BIM standards are useless if they’re not implemented

Clients are getting disillusioned about BIM because firms are misunderstanding or ignoring the requirements

A small practice like mine has a limited amount of time and resource for development and innovation, and these can quickly get soaked up when getting access to work requires entry through bespoke qualification processes that often appear to differ only arbitrarily from each other.

When I read the current draft of (technical standards) PAS1192 and its associated documents, I was excited. This suite sets out the requirements to qualify for entry into a project seeking to achieve level 2 BIM. For the first time since our practice had begun to use BIM processes and software we would be judged against others on the basis of our real ability to deliver.

The main body of the PAS which will soon become a British standard, and its associated documents from the CIC and CPIC, outline a clear process from briefing, through assessment of ability to deliver, pre-contract and post-contract execution planning and deliverables.

Yet my growing experience is that this clear usable process, which has been developed with a large stakeholder input from all sectors of our industry, is being at best misunderstood and at worst ignored. This isn’t just personal experience, I’ve heard numerous anecdotes that make it clear that clients and their agents are learning the language of the PAS but are ignorant or incapable of implementing the process. ‘The EIR, oh it was a blank page…’, a response from a medium sized architect that I’d been asked to consult for, gives a feel of the problem. For without the foundations of the PAS process, the project falls back to the ubiquitous, ‘Will be delivered in BIM’ which means nothing.

The effect of this is twofold. Firstly it is damaging to parties that have invested in BIM and secondly it creates a barrier to success on projects that implement BIM, because teams are appointed that can’t deliver and means of communication and deliverables are undefined. This leads to disillusionment over the value of the process by the client, when the reverse should be true.

First published on 10 September 2013 on