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Best BIM Bad BIM - interview Bilal Succar
Post on 15 Sep 2015

Answered from either a personal or industry-viewpoint perspective, Best BIM Bad BIM sees a member of the #GlobalBIMCrew divulge their best and worst BIM experiences and what they have learned from both. BIM Researcher and Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Australia, Bilal Succar is today’s Best BIM Bad BIM interviewee. Bilal is also the Director of BIMexcellence, a research-based assessment initiative that measures the BIM competency of professionals and businesses.

What does Bilal think industry is practicing Best at the moment?

If I’m to select the best thing the construction industry is doing at the moment, it would be the proliferation of knowledge-sharing behaviour. Busy professionals are increasingly sharing their specialist knowledge with others, or joining together to develop community-driven protocols for all to use. The increased use of social media in construction has tremendously helped this trend to grow. We can now invest as little as 10 minutes a day to feed off the ‘great sharers’ on Twitter and LinkedIn and – more importantly – generate our own feed to participate in shaping a common future.

With an abundance of massive amounts of useful information and easy-to-use communication channels, we can – with a bit of patience – isolate the information we need to improve our workplaces, and take advantage of the huge opportunity to both learn and teach.

What does Bilal believe the industry are doing Badly at the moment?

Successful implementation of Building Information Modelling requires a fine balance of advanced technologies, innovative processes, and clear policies. After an understandable focus on software tools in the early years of BIM diffusion, the focus has lately shifted to developing BIM protocols, standards, more protocols, and more standards. This over-emphasis on standardisation and protocolisation is currently the worst trend in our industry as it risks choking process innovation. So rather than considering BIM a golden opportunity to re-engineer and streamline every process across the supply chain, it treats BIM as a digital tool to be overlaid over old plans of work and inefficient processes. This trend is sadly encouraged – not only by those who sell certification services but – by many hard-working professionals who confuse compliance with standards with continuous performance improvement.

What lessons did Bilal learn from both the Best and Bad?

We have learned that, if we are to shift the focus away from compliance-thinking to performance-improving, we need to share our ideas with others. So we invested a lot of energy to develop a common framework (BIMframework.info), a common dictionary (BIMdictionary.com), a common knowledge sharing environment (BIMThinkSpace.com), and a common method/set of tools (BIMexcellence.com). The aim of all our efforts – overwhelmingly released under a community license – is to help the practitioner to adopt continuous performance improvement.

With the proliferation of ‘mandates’ and ‘compliance talk’, we want the industry to benefit from an alternate route focusing on process optimisation. So we started with releasing the largest BIM Dictionary (600+ terms) as an open resource for personal and commercial use, working with international community affiliates to translate key Framework parts (three languages so far), and releasing bit-size educational videos. Our latest release, the Model Uses List, which took many months of research, has just been released to enable the development of performance-based procurement protocols.

According to Seth Godin, “sharing an idea you care about is a generous way to change your world for the better”… Seth, we hear you.

Credit to Jack White @ Bim Crunch