Architects need to move fast to avoid being marginalised, warns David Miller

BIM has been billed as an opportunity for architects to reclaim some of our lost ground. However if the profession doesn’t engage fully and quickly it may represent the possibility of being further marginalised.

Project delivery specification PAS1192-2 introduces the new role of “information manager”. This role can be carried out by an existing member of the team or by a new consultant. It is easy to see why the architect is well placed for this role as we have traditionally been the design lead and principle integrator. However we are already finding others putting themselves forward for the role who are less qualified and we have even seen software vendors offering the service.

As we move towards more “perfect” information it is easy to see that this role has the potential to add real value for the client. I believe this is why the tier one contractors have been so quick to embrace the process. In addition, as we start to work with more prescriptive, quality-controlled information rather than the descriptive information that we have had in the past, the “information manager” could begin to absorb more of the traditional project and design management tasks. Do we really want to lose control of the specification? 

It is very fashionable in BIM circles to reiterate that it is the ‘I’ in BIM that is important. While this is true to a degree it could be seen as way of devaluing the importance of the integrated, co-ordinated 3D model, again potentially marginalising the design team.

We need to recognise the value information will have for our clients, and integrate it into our offer, before it’s too late.


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