The BIM adoption challenge: you’re not alone

You're not facing the BIM adoption challenge alone
Image: 180644218 © Elnur | Dreamstime.com
The individual challenges in BIM adoption are myriad: many were highlighted in the recent Construction Management and BIMplus annual survey. Here, John Evans, head of IT, BIM & QA at Lawray Architects, reflects on the survey findings, shares his experiences of moving from PAS 1192 to ISO 19650 and details his concerns about the technology the industry uses.

It was nice to see I’m on the same wavelength as others who completed the Construction Management/BIMplus annual survey: it gives me some confidence that the company I work for is not alone.

Here are some further points arising from the survey, starting with the journey from 1192 to 19650:

1. ISO 19650 is more process-driven than PAS 1192 that is true. It does push a lot of responsibility for BIM on to the employer client (or the appointing party under 19650), which is as it should be really. They are paying for the asset, so they need to get on board as BIM will save them money: that’s the bottom line. It’s no good leaving everything to the contractors: they are only doing BIM to increase their profits, like all of us.

19650 is right to put the onus on the appointing party. They can’t just pay lip service to BIM. They need to make it work for them so they can improve their business operations and get better ROIs.

“19650 is right to put the onus on the appointing party. They can’t just pay lip service to BIM.”

John Evans

The bigger employer organisations also need to close the gaps between their procurement (capex) and operations (opex) divisions, which often do not talk to each other and vie for scarce corporate budgets. We’ve noticed this situation in several clients.

Do your research

2. 19650 is simpler than 1192, especially for the appointed parties. I recommend anyone to access the UK BIM Framework website resources for a free set of comprehensive guidance documentation on 19650.

When read in conjunction with the 19650 standards, everything fits into place and it’s quite easy to establish where your organisation fits in the overall process. It’s a big read though, so be prepared to do some work during your research: it will be worth it.

3. PD19650-0:2019 Transition guidance to BS EN ISO 19650 is a great help for those moving from 1192 to 19650. It highlights the differences between the two and the changes necessary in the uplift to an ISO standard.

What’s missing

4. What’s currently missing from 19650 is Part 4 – COBie and Part 6 Health & Safety. So you must still refer to the 1192 versions for these topics for now.

Mind you, our company has yet to have a single appointing party mandate a COBie deliverable! This says a lot about employers’ opex requirements from capex.

When discussing such things with appointing parties, they tend to shy away from the long-term data maintenance overhead costs in FM, asset and estates management, which is a bit short-sighted, but understandable considering the limited budgets they have available.

BIM Execution Plan

5. I have just completed a major update of our BIM Execution Plan (BEP) template that now fully incorporates 19650 as well as 1192.

I’ve designed so it is easy to remove sections depending on whether we are on an 1192 project or a 19650 project.

From the point of view of a BEP, there is not much difference between 1192 and 19650. But where 19650 trumps 1192 is that there are fewer background BIM documents needed, especially if you are an appointed party and have been creating these documents for years (if you have been doing your job properly).

“Acronyms: yes, there are too many, but our world is all about acronyms, so just live with it. It’s no big deal – LOL!”

John Evans

6. As I updated our BEP template, I realised the BEP and associated back-end documents are in fact a form of specification.

I’m currently looking at the NBS Chorus specification software, which we use for our building design specifications, as a tool on which to build our BEP template. Thus, I can integrate the BEP clauses into the Uniclass 2015 classification coding.

My initial tests look promising, but while Chorus allows tables as well as text, it does not allow images yet. NBS is working on this, I believe.

Using Chorus will make managing our BEP much easier for our project teams as they are already well-versed with Chorus and specification writing. It is much easier to add or hide/delete clauses than fussing around with MS Word.


7. Acronyms: yes, there are too many, but our texting world is all about acronyms, so just live with it. It’s no big deal – LOL!

Technology bugbears

8. My main beef, though, is dispersed data on cloud solutions – I wrote a piece for BIMplus about it. Dispersed data is a big problem from a data management viewpoint and needs to be sorted.

9. Workflows. Now here is a big problem. The BIM cloud and extranet solutions we have used are simply not developed enough to cater for the workflows we work under in the construction industry.

Everyone talks about collaboration and communication, which is fine, but the technical solutions do not enable the approvals workflow in the industry. This needs a major overhaul.

For example, we use Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro, which is great, especially when we have staff remote-working on Revit projects – it is vastly superior to using VPN connections to our on-premises server estate.

But the Workflows section (called Reviews) in BIM 360 Docs (the underlying document management solution to BIM Collaborate Pro and Autodesk Construction Cloud) is not fit for purpose.

We want to set up approval workflows in BIM 360 Docs, but the workflows therein do not work for the real-world approvals process. It’s this kind of thing that prevents companies like ours leveraging technology. If the technology is not fit for purpose, we cannot advance BIM or anything else.

Evidence needed

10. Finally, only through real-world examples (and detailed fiscal case studies explicitly showing the benefits of BIM to the appointing party) can we hope to convince employers to invest the time and resource into BIM.

There isn’t any reliable evidence that BIM really is the breakthrough the academics tell us it is. So, we need lots of real-world fiscal case studies across different sectors.

The Scottish Futures Trust website is one of the best sites on BIM. It includes several case studies and it has an ROI calculator, which looks useful.

It also has links to the UK BIM Framework site for the 19650 guidance documents: although still only available in PDF format, they are now formatted for viewing online.

Don’t miss out on BIM and digital construction news: sign up to receive the BIMplus newsletter.

Story for BIM+? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in Opinion