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Small firms told "don't panic" over Bim

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Chief construction adviser Paul Morrell addresses concerns of smaller practices

Small practices have been told not to panic over the use of Bim technology by the government’s chief construction adviser Paul Morrell.

Morrell was speaking to Studio Klaschka director Robert Klaschka as part of a BD webinar today, where he addressed the concerns of smaller architecture practices.

“If you’re going to experiment then it needs sufficient scale,” said Morrell. “There’s no point in taking people on the [smaller] end of the market and forcing them to do something.”

“Don’t panic is the key message.”

Morrell also addressed the need for the RIBA work-stage plan to “radically” change to incorporate Bim methods of working.

“Bim is more to do with work process and culture than technology,” he said. “We need a plan of work that is a framework for developing a project plan of work.”

Morrell said it would be important to identify points at specific stages of the project where the client can expect packages of information, and that using Bim technology a lot of the detail design would be brought forward to earlier in the process.

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Readers' comments (11)

  • zecks_marquise

    The next generation of small practices to set up will all be BIM proficient anyway.

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  • While bringing detail design forward earlier in the process no doubt sounds good in principle, and will be of benefit on the whole, does Morrell understand what it means in practice?

    The usual productivity curve that BIM companies like Autodesk refer to, suggests implementing BIM is more expensive earlier on as more time is invested, but there is a saving later on as things are resolved sooner. What happens though, in the fractured marketplace we work in, if the project is shelved, or at some stage are taken over by another Architect (who might not even use BIM)? The investment curve presupposes none of this ever happens, yet my experience of working 16 years is this is more likely the case than not.

    The RIBA stages are there for a reason, pretending they are merely an administrative complication is as naive as suggestion there is a saving in going from sketch design to construction docs (as some clients do), without the need for design development somewhere in the middle.

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  • I don't think it is about bringing detail design forward earlier in the design process, but rather it is about exposing potential issues earlier in the process. Also the building model should be a development process in itself, not just a build it once and tinker process.

    The issue (I think) is that the CAD vendors would like you to believe that to be BIM it has to be Revit, or Archicad or whatever. In reality it is as relevant to the BIM process if you start on paper, progress to SketchUp, work up some thoughts in a CAD system, then progress to develop one or more models which can grow as the project develops.

    The key factor here is working in a 3D process and not 2D lines and curves. But that does not preclude the designer from extracting 2D details from the 3D model and breaking the link from it to work as they do already. Provided there is still a link from the 2D work back to the model (perhaps in a project management database system) this is still "BIM".

    The problem is there is a lot of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) about BIM workflows. There doesn't need to be. Look to other industries to see the benefits a 3D workflow brings.

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  • flow

    Spot-on Kev. I thought it was a good webinar, obviously a bit of a Bentley advert, but still some good points. Agree it's more about sharing an intelligent 3d approach, rather than a specific software package.

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  • zecks_marquise

    kev that is 3d modelling and not BIM although the down stream benefits include your suggestions. Try to think of BIM more as a database which not only displays in rows and columns but also as 3d.

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  • Sorry thought that was what I was saying :-)

    This just highlights the issue that BIM itself is a misunderstood terminology that some CAD vendors try to exploit. What is BIM to most people is a specific file format. This is just not the case. I think of it as an extension of a job file. Provided you can share the contents of that job file with the interested parties that defines the information model.

    It is a very dangerous thing to lock your business into one file format thinking that will be the magic bullet to everlasting BIM riches. I would urge architects to take a good look at other sectors who have a more established 3D based process. In automotive or aerospace the maintenance of the information is critical and this is what drives the core system sales. That old buzzword PLM product lifecycle management is essentially the same as BIM. That has not really hit AEC yet but it will.....once we all realise that no single system solves all the issues.

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  • Until programs like Revit are vastly improved, BIM is just a massive headache.

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  • Should the design & construction process be re-engineered because we live in a more coimplicated world or because someone is trying to sell a software solution to an "imagined" problem.

    There is a certain amount of "tail wagging dog" going on here.

    If workflows are inappropriate to modern construction then where is the analysis that suggests 3D modelling is the solution ?

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  • Architects and Consultants are now doing twice as much work up front and still the same amount of work on site, all courtesy of the push for BIM software. So are the government going to stick their nose in and recomend a new fee structure to increase the percentage to the architects and engineers and at the same time reduce the builders cut?

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  • Munter Roe

    Why do things have to be so complicated.

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