Wednesday 6 June 2018

Is BIM De-skilling our Workforce?

I've been a part of a number of discussions recently on the "abilities" of our team, the basic skillsets of putting together a drawing package. We (I too am guilty of this) have been so focused on developing BIM skills, the understanding and knowledge development associated with BIM that we have missed the bigger picture.  

Deskilling; the term refers to a person becoming less proficient over time.

As I've addressed previously, BIM is just a tool, a process utilizing applications that enables our design abilities to shine. “Tools enable us to amplify our abilities”

Has BIM contributed to the reduction in the knowledge and understanding of how to bring together a drawing package?

Has the focus and development of the digital model (Building Information Model) been a detriment to the need of understanding how we deliver projects?

This is what I have seen lately and has been a key discussion point with my colleagues. My colleagues and I have found a decrease in the ability of our newly graduated staff members to bring together a drawing package, or even the ability to “cartoon” the development of projects drawing package required during the early stages of a project.

Their BIM skills are great, their ability to develop a model is sufficient to accomplish the project tasks required, as is their understanding of the benefits and advantages of utilizing the BIM. However, I’m receiving complaints from the project managers on incomplete drawings, lack of content and having to instruct staff on the basics of compiling a drawing package… and I agree, the models are developed, all the information is there but the sheets are not complete. There is not enough emphasis placed on the need to document the model.

Until we get to the point in our industry where the delivery of the model is preferred over the traditionally required set of “drawings”, the knowledge of how to compile a set of drawings will be crucial in the accuracy and ability for our drawings to portray the information required to construct the project through the delivery of a construction set of drawings (documents). 

So who’s responsible? Is the BIM community responsible for this diminished skill set in favor over another, or is this a result of the demand on the education community to provide graduates with a comprehensive set of BIM skills?

In reality, it is the Industry. What I mean by that is that (as I’ve mentioned numerous times) we are trying to incorporate new technology and related processes which change the traditional process. Ultimately, we are all responsible and we all have a role to play in balancing the skillsets of our upcoming leaders in the industry. Their design skills are fantastic, their comfort of using digital tools is amazing and I’m sure in the near future digital delivery will become the norm until then we still need to provide the contractor with the information he needs to build a building. We are cheating ourselves, the contractor and ultimately the client by not documenting adequately the information we have at our fingertip within the BIM.

We need to bridge the transition from traditional to digital.


  1. We have been struggling for years to find graduates that have a good grasp on how a typical house is constructed and how the modern builder prefers to document it. Colleges are more focused on the tools these days, so we have to invest more in our upfront training of new hires as a result. Because of this, the degree doesn't have as much weight as it used to.

  2. Not to mentioned "seasoned" staff who do know how to compile a complete, quality set of construction documents are getting overooked in the job market for lack of BIM experience in favor of BIM drafters. Potential employers are currently putting a higher value on candidates who have BIM skills.

  3. Rarely this type of blogs are found with a great information. After a long period of time i saw this kind of blog and i would love to suggest people to read your blog and share the information with people they know.
    Scan to BIM | Structural Detailing | BIM in Facility Management

  4. I see a great benefit in teaching practises which move from hand-drawn to 2D CAD to then utilise 3D and bim tool. Heading straight for BIM without the knowledge gained in the prior mediums misses part of the learning process gained through the more arduous drawing creation mediums. Yes its possible to go straight the BIM but I see advantages in my own learning journey.

  5. There is a change and we should adapt to it. Industry always changes old needs to update and new needs to learn.
    I do belive that project leaders are the ones that can make the difference here. The software that we use for BIM allow us to go further than ever but as a leader you need to lead and set an example for those under your command. This could be as simple as having an example so the teams under your care know exactly from the begining what is to be delivered.
    As a drafter that used to be a lead in my homeland I find this lack of goals or workflow knowledge to be the main problem for deliveries. The F22 pack way more hours of training and maintenance than a F15. And you will need people who focus way more in the software than before.