The first was the BIM Health Check run by the Calgary BIM Community. The second was organised by a friend of mine from Athabasca University on Virtual Design Studio. Both meetings were very informative and were well attended by prominent members of the local AEC industries.
What I realized after participating in the discussions during the meetings and the conversations that transpired afterwards was that I believe we are in a cross roads in the AEC industry. All be it a rather large cross road, the days of kicking off BIM are behind us, most of us have now adopted BIM and it is now an integral part of our workflow. We now "collaborate" with each other by sharing models for the purpose of coordination. Some of us are collaborating with the construction companies for QTO and 4D and 5D scheduling and cost analysis, however few of us are utilizing the model beyond construction.
Two answers came to mind when I asked why...
1: The client. Typically the building owner or operator do not understand the value and implications of utilizing the Building Information Model.
2: Demand. Currently in Canada we do not have a mandate by the authorities to demand projects be completed utilizing BIM.
I'll address point #1 first.
Throughout my BIM career I have had the opportunity to speak to many people, train and instruct Architects, Engineers, tech's, contractors, sub trades etc.... but very few opportunities to actually speak to the people who gain the most from BIM... the Client! Be it the building owner or operator... not sure if it's because it's hard to get these people together in one room or if they are a shy, rare species?
There is no demand for north America to embrace BIM, really... compared to Europe where space and resources are limited they have a vested interest to build and design spaces that are efficient and innovative. Here in North America we have lots of space and resources. In comparison to Europe we have recently adopted a sustainability initiative.
There is no mandate by the authorities demanding us to utilize BIM.
Right now what I'm seeing is a push by the large construction companies demanding full collaboration as they can utilize the BIM for clash detection, construction sequencing and cost analysis. This is great, however we need to take it a step further and use the BIM for building maintenance and facilities management and even one step beyond that for building demolition and recycling (cradle to cradle design).
Currently the construction industry is based upon a outdated model that has not progressed with the technology available to us, this includes the contract types, bid process and even submission to authorities. We need to change that, for the better of our projects and ultimately for the better of the industry.
On my way to the airport on Thursday I had dinner with a friend of mine Justin James of Reach Consulting, we (actually mainly him) talked about making a difference to the industry.
I agree, we can make a difference and the changes don't have to be huge. We can initiate change in small increments, which as a whole can initiate larger change.
So if you have the opportunity to talk to your client, contractor, sub trades and authorities about utilizing BIM you too can initiate change.