Newsletter - Links - Advertise - Contact Us - Privacy

BIM Scotland discussion kicks off

October 27 2011

BIM Scotland discussion kicks off
Tonight a host of leading architects, politicians and engineers are gathering at the Lighthouse to discuss Building Information modelling, BIM, a software solution for construction professionals. Here Graham H Stewart, Senior Structural Technician Buro Happold, talks Urban Realm through the key features of this game changing technology.

Tonight the great and the good of our industry will gather at the BIM Scotland event and it’s sure to be a lively chat.
It’s one of those topics that generates a potent mixture of curiosity, passion and concern among our peer group. With the UK Government’s Construction Strategy requiring a fully collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) as a minimum by the 2016, this deadline seems to have sharpened the focus of the debate even more.
I’m sure there will be a variety of views aired. My tuppence worth will be squarely tied to one simple point: BIM is not a software solution – it’s a process. The technology is in place, however the real paradigm shift we need to embrace is the way teams share information and work together. The term we prefer to use is Virtual Design Construction. By sharing building models early in the process it allows the design team and others to collaborate in the 3D environment to minimise errors and spot potential problems sooner before they become a live issue on site.
Looking beyond the technological innovations, what will make this work is good old fashioned trust. Partners need to buy into this ethos which means sharing plans earlier and really trusting in eachother’s ability. To help this along, the discipline of preparing a BIM Execution plan is essential to agree the ‘rules of engagement’ and ensure that there is a reference point for the collaboration.
Let’s be clear here. It’s not about reinventing the wheel. Good multi-disciplinary working has long been a strong tradition in the UK construction sector, often borne out of a necessity to keep pace with the increasingly stringent demands of specifiers and legislators. Virtual Design Construction takes this ethos to the next level through achieving productivity gains which help to reduce conflicts and changes in design thus reducing the need for reworking.
For the industry to meet the 2016 deadline we need clear guidelines of how the legislation will be implemented. However, even more importantly, access to good quality training opportunities need to be as widespread and inclusive as possible. From Universities through all sizes of business on the front line, the knowledge base needs to grow evenly across all key stakeholders. I would expect that the legal implications i.e. ‘who owns the model!’ may on the agenda tonight. However before we even hit on this important detail what is important is that there is a clear consensus around how we work together. Events like this one are a good starting point.

Follow the discussion at #BIMSCOTLAND


#1 Posted by Manmachine on 30 Oct 2011 at 08:13 AM

This has been talked about by the big software developers for over a decade now as they try to flog their latest offerings. If this is just a process, then the solutions are varied and potentially low tech.

If BIM is a process, then can it be a well managed drawing chest?

How does BIM relate to the guy on site doing the job?

How does it relate to domestic projects?

#2 Posted by JD on 30 Oct 2011 at 09:07 AM
It is another crutch for the least talented and able to lean on. Saves them having to think about architecture and good design, much like BREEAM. No doubt the same "leading" architects, like Keppie will be involved.
#3 Posted by Liz on 30 Oct 2011 at 18:01 PM
Keppie Design may not be great architects in your opinion but are a business and they are keeping people employed, get off their backs and Atkins too.
Graham H Stewart
#4 Posted by Graham H Stewart on 30 Oct 2011 at 23:18 PM
If anyone would like to contact me direct I would gladly discuss the benefits of BIM and help explain why this fad! is here to stay for the benefit of the design team, the client, us ALL!
Peter W
#5 Posted by Peter W on 31 Oct 2011 at 11:06 AM
#2 It's like any other computer system. Depends on what you put in and who puts in in. BMI will not improve the quality of the built environment or architecture just make it easier for the non architect members of the design team to visualise and co-ordinate.
#6 Posted by Liz on 31 Oct 2011 at 11:32 AM
You mean BIM. BMI won't make the built environment better!
Walt Disney
#7 Posted by Walt Disney on 1 Nov 2011 at 14:11 PM
Its still a sledgehammer to crack a wallnut. The up front investment in software, hardware, training, method and recipe building are still vast. I have extensive and unsuccessful experience of BIM on housing projects and I've never experienced a more convoluted way to prove that your cost plan doesn't work. No contractor in their right minds will sign up to the BoQ that BIM generates leading to the client taking all of the risk. Misunderstood and mismanaged BIM can easily become an end in itself and its Lean principles are easily consumed by BIM dogma.

I fully understand how BIM can help deliver very large projects with lots of repetition e.g. hospitals, schools, airports etc. The danger is that architects will design to suit BIM rather than to suit the end user and move away from necessary complexity, reverting to standardisation and repetition that suits BIM.

Got a feeling that JD still uses rapidographs and tracing paper - or are they also the work of the devil and a crutch for big architects and talentless designers?
#8 Posted by Ian on 2 Nov 2011 at 16:34 PM
We are using Revit Architectural Design Suite component software both on small and large projects and find our productivity has increased exponentially. The overall concept is however far greater than just 3D-CAD. I am old enough to remember drawing with pencils, set-square, tee-square and even wooden scales (in feet & inches), yet I now fully endorse the BIM concept and do not fear that my creative side is in any way hampered by new technology. I am still able to 'sketch on the back of a fag-packet' if required! (Your QS will want to "measure" everything from a print anyway -cos he doesn't trust computers)
What's the matter with all these guys? I say "a bad workman blames his tools".
BIM doesn't stop you from being a good architect/designer/engineer it just cuts out a lot of unnecessary re-working and speeds up the overall process. Yes there will be legal/contractural issues to iron out but the sooner all disciplines stop working in a 'linear' fashion the better. Client bodies, consultants, Financiers all need to pool their collective resources -- Get on the Bus or be left behind!
Bad Workman?
#9 Posted by Bad Workman? on 2 Nov 2011 at 18:35 PM
What projects have you done then?
#10 Posted by BIM BIM on 4 Nov 2011 at 09:37 AM
If the General says it's the future then you better get in line. It's better than 2D CAD. Prior to CAD it seemed that more thought went into what was drawn due to the timescales/effort involved in producing the information. 2D CAD sped things up and in my experience there's not enough 3D thinkers out there who can produce thought through 2D drawings in the shortened timescales facilitated by CAD. This generally leads to tiresome and time consuming site fixes. 3D is here and will become the norm. All the wrangling about design liability etc. will be dealt with in appointments by people with a mind to worry about such things. BIM won't make better Architects, Engineers or Contractors of us all, but it should help remove some of the friction that makes the construction sector a bit of a pain to work in at times.
Walt Disney
#11 Posted by Walt Disney on 4 Nov 2011 at 14:01 PM
I managed large residential design projects where Vico 5D was used. In theory its a great idea and product integrating 3D design, costing and programming. There were some great components to the package particularly the desgn tool (essentially Archicad) and the line of balance programming tool. There were no engineering, servicing or clash deection plug ins and this was dissappointing. I didn't see anything in the package that delivered something better than a good integrated, collaborative design team couldn't deliver quicker and cheaper.

Post your comments


All comments are pre-moderated and
must obey our house rules.


Back to October 2011

Search News
Subscribe to Urban Realm Magazine
Features & Reports
For more information from the industry visit our Features & Reports section.