So I had an interview with Ed Goldberg from Boston about BIM and how construction companies are currently utilizing their BIM's and how they are interfacing both with the software they have and with the project team as a whole. I was kind of shocked to learn that fully "collaborative modeling" like our shop has set up isn't that common, in fact, it's rare.
I've been asked a couple of times why we do it differently, why we choose to do single / same model coordination. The reasons are simple, but ultimately BIM in and of itself is really only part of the greater pie.
With technology advancing (finally) in the AEC industries, I don't think we are about to see a slow down in the amount of information and coordination that affects the teams decisions and coordination. Ultimately, I think that by setting up the flow and management of information correctly now we won't have to reinvent the flow of processes the next time.
Secondly, I know the opportunity for improved communication and growth is a real need. The opportunity in using a singular BIM forces the issue of communication and coordination. Just as your "forced" to model walls to exact dimensions, BIM pushes the team to collaborate and define, just where are those construction joints? how is this panel going to be constructed? what is the necessary aesthetic for a space? what is the owners program and can we design those spaces first?
What we've started to see, is yes it's the "harder way" to construct a BIM. And that's the point. The point is to make sure that everyone involved has access to input and share the same information regardless of the others undertanding of what that teammate might need.
When we start to see overlap and questions pop up of "Well how are we going to get the ductwork through that? etc..." is when we know we are in some way creating savings.