. As a BIMer with a facial foliage, i would like it to be noted that the length and bushyness of beard can be directly linked to the ability to understand and produce a COBie

  5. Yes, with Tom on that – Wash what and go?! And I’m cultivating my own “COBieard”.

    Any fluent #BIMtalk will also be peppered with acronyms and abbreviations – you will need to know your #EIRs from your elbow.

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