A Call for a Change in Mindset

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To leverage the many benefits of BIM requires a change in mindset on many levels.  People that experience success get very comfortable repeating the way they do things even if they are not the most efficient or effective ways.  They fear change and take the attitude of ‘if it isn’t broke, why fix it?’  This poses as one of the hurdles to the successful adoption of BIM.


BIM is on the rise in Canada despite what you might hear.  Around the world, BIM has taken a foothold in the building industry and it is not going away anytime soon.  Canada seems to be behind the US and Europe in our adoption of BIM; why is that?  A lot of design and engineering firms are incorporating BIM workflows into their design process; a lot of fabricators and constructors use BIM workflows to bid and coordinate the construction process.  So what is it that seems to be holding us back from the rest of the world’s BIM progress?


I believe it is the fact that teams don’t share and use a common data set.  We still work in a very fragmented way.  Too many BIM projects are often designed and tendered without sharing the BIM models.  Everyone seems to be so protective of their ‘model’.  Fundamentally, isn’t BIM about reducing re-work, avoiding the replication of data, removing waste, and eliminating unnecessary re-work out of the design and construction process?


What are we so worried about?  Is it the liability for any incorrect or missing information?  Designers that worry that the designs are not complete are missing the whole point of BIM.  Of course, they are not complete because it is through collaboration with others that you design better and reduce errors and omissions.  That’s why a change in mindset is required for sharing each other’s data in order to harness the strengths of closer collaboration.


How do we change mindsets? Every firm is going to be different in how they incorporate BIM into their workflows and how they are willing to sharing their data.  We cannot expect this to change overnight or to happen by chance.  We need to collectively and intentionally work together to strive for this better design/build methodology.  BIM has too much for us to gain from to ignore it or wish it would go away.


Technology does that; it forces us to rethink, reevaluate, and retool our old ways to better ways.  It will have its challenges as we live through the migration, but in the end, we are heading in a good direction – a future of better designs, better built buildings, greener buildings, more creative designs, more innovative construction techniques, and more efficient life-cycles of our buildings.


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