From a Nordic perspective, the aspects in the article are interesting, as the discussions on BIM are almost the same in Scandinavia. However, the question of who should be the BIM integrator may be closer to an answer in the Nordic Countries.
From a UK perspective, Morrell believes the answer is that the natural candidates should be tier one contractors, but he fears that “they’ve become so used to grinding their margin out of either their customers (in good times) or their supply chain (in bad times) that managing that margin has now become their core business.” Hence, the challenges of “putting together an integrated proposition for a client, for which they might be held accountable, lacks appeal.”
However, the verdict does take a more positive turn in the article: “Fortunately (for the customers) there are some major players who take the opposite approach and who are organising themselves to offer a more integrated approach. Unfortunately (for the UK) these tend not to be British owned – and the risk is therefore that those who don’t ‘get with the programme’ will either be competed out or bought out.”
The gains of BIM will force the sceptics to follow
The former Chief Government Construction Advisor states that in the early days of BIM “it was never the expectation that every client and every company in the industry would immediately see the benefits of BIM to the extent that it would transform their own way of doing business.” The belief was that the gains made by those who made greatest use of it would be such that competition would force the rest, that were more sceptical, to follow, so that in time it would become the normal way of doing business.
Nordic companies are taking the lead
When Morrell talks about the fact that, historically, nobody has wanted to own the whole construction process; it is of course true. Today however, with the new Building Lifecycle Management (BLM) idea in mind, several Nordic companies are successfully working with BIM – with the right mindset – and the appropriate technology as the difference maker to collaborate digitally with all parties in a construction process from early stages and beyond to facility management.
The Swedish company Botkyrkabyggen is a frontrunner and integrator in its approach to BIM and BLM.
One of the most recent examples of a company that is transforming the way it does business working with BIM is the Swedish customer Botkyrkabyggen, which has adapted the whole BLM concept of using the OpenBIM tools and organising itself with an integrated approach, thereby enhancing the entire process – through the offerings from Symetri FM Access, Hyperdoc and BIMeye. Read about its impressive approach to BIM and BLM here.
BIM – as much about changing mindsets as the technology?
In the article, Morrell claims that the success behind implementing BIM is as much about having the right mindset as the right technology behind it. As he says:
“I do think it’s now widely understood that technology is the lesser part of BIM, and that the bigger changes are behavioural. Again, that change isn’t going to be brought about by preaching about better ways of behaving.”
A change of mindset helps
At Symetri, our experience of working successfully with implementing BIM for – and together with – customers is exactly this. As an example, when one of our close Swedish customers, Cedervall Architects, started its BIM journey, our consultant was as much a coach and mentor in the process as a teacher of the software it was implementing. The change of going from 2D to BIM was huge, mostly due to the change in habits of work methodologies. The backup from the company’s management team was essential to the success it has had.
In the article, which can be read in full here, Paul Morell states that “change comes from changing the drivers of the businesses that make up the industry – and, even in an industry as reactive as construction, one of those drivers has to be the preferences and demands of customers.”
This is indeed how the development of BIMeye (Symetri’s BIM cloud solution) was initiated: a collaboration based on requests from New Karolinska Hospital in Sweden, among others.
BIMeye customers have confidence
Fortunately, as BIMeye has been developed, more and more customers have bought into the idea and had the right mindset when requesting a BIM solution. For instance, when introducing the BIMeye app BAM – BIM Asset Manager – at the Slussen project in Stockholm, the engineering company ELU Konsult obtained support for efficient handling of property data on items such as piles, sheet piles and bracing. Here, BIMeye supports data linked from over 50 Revit models, adding new possibilities for improving efficient processes for all parties involved in the project.
Morrell: confidence in software houses and human ingenuity
When asked about preferences with regard to the technology available, Paul Morrell concludes: “If we get the general direction of travel right, then I’ll have confidence that the software houses will develop the right products for the right jobs. The excitement therefore comes from witnessing the human ingenuity shown in finding new possibilities created by a digital world – (….). – if anyone comes along with a program that upgrades human behaviour towards a genuine desire to collaborate, then I’ll be its first customer!”
On a conclusive note, the BIMeye BIM cloud solution continuously inspires Nordic customers to demand more from the solution – with creative ways to expand its use to collaborate across the boundaries of each of the fields in the construction phase. BIMeye is available to customers – also in the UK – and we are continuously looking for more challenges.
Today, Paul Morell is an independent consultant on the economics of construction and procurement in the UK.
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Read the full story on Botkyrkabyggen and its approach to BIM and BLM here.