Sunday, February 21, 2016

It's Time to Get Rid of BIM.

" It's time to get rid of BIM "  - those are words that I bet you never thought you would read on a blog called BIM - for real.   But this concept is something that I feel very passionate about, that BIM is not needed in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) industries.

Before I elaborate, I should probably explain that I'm involved with project teams on both US coasts as well as across the US South and Mid-West. Because of this involvement I have found that each region and each project can be extremely different.  We have projects that are using tablets accessing data on "the cloud"; project coordination that leverages the benefits of clash detection during preconstruction; projects that combine 3D models and project management solutions for project scheduling ... you get the idea, real technology and information workflows. Of course, we also have projects where we need to create our own 3D models for these purposes as the sub-contractors or design teams did all their work in AutoCAD or with hand sketches.  That doesn't mean that these players are not part of the greater collaboration process, just that they are doing it differently based on their required deliverables, skillsets, budgets, overhead, client demands, etc..  As a result, we need to adjust the way we perform our services based on a wide variety of factors.

With the paragraph above, I successfully got rid of BIM.  Not the technology, not the process, not the model. I was able to get rid of the term and concept of BIM... because we don't need it.

A favorite description of BIM and one that you may have read in many technology and marketing articles is that BIM is a "disruptive process". Disruptive because it changes the way you do things to achieve your end results. But who wants to disrupt the way they produce a great product and make a comfortable living? Even I don't want to do that.  On the other hand, I do want to enhance the way I do my designs and deliver my projects. Technology and process improvements should be ENABLING and not disruptive! That's the foundation for why it's time to get rid of BIM from our lexicon of industry language. The process we currently describe as BIM is already understood to be an enhancement or requirement for doing our jobs. We are enhancing the way we deliver projects through process and technological improvements. That's not something that requires its own ill defined word, that's simply adapting to our current industry reality which is something most industries are doing today.

For further proof that we don't need BIM, ask yourself how you would you answer the following question:  "How do you do your business?"   You may describe everything from specs to CD's, from design to technology, from coordination to budgets, from presentations to marketing... but you could do it ALL without ever using the disruptive terminology of "BIM".

So lets stop using this term which can cause a general feeling of disruption or uncertainty of meaning each time it is used. If we are not describing a Building Information Model (a BIM - the most generic description of a model used for design and construction) then you are likely not communicating your point of view effectively.

Unless of course you are like me and arguing that you don't need to use the term BIM, then it's kind of mandatory. :-)


Hello!  Let me start by getting my introduction out of the way. This is me:

I'm Brian Myers, the BIM Manager for Alberici Constructors based out of St Louis, MO. I want to start by thanking Brad for providing me the opportunity to join this blog and to share some of my thoughts and experiences.  I have both very high level experience in the industry as well as very technical picks and clicks experience, so my posts will reflect a bit of both backgrounds. If you have any questions or topics that you would like to see discussed, please reach out to me at . I'll be glad to either respond privately or by writing up a nice article here. My experience ranges from Architectural and MEP design to Construction technologies, so feel free to ask me anything, more often than not I'll have an answer. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Users and the Consolidation of BIM Systems - Part One

Whew! It's good to be back. 

After a somewhat lengthy hiatus of writing the second version of "BIM and Construction Management," I'm glad to be back on top of this blog/stream of consciousness that is writing what's in Brad's brain.

So here's what's new. Aside from joining a global engineering and construction firm at Black and Veatch, we are back in Kansas City (go Royals!) and am back home.

It's spring and on the BIM front , I wanted to share some of the new and forward thinking tenets of where I believe the AEC industry is headed and what we can do to align and improve how we work.

In a recent article from Accenture titled, "Digital Ecosystems" they do a really nice job of capturing where technology trends and analytics is headed in the coming years. I particularly agree with the concept of the "Intelligent Enterprise: Huge data + smarter systems = better business"

Here's the pitch. I believe BIM is now in between the early and late majority stage of the technology adoption curve. We talk about this in the new version of the book, but what does it mean?

Does this mean that BIM is no longer innovative? Not at all.
Am I behind if I haven't adopted BIM? Sure.

I've already adopted BIM in my firm, I'm safe right? Nope.

Here's the thing with the mid to late stage adopter types. They are highly analytical, they look to maximize the value of the shift (aka squeeze every ounce of value out of it) and ask some really good questions as they work in the tool. In essence, they are more patient than early adopters or innovators (generally speaking) and in lieu of "first to market" take a "best to market" approach with new tools.

How will this impact our industry?

1.) I believe we are going to see a consolidation of tool sets that seek to maximize the value out of each. 

2.) In addition to this, we are going to see a renewed vigor and focus on integration of tools between each other and a demand for not only connectivity, but hyper-connectivity. Keep in mind, these are the rational "doers" the folks who get it done and they don't have the patience to wait for systems to connect either. 

3.) Which leads me to my third prediction that we will see a spike in what I'm calling "gap apps." 

These applications will utilize the API's in the existing large scale tools and will be developed with the sole purpose of better connectivity or workflow automation. I don't know how many of these puppies there will be, but I can tell you it will create a very interesting dynamic in our industry.

Personally, I'm stoked about this new kind of user. I think now that we have moved beyond the Hollywood BIM or early "BIM washing," we are really going to start digging in and taking a renewed look at what BIM could mean for design and construction, what the data could mean and how traditional deliverable constructs need to be challenged or disappear entirely.

