The first step towards a successful transition to BIM is to get all staff on board with the planned changes. If a member of the team is not enthusiastic about the implementation, the chances of success are greatly reduced as the easy option will always be to go back to the old way of doing things and abandon the implementation process when the going gets tough.
All levels of staff from high level management to non-technical support staff need to be engaged. The team must fully understand the reasons why the organisation is making the transition to BIM and some of the difficulties they are likely to initially experience.
BIM entails a collaborative approach and may be a significant departure from the way documentation is currently completed within your organisation. It’s implementation will include new ways of working, new skillsets, standards, practices and procedures. Implementation needs to be viewed as a business investment – an initial decrease in productivity at the beginning can lead to large gains in the future. Without this perspective there is a risk that some members of the team will lose sight of the potential benefits and disengage from the process. Support and commitment from principals is essential.
It is likely that every employee will not agree with the transition to BIM, believing that the current way of working is much more efficient. Such concerns must be allayed before progressing with the implementation phase, so as to minimise any potential disruptions when inevitable difficulties arise.
It is beneficial to give the overall responsibility of managing the implementation to one person, who could be titled the BIM Lead, or simply the BIM Manager. Identifying this champion is your next task. They will be responsible for assessing your current situation, identifying your requirements, actioning the implementation plan and generally leading your organisation’s transition to BIM.
The choice of person may initially appear difficult if there is no person within the organisation with a detailed knowledge of BIM. A current CAD manager or drafter may seem like the obvious choice, however it is essential that the person chosen is not just a software guru, this person is not the ideal candidate. They must also have a good understanding of project delivery, the business aspects of the implementation, a passion for the implementation to succeed and an open mind about changes to procedures and processes.
The term ‘BIM Maturity’ refers to the quality, repeatability and degrees of excellence of BIM knowledge and services offered by the company and the individuals who work for the company.
The approach must combine quantitative and qualitative assessments of the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ aspects of BIM at:
- Corporate level,
- Technology level, and
- Model experience level.
- Management Level
The issue of selecting a suitable person with a detailed knowledge of BIM can be resolved in a number of ways:
Train an existing team member to gain sufficient knowledge. However, without practical knowledge of using BIM, this may be difficult and time consuming.
- Hire a suitable person with BIM experience, possibly on a fixed term contract or part time.
- Hire a BIM consultant who can work with a selected individual within your organisation to identify how you should proceed and what your requirements are. The selected individual would then manage the implementation after the consultant has identified the requirements. Having a thorough understanding of your existing situation (through the ANALYSIS OF CURRENT SITUATION exercise in the next step) will make this an easy job for a consultant or individual with a detailed knowledge and understanding of BIM.