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Thursday31 July 2014

Adopt bim or be 'Betamaxed out' says Morrell

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Architects who fail to adopt bim risk being “Betamaxed out”, the government’s chief construction adviser Paul Morrell has warned.

Speaking at a recent bim round table event hosted by National Building Specification (NBS) at the RIBA, Morrell said that bim would be at the heart of the government’s five year plan for procurement due to be published this June.

Morrell first began to suggest that bim would become part of the public procurement process ahead of the publication of the Low Carbon Construction Report which recommended its use for major public projects worth more than £50 million.

However at the roundtable, Morrell said that the £50 million benchmark would “defeat the point” of pushing for bim adoption.

“To restrict it to big projects means it is only about major players and that rather defeats the point,” he said. “We’re looking at whether there’s a lower limit.. and I think that’s south of £5 million. It’s a lot, lot less than £50 million.”

Dismissing the idea of a bim race between architects and contractors, Morrell said: “If you think this is a race between institutions then you’re in the wrong sport.

“There is a huge gulf I think between those who get it and those who don’t. Probably the biggest misunderstanding is that some people think it is about software. They can buy a celophane wrapped thing and that’s bim. It’s more about cultural change than it is about software and I think that’s not understood.”

Morrell said that the government’s five year plan would take a gently-gently approach to introducing new requirements to ease businesses into the new model, starting with making the use of Excel mandatory. And he said he expected larger practices and businesses that we already au fait with bim to help support smaller businesses.

“If you say right you’re going to be working in 3d, fully collaborative bim for big bits of the supply chain that would be a political issue. Small businesses in small towns will go to thier local MP and say I can’t work for the government anymore because I haven’t got this bit of kit.

“We’ll work up slowly from nothing right the way through to fully collabroative. the expectation will be that the big players will support the smaller players in the supply chain. That’s what’s been happening in America.”

Robert Klaschka, director of Studio Klaschka, who also attended the round table, said that recent comments from Ruth Reed on bim being an opportunity for architects to take back control over the construction process had missed the point as bim should be about co-operation.

“If we continue to think like that a lot of architects are going to suffer,” he said.

 

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Readers' comments (27)

  • zecks_marquise

    Why stop there? BIM people, BIM food, BIM nappies

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  • I have a family. Does that make me bim?

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  • Wasn't betamax technically better than VHS, it just lost out because VHS was adopted by the porn industry?

    Thus, does the profession now have to use inferior singular means on all jobs just because those with an interest in profiteering say so?

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  • “If you say right you’re going to be working in 3d, fully collaborative bim for big bits of the supply chain that would be a political issue. Small businesses in small towns will go to their local MP and say I can’t work for the government anymore because I haven’t got this bit of kit.

    Smaller practices have consistently been sidelined on public sector projects in favour of larger practices. Isn't that a political issue that needs addressing too?

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  • I would agree that there is a divide between those who 'get' BIM and those that don't. But, more-over I would say there is a sense of un-ease within some areas of the industry with regard to moving towards more intelligent and productive methods of information production itself.

    In my experience the lack of software knowlegde we have as a profession is quite startling, some places still see CAD as nothing more than a computerised drawing board.

    Clearly there is no one stop shop for every project, but as a profession and as an industry we should be working towards efficieny in information production and co-orindation.

    And as for small companies being sidelined... thats where this type of technology can help and give smaller practices the edge.

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  • Simon  Quinlank

    What does Bim stand for?

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  • Paul Morrell is a chartered quantity surveyor, and was formerly senior partner of Davis Langdon, where he worked since graduating in 1971 until retiring in 2007. He now practises as an independent consultant on matters relating to construction economics and procurement; and is a regular conference speaker on the same subjects. Yawn........

    One of the reasons why buildings in the uk are so expensive & quality is non-existent - is because Quantity surveyors have no clue when it comes to procurement, technical knowledge of construction, and fundamentally cost, too busy sucking up to clients who have no knowledge of commissioning a building - easy prey in fact.
    To have a retired old school 'QS' advising us all on BIM is laughable in the extreme. Another layer of wasted money on unnecessary infrastructure - perfect to promote to incompetent contractors, who cannot even build 2D details in the UK. Even better nonsense to sell to councils and local government - good luck Paul. And by the way if you do invest in a laptop why don't you demonstrate BIM at your next procurement workshop.
    Leave matters to the professionals Paul - your generation left behind a trail of wasted opportunities, we can throw you a lifebuoy with BIM printed on it if you think that is the answer.
    "Morrell said that the government’s five year plan would take a gently-gently approach to introducing new requirements to ease businesses into the new model, starting with making the use of Excel mandatory"
    What a laugh - introducing Excel as a gentle approach.....
    Unbelievable............! I can hardly keep up with all this technology! Submitted via computer (BIM compatible).

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  • Putting aside the politics, name calling etc. can anyone say why improving the way we work and coordinate information is a bad thing.

    Call it Building Information Modelling or call it jam, the principle is surely a good one?!

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  • Another Government created industry likely to lead to a monopoly! maybe Morrel should turn his head to some sounder economic advice say "Hayek".

    If I can build a 5 million pound building without Bim why should I not be able to continue to do so. If I am uncompetitive the market will sort this out and it does not require a government dictat!

    Economic centralisation has left this country in ruins.

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  • Matthew, my arguement is that shouldn't each project be decided on a case by case basis, rather than one model fits all?

    Rather than insist on using BIM all the time, whats wrong with allowing the project team to decide on the best way forward in each instance? Believe it or not BIM does have its downsides.

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