BIM - Views from the ground up


Barriers to BIM uptake have received a lot of attention recently with several high level discussions taking place in recent months. Back in April, Sean Daly took part in a series of events discussing the barriers to BIM implementation in the construction sector. We often wonder if what is discussed at industry level is a true reflection of what engineers at the coalface experience. We asked the engineers in our office their views on working with BIM.

Common goals and understanding

If the model is not set up correctly from the word go, it is difficult to extract information and manipulate the model efficiently” Cristian, Engineer

A lot of frustration arises when some consultants are not brought on board from an early enough stage. They are then constantly on the back foot playing catch up rather than pro-actively working on the model” Adrian, Associate

“If a project’s co-ordinate system is not set up and adopted by the whole design team from early on in a project, it creates immense problems in the BIM model later on. This aspect is often overlooked.” Iryna, Engineer

The value benefit to projects

In the industry, the greatest driver for using BIM is still the client wanting it.  In my experience, we are still some way off wide spread uptake by clients and other design consultants and main contractors that will mean BIM project processes become the default for the majority of projects we are involved with, where all, rather than some, members of the team are using it. Only when all members of the team engage in BIM can the full project benefits be realised.” Paul, Associate

I have found that on smaller projects, BIM uptake is low due to costs. There is also a perception that the level of complication it introduces to a project is not worth the output, especially on small projects” Will, Engineer

BIM is very much a scalability thing. With scale comes efficiency which then underpins the business case for using it.” Richard, CAD technician

To me, the exciting future will be where the majority of projects are kicked off in a 3D BIM environment - from conception - using block diagrams and 3D stick models, with all data, mark ups, sketches and design developments being done in 3D through enhancement of the data in the original model - to completion, with construction sequencing and material take off being done along the way. As yet the software tools are a little way off being able to facilitate, particularly SME's, doing this efficiently and cost effectively but they are coming” Paul, Associate

Interactivity between different packages

The fact that there are several different BIM packages used in the industry with different levels of interactivity, means that there is a steep learning curve at the start of a new projects as consultants have to get their software to align to ensure no data is lost in translation.” Iryna, Engineer

Non-compatibility between different software sometimes causes loss of data which add a level of complexity to projects run in a BIM environment.” Iryna, Engineer

It is easy to update a BIM model when changes happen if all parties are working with the same program. Difficulties come when different programs are used, this can be very time consuming as the model requires exporting from one program and importing into another, this also gives more opportunities for errors to occur.” Diane, CAD technician

Training to understand optimum usage

In my view the perception is that BIM is just 3D drawing. It shouldn’t be, but it is. It’s about integration and collaboration.” Richard, Senior CAD technician

One must know when to stop modelling with BIM, there is an optimum point after which efficiency starts dropping due to data issues” Richard, Senior CAD technician

Another function of the BimPLUS viewer I think is very useful is allowing viewers to flag up issues, which are then sent to the person the query is addressed to. More importantly is the digital trail of outstanding issues it generates, thereby ensuring that critical issues are addressed timeously and are not overlooked” Adrian Associate