More to come...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Great Article from Arup on BIM Legislation

In talking with my good friend David Philp, leader of the UK BIM Task Group ( , he of course tends to agree that the UK Government has done far more to further the cause of BIM as a nation wide effort than the US. 

Frankly, I couldn't agree more. 

Especially in regard to the approach, the collaborative nature of the engagement and ultimately the right amount of courage from leadership (in government no less!) to not only encourage teams to use BIM, but to ensure it's continued development and innovation cycles and highlight those case studies publicly.

Perhaps we can learn from our peers across "the pond," who may have lagged in the initial implementation of BIM, but have now flown right past the US as a nation wide effort to create efficiency, improve collaboration and deliver a more future-proof information set to construction consumers for life cycle use.

Link to the Article Here

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Creating the Next Big Thing

We've all had that aha moment.

The one where we look at something that's missing in a work flow, tool or technology and say to ourselves, "Wouldn't it be great if...?"

I attended a couple of general high tech conferences recently (not necessarily related to AEC) and was really excited to see where technology as a whole is headed. Though some of these tools may or may not find their way into the AEC industry, it became very clear to me that the need to consistently explore, vet and deploy technologies that may have value is becoming increasingly important for our respective professions.

In stark contrast, (mostly due to the proximity in timing of the events) I attended a tech forward conference for the AEC industry...and wow what a difference. Most of the "innovative" solutions out there were software tools that have existed in our fields for quite some time with new features or bells and whistles. While this is valuable for tech vendors to consistently improve their tools, there wasn't much in the way of WOW. This isn't a dig on vendors and I'm usually easily impressed... but the huge difference between the tech conference and this event was shocking. So my question is this:

"How can we create an atmosphere of wow in the AEC community that consistently rewards innovators and young companies who are pushing the boundaries in our profession?"

This is a hard question to answer I'm learning.

The significant difference between the technology sector as a whole and the AEC sector is that the general tech sector has a small army of early adopters just waiting to try the next big thing. *Think line three blocks long for the new iPad or xbox. While in the B2B world (AEC), we are usually slow to test and pilot and even slower to adopt tools and technologies that may significantly impact our value proposition.


I think there are a few good examples of great companies that are becoming early adopters of promising technologies. As well as some bright spots of innovative start up companies beginning to push the boundaries or redefine those boundaries. Though I don't believe it is nearly enough.

We need to start thinking like a community aligned towards a similar purpose of improvement and value. Not individual companies that latch on to a new tech, up sell it to the market through PR campaigns and then get on to the next thing without truly investing in that tool or technology and going deep to explore its value.

Ultimately, we need to understand that the danger in remaining a long sales cycle or shallow cycle (use and lose) industry that is slow to adapt and change is that it will not draw that next generation of start ups brainstorming in their garages... into the design, construction and operations markets. Rather they will focus on other markets with lower barriers to entry.

So how do we create this atmosphere of wow and early adoption? Not sure I have the best answer yet, but I do know some of it begins with starting to understand that being sold to by the "little company that could" is ok and I encourage you to have a dialog with this community. You may learn something or you just may believe its the next big thing.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Reality capture & Why does laser scanning matter?

Haven't posted for a while, but wanted to capture my thoughts on a recent project we did where we were looking to accurately "capture" information about an existing lobby space. The project was a tenant improvement project in a four story building lobby, where the goals of the effort were to accurately gather data about what actually existed in the space, in lieu of relying on traditional as-built reference documentation, which is often outdated or rarely updated. The other effort we were looking to eliminate was the amount of effort we typically would put into in-field verification efforts. As a team, we discussed the options and laser scanning seemed to be the most viable, both from the perspective of speed to capture and the high degree of accuracy as a product.

Laser scanning an occupied facility had its own challenges, but what came out of it as a result was pretty remarkable. The last time I had looked at laser scanning technology was over two years ago and I was absolutely blown away by how far the tools and software had come since then. In less than three hours we had completed the hi-res laser scan of the lobby space. Within the laser scanning software, (this laser scanner was a FARO scanner) we were able to isolate and assign faces and model elements to the point cloud data. In turn, the composite of all of the faces and geometry showed deviation from the original plans in many significant areas. One of them being the mullion spacing at the curtain wall which would have proved costly in the field. Another aspect of this effort that I was impressed with was the openness from this team to use the laser scan data. In my experience on other teams without laser scanning, each entity did what they felt needed to be done to capture any as-built conditions and then began designing from that.

With laser scanning the equation was quite the opposite and we have seen a number of project stakeholders step up and request the laser scan files and models. Some of these were a bit of light bulb moments for me as the mechanical engineer wanted to see where supply and diffuser vents were currently located, the electrical engineer wished to see the height of the custom lighting that was suspended from the four story atrium to better inform their lighting design and the subcontractor responsible for the glass guardrail installation performed his takeoff directly from the laser scanning software environment. Couldn't find a good link to the FARO viewer, but here is Leica's ( )

Lastly, when we presented the scan to the owner the tool had layered on top of the point cloud file hi-res photos that reminded me very much of what it was like to navigate in BIM. One of the main differences was the ability to measure, in the software. As we were navigating we were able to measure distances with a high degree of accuracy as essentially we were just measuring from one point to another.

Needless to say, it was great getting to be a part of this effort and fascinating to see how far this technology has come in such a small amount of time. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next two years holds in this space.