Guest Post: BIM. Rubbish In, Rubbish Out!

We’ve covered BIM in a couple of blog posts over the last few months, no doubt it is still and will be a big talking point for a long time to come. As a digital marketing agency we are still learning about the subject ourselves. So, for this particular post we asked the legendary social networker who many of your will know through Twitter, Derek Mynott, Director of Driver Project Services to give his thoughts on BIM particularly from a Quantity Surveyor point of view.

Derek, it’s over to you.

BIM…..rubbish in…..rubbish out!

derek-mynottOkay admit it who had heard of BIM before 2011? Not many people I’m sure. Yet it’s been around for ages as a concept if you look back. I’m not going to give you a history lesson or indeed give you a definition. You can find all that out on line elsewhere look here for example:
http://www.thenbs.com/topics/bim/index.asp

This is my take on things so far, and I admit it I’m looking at it from the QS point of view too.

I see it as an exciting challenge for us all involved within the construction industry to really shake things up again. Like all things in life its small incremental changes that are happening.

So what have I learned to date?

Well there are lots of businesses in the design teams that have embraced this and are really moving forward making good use of the software. Look at @studioklaschka and what they are doing as an example. http://blog.studioklaschka.com/?cat=32

The government is pushing us all towards this: http://www.thenbs.com/corporate/press/11-05-13.asp

Contractors are working hard in the background to embrace the technology. I’ve seen it in action within a few of the largest contractors in the country, spoken to many more and surprisingly found some still not even bothered about it. Or are they scared to admit they don’t know anything about it?

Don’t be surprised in the coming months to see some interesting announcements from contractors about how far they have gone with things.

So what’s the issue with the QS then?

Well for one it will finally eliminate the need to prepare bills of quantities/schedules or whatever variant of quantification you chose.  Loads of caveats to that! I won’t go into that now, save that for later. And it won’t happen immediately. But you’ll not need a QS to do that will you?

Secondly the role of cost planning/budget advice/feasibility studies. Why go to the professional QS? The contractors will hold all the rich data in their models. With some tweaks and clicks of a mouse you can have that in hours from them. Why as a QS?

Thirdly, defects; will they exist in the future? If we maximise the design at the outset, make greater use of off site fabrication, the only risk will be the variable of the site labour installation process. No more arguments about defective work, everything as scheduled and agreed from the outset. No need for a QS then?

Fourthly, late information; will that ever be a problem? Everything will be thought through and designed in the model at the outset. Every job will run smoothly and according to plan. What can possibly go wrong… no need for expensive claims consultants anymore surely?

And what will happen to the design and build form of contract? Could this be the start of the end?

Well errr actually back to the title, rubbish in… rubbish out…

We are in grave danger of entering the era of simply accepting everything the computer says.

Without some very careful thought and planning about the road we are going down we are likely to end up with an industry full of computer operators (ok we are anyway, but in a different way).

Why do I say that?

Well it’s a practical industry, each project has its own set of unique criteria, without the human interface and challenges that we all contribute into the construction process by simply being human; we are in danger of letting the model take over.

But we are not there yet.

And there will be plenty of gaps for the QS to fill in this process, it will be a slightly different way of working for sure, but us QS’s are used to change aren’t we?

Either way, the government has given us until 2016, so there’s no rush… is there?

Thanks to Derek for this post. If you’d like to speak to Derek then you can tweet him on Twitter or leave your thoughts and comments below.

In the mean time you can also view our BIM Infographic from the National BIM Survey 2012 carried out by the NBS which also includes a piece ‘What is BIM?’ written by @fairsnape (Martin Brown).

About Pritesh Patel

is the Digital Marketing Manager for Pauley Creative. Mainly responsible for developing and implementing business marketing plans and assisting with the development of client marketing strategies and campaigns. To follow Pritesh on Twitter click here.

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Comments

  1. David Cant April 24, 2012 6:50 pm

    Excellent post where does the CDM Coordinator fit into the BIM model..is it a threat to the CDM C as well as the QS?

  2. Derek Mynott April 25, 2012 6:35 pm

    Hi David,

    Good point and I hadn’t selfishly thought of this role. I would say that there is a role still to play, but it’s a threat for sure. There is still this constant need for a human angle on all that we do with computers, so the model may well take out a lot of the leg work from your day to day role, but you still need someone to review what it is telling you. It will mean that you will probably have to adapt and change the way you are working…..but that I think will be true for most professions the more BIM develops.

  3. Paul Wilkinson (@EEPaul) April 26, 2012 8:25 am

    Of course, there is a risk of “rubbish in, rubbish out” but projects will increasingly rely on accurate, computable information that is not constantly re-keyed and perhaps altered as a result. A single repository of coordinated design information quickly removes doubt and uncertainty, with multiple professionals able to contribute their expertise, not only about design and buildability, but also about aspects of longer-term operation and maintenance of the built asset. BIM offers the opportunity for construction to become an advanced form of manufacturing, with more integrated teams and supply chains contributing to the project at an earlier stage when they can do more good. With multiple parties contributing to the project, any “rubbish” added early should quickly be removed and replaced with better quality information, and the ultimate owner/operator/occupier will benefit from a much richer level of as-built data for future O&M.

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