So I have been asked to do a couple of consulting gigs in the midst of oeprating a BIM division, writing a book and still finding time to do late night nacho runs @ 12:30p (please refer to fruitcake, champagne stains and bim for reference).
I had a great lunch yeterday with Harvey Phelps from Virtual Building Logistics. Harvey's a smart guy and a BIM guru as far as I'm concerned. Currently he's completing mutiple, huge international BIM consulting projects and still finding time to take lunch with fellow colleagues. We talked through some of the biggest issues not only about firm integration, but software that is currently being developed. Here's sort of my quick recap of thoughts on firm BIM integration that we have both experienced in one way or another:
1.) BIM doesn't work - people make it work. There is no way you can load BIM on to a machine plop anyone in front of the machine and hope that it will somehow make your life easier. In fact, it will make it harder for a while, let everyone know this.
2.) BIM is an investment. The easiest way I can explain this is almost like your 401k, "Will you realize the profits immediately?" Don't know...probably not. "Will you reaize your investment 6-8 months down the road when you find 188 clashes that equate to over 2.3 million in change orders?" closer. "Will you realize that investment when you can provide a greater service to your AEC team in improved communication and collaboration?" bingo.
3.) BIM will not tie your shoes. We use this phrase here in the office when someone thinks that BIM can solve every construction related problem there is. It's just not true. And let's be honest, BIM is still developing. There isn't a "one software works for everyone and will fix everything solution." I'm sorry NIBS, but IFC doesn't hold intelligent objects! Really it's good if you like blobs...it's my hope that the corss pollination of software gets better.
4.) Start small. A colleague of mine was recently tasked with integrating BIM into his large construction company. He gave me a ring and asked me what the best methodolgy was. He was thinking of training all 16 different satellite offices via web meetings. I told him he was crazy.
5.) Train yourself. make sure you know and learn and continue to learn as much as you can.
6.) Second, start a small intense training of a BIM team. These will be your disciples and you're backbone, when you get uber-busy. Believe me it happens.
7.) Third, multiply yourself. If you're trying to make BIM work in a large corporation with multiple locations, I have news for you, there is only one of you. So begin coordinating with management new hires or existing personnel who you have good rapport with and begin deciding and coordinating moves and location leaders at these other locations to train and maintain a BIM program, after your core department has been developed.
8.) Have a plan. Dedicate three weeks to do nothing but write out a plan that includes a schedule, key timelines and make it generous. Also include in the plan, facts, statistics and reasons why the company is implementing this new strategy. People will question it. And be prepared to be called nerd until you get it to make their day to day routine more efficient and then be prepared to be called buddy.
9.) Stick to the plan. Get management to review it and get the plan signed so that when you are tasked with training that everyone knows they need to be there, because it will be like herding cats.
10.) Learn more. Attend conventions, seminars and technology expos to learn about what's out there, if it could be helpful to your company and have a committee that reivews the new stuff and presents a software plan annually to the ownership.