BIM expert Zolna Murray presents an alternative to the British Government’s way of mandating BIM on AEC projects
The British Government has got it all wrong with regards to its plan to use BIM to fix-up its ailing AEC industry.
Admittedly, they weren’t exactly calling the industry ‘ailing’; neither where are they labelling BIM specifically as a ‘fix up-tool’, but that is what I read between the lines of both the original Strategy Paper published in 2011 and the “Pipeline for Growth” report that was put out at the end of 2012.
Most of BIM commentators, even those a bit remote from that particular market and ones that are normally prepared to be a bit cynical of ‘artificially pumped up BIM hype’ appear to find this government’s actions to be all positive.
Their comments echo the official mantra, with its coats of sugar. They then add their own truckload of PC type encouragement, about how every step in the right direction counts, how time will tell, how the proof will be in the pudding, how one must not discourage the proactive governments by criticising them, how absolutely fabulous and brave they are and so on so forth.
Anyway, why get bogged down with the details when top experts in the field are publically declaring that the British BIM model is the best in the world already?
Time will tell, I believe, how silly, ineffective, pompous and arrogant this approach is (was) but it will take years, decades even – thanks to the fact that the wheels of the global (and especially big-business) AEC market grind even slower than those of justice systems.
So why wait for the grinding to be fully completed and the ashes of failed BIMs to finally get scattered over the corpses of many, at present still yet-to-be built, public buildings?
Instead why not be bold now and try out something that I guarantee will make a positive difference to the industry and deliver results within 12 months of its launch?
And just to make it more palatable for those that like to be prescriptive on the subject of how as opposed to the what, this is a highly prescriptive approach.
I call it the XXX Government’s (or any public/private AEC client that is now/or intending in the future to consume the services of the AEC industry) approach:
The Zero Fluff Policy (ZFP)
ZFP is built on a set of highly prescriptive requirements on how project information should be managed (by all info originators and/or editors, like design consultants, main and subcontractors) on any AEC job:
The rules are as follows
- PDF – paper-sheet based and formatted, traditionally labelled, revision controlled, clouded drawings will be used for all communication between all parties and at all times, regardless of the stage of the project and/or the number of participants involved in the project.
- The numbers of drawings in the system will be strictly (and drastically) limited and policed relentlessly.
- All drawings will be managed electronically on a web based, fully searchable system. All drawings will have meta-data attached to aid search.
- No written specifications will be allowed, everything will fit on the limited number of drawings (typically no project will produce more than 100 drawings; at an absolute, a mega project may go up to 250).
- No duplication of information will be tolerated, any discrepancy in information supposedly coming from one source found, will be rejected immediately and the originator penalised heavily.
- All drawings will be fully coordinated and buildable at any time, even at early stages of the project, taking into account detail levels appropriate for design development. All drawings issued will always be of IFC quality, labelled such and an individual to take responsibility for this by a signature.
- The said individual will be made aware by the employing company that mistakes within the IFC documents will be traced back to him (or her) no matter how many companies he/she changes to escape being accountable for the flow on impacts those mistakes cost the project once construction begins.
- All drawings will be audited regularly (weekly) by an Independent BIM Authority and their comments forwarded to drawing authors. Immediate response will be required by all affected. Failure to respond in time or any repeated offence will be punished by dismissal of the entire company from the project.
- All participants will be contractually bound to pay SILD (Substandard Information – Liquidated Damages) – and these will be assessed monthly (based on failures to meet any of the requirements falling under points 1 – 5);
- SILD will be deducted from progress payments or if they turn out to be higher than progress payments due, from a bond provided by all contracted project participants at the outset of the project.
- SILD collected will be split into 3 equal parts and distributed monthly: 1 third to the IBA (Independent BIM Authority) agent on the project for work well done; 1 third to the client representatives on the project for accepting this crazy policy and 1 third shared out in the form of cream-doughnuts to regular citizens walking past the project in question;
- The acronym ‘BIM’ and anything associated with it will be exclusively used by those employed by the Independent BIM Authority; Any unauthorised and careless use of the term (or its derivatives) will be punished by dismissal.