Overcoming challenges in BIM

BIM (building information modelling) is a process or set of processes which aims to digitise the construction sector and improve on the collaboration of projects. The movement is only around 10 years old so while most engineering firms, architects and other professionals involved in building projects will most likely have adopted it, there are still a lot of lessons to be learned.

Share knowledge and information

There are a multitude of benefits to implementing BIM in your business such as increased profitability, improved health and safety and fewer margins of error. However, all of these benefits are reliant on accurate information being available and shared with all parties.

In fact, a lack of knowledge sharing can actually lead to increased risk on your project, in instances such as incomplete data at the design stage or changes to the design that aren’t included in one single collaborative model.

The important thing here is to remember that everyone working on the project must be privy to the same information, effectively making everyone on the project team an information manager. This doesn’t just mean sharing the positive outcomes either; it means sharing the bad experiences along the way to ensure that everyone can learn and apply this learning. 

And when you consider information sharing, you shouldn’t restrict this to just the present day or your current project. Built assets can be in place for hundreds of years and yet they are only built once. By applying whole life thinking to your strategy, you can unlock the full potential of BIM and its benefits.

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Invest, invest, invest

While we typically talk about money and finances when we think of investments, that’s not the only kind of investment that will take you another step closer to success with BIM. While it is important to spend money on the right BIM software, it’s even more important to invest in the right people.

Ensuring that you have members of the team with a strong knowledge of digital tools, technology and engineering is vital in this process. Investing in experience and expertise this way, could be achieved either by searching for the right individual(s) to bring into your business, or by ensuring that an existing member of your team is given the tools and the time to learn and progress so that they can become the BIM go-to for the rest fo your team.

Another investment you’ll need to make in BIM is time. New habits and go-to ways of working don’t happen overnight, and it will take an investment of time to train the team, share knowledge and get everyone on to this new way of working. However, when you begin to see the benefits, you’ll realise it was time well spent.


Get clients on board

In any aspect of any business, the choices you make must benefit your client or customer. So in order to see the maximum return from BIM, you must ensure that clients are on board with the process, especially since they have their own role to play in its success.

Project specifications, information requirements and handover stages are all back-and-forth elements between the client and the project team. It doesn’t matter if every single member of the project team is invested in making BIM a success if the client is not; it requires a true team effort.

The way to combat this challenge is to ensure that the client understands the importance of their role and the way that proper implementation can help to avoid rework and cost overruns. To help your clients engage with BIM from the off-set (particularly new or “one-off” clients), it may be a good idea to prepare some resources such as a “how to” guide. This can also be helpful when new members of the team join the company.

While the BIM journey may still have some road ahead, it’s a journey that we’re all on together. The opportunities for shared learning experiences and continued improvement can ensure that we succeed in moving forward in this technological era of the construction industry.