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To BIM or not to BIM

The Wrong Question About BIM


TO BIM OR NOT TO BIM? While Shakespeare was a great playwright, he has little to contribute to improving renovation, repair, and new construction outcomes.

Despite the “surveys”, “reports”, and hype associated with BIM, building owners and facilities management professionals have yet to fully understand BIM, let alone decide whether or not to practice it.

Asking the right questions is extremely difficult, and I would suggest a quote from a more relevant source…

“My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.” – Peter Drucker

Real property owners and facilities management professionals would be better served learning new ways to serve building users the community both economically and environmentally.

While we are in the midst of a convergent explosive evolution of big data and technology, the real “battle ground” is internal change management and literally altering how we work on a day to day basis.

The times of fat cows will never come again and therefore we need to seize the new opportunities we have to take new roads.

LEAN Collaborative Construction Delivery techniques are where organizations will “win” or “lose” with respect to efficient life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology, or BIM.

3D visualization is an advantageous tool, but only one of several technologies and business processes required to improve productivity, quality, and sustainability of built structures.

Focus upon fundamental LEAN construction delivery and facilities management practices provides the greatest return on investment.   Fundamental aspects of this approach include the following five (5) basis principles:

  1. Specify what Customers Value – Value is what the customer wants, and only what the customer wants. This requires a precise understanding of the specific needs of the customer. Approximately 60% of “work” is currently non- value added.
  2. Understand the Value Stream – This is the combination of the processes, tools, and activities that consistently produce what the customer values.
  3. Improve the Flow –Work should flow from one value added activity to the next with a minimum of interruption or supporting activity.
  4. Pull – The system supports and reacts to customer demand. The customer “pulls” the work through the system.
  5. Perfection – Striving towards perfection is a continuous process. The goal is to deliver the value to the customer exactly what is anticipated.[1]

The role of technology is that of enabling

Technology lowers the cost of deployment, provides a platform for real time collaboration with current, historical, and predictive information, embeds best management practices to improve consistency, and assures ongoing monitoring and improvement through the use of key performance indicators.

The change that is going through the whole industry chain construction is not about whether or not use of a technologies such as BIM, CMMS, IWMS, CPMS, etc.  Real issue is how deal with the change to collaborative, transparent, and mutually beneficial LEAN processes, such as Integrated Project Delivery, and Job Order Contracting.   The required changes are so radical they can’t be implemented or support by simply buying software.

Change will only occur if fully supported throughout and organization, and linked to both government regulations and financial incentives for all participants.

The Path Forward of BIM

Renovation, repair, new construction, operation and ongoing maintenance require collaboration and financial transparency.  As a building owner, facilities management professional, or member of an oversight group, ask yourself the following questions….

  1. Have I clearly defined the reasons and objectives that drive necessary change to measurably improve economic and environment outcomes associated with the built environment?
  2. Is leadership involved in the decision-making process and is committed to innovation?
  3. Am I able to perform leadership activities to manage all stages of the change management process?
  4. Do I have the internal and external (service partners-A/E’s, Contractors, etc.) resources required to support collaborative best management practices?
  5. Have I analyzed the initial and long term costs and rewards of BIM… and clearly communicated them to all stakeholders?
  6. Do I have dispute management procedures in place?
  7. Have I properly balanced the use of internal resources and consultants to insurer there is no potential conflict of interest situation?
  8. Do my clients, suppliers, and service providers truly understand the added value that LEAN Construction Delivery Method provide?
  9. Do I have a WRITTEN LEAN Operations Manual or LEAN Execution Manual as an integral component of all contracts?
  10. Is ongoing training and education REQUIRED of all participants?


If you can answer “Yes” to the above questions, or have a plan to for addressing each, you are ready to begin the process of structural change within your organization and drive toward delivering measurable benefits whit BIM.  

LEAN Construction Delivery and life-cycle management of the build environment is proven to deliver greater than 90% of renovation, repair, and new construction project on-time, on-budget, and to the satisfaction of all participants.   Why not begin the journey?

Luca Moscardi – Peter Cholakis

[1] 1996, Womack and Jones 1996