BIM — as a technology that relies on people
For an organisation to adopt Building Information Modelling successfully, positive co-operation from the people who use it is essential — argues David Davis of G&H Group.
It seems counterintuitive but to really maximise the benefits of BIM, people are the central component in its implementation and delivery, especially on-site. The sophistication of BIM, especially at advanced maturity levels, is only as good as the people operating the software and running the projects.
BIM naturally challenges traditional roles and the approach taken to carry out work. Therefore, it is vital that training is provided so staff skills are realigned and reflect BIM processes.
It is important to remember that experienced engineers have operated in a certain way for many years, many for long and established careers. As such, there is a need to communicate with them and involve them throughout the process — especially in the development of the model information.
This task has got to be managed tactfully. It is not a case of telling them that the way they have operated for so long is wrong. Instead, it is about explaining and demonstrating the added value BIM brings.
Done correctly, there are huge benefits all round.
Getting input, trust and buy-in from engineers into the merits of BIM means work on site is easier to manage and deliver.
When we started using BIM, we had to carefully monitor engineers to make sure the plans were being followed meticulously.
If an engineer calls on his experience and intuition to try and deliver what he felt was a better solution instead of using BIM, the implications are enormous as it throws the rest of the plans out of sync — to potentially catastrophic effect.
Managing the introduction of BIM on site, then, is a key part of the process of implementing it into building-services operations.
It leads us to the question of how to make best use of staff and integrate them into a new way of working.
What is most important: training CAD designers to engineer or engineers to use software?
At G&H, we have taken the approach of covering both aspects with our BIM manager, who is skilled in CAD and as an engineer.
We are also integrating training for all staff involved — planning, design and installation — to make sure they are all involved in the process, can see the bigger picture, follow guidelines and understand the benefits to be gained by working smarter.
David Davis is pre-construction director at G&H Group.