As today’s construction and engineering enterprises increasingly depend on digital technologies, BIM adoption can mean radical change for their business.
BIM, as we know, makes it simple to coordinate 3D and non-graphical data throughout the life of an asset. As a result, this collaborative environment can provide higher engineering standards, avoid the need for rework, and cut costs across the life cycle of a project.
With its emphasis on collaboration, however, BIM also brings wide-reaching cultural change. To colleagues involved in construction projects, the idea of giving up practices that they have spent years developing may seem disruptive. Not only can BIM adoption disturb entrenched working patterns, but fear of change, human ego, or turf struggles must also be considered.
For the BIM Manager, dealing with these roadblocks can be exhausting. Rifts, for example, can take place between end-users, BIM management and early adopters. How to deal with individuals who either struggle or resist change will have an huge impact on success with the organization’s overall BIM adoption.
A Call for Leadership
BIM is all about collaboration, as architects, structural or building engineers work together at creating a coordinated virtual model. People skills are as important as technology know-how.
The BIM manager must look far beyond technology and inspire colleagues to adopt new processes and workflows that will change the way they work. At the heart of this approach is the ability to initiate a dialogue, communicate the BIM vision, and explain benefits, such as how BIM will make people’s work easIer, better, or more fulfilling.
“Soft Skills” Needed
Before launching a BIM program, it is critical to understand each individual’s skills, abilities and requirements in order to adapt the BIM framework to their needs and priorities. Time is also required to help them absorb new concepts. Here are some steps you can take:
Step 1: Evaluate how your organization currently does things in the perspective of its overall strategy. Focus on the Big Picture, e.g. long-term trends, a vision for the future that is achievable, as well as the options that are available.
Step 2: Conduct a skill inventory assessment to understand where your gaps and inefficiencies are located. Your BIM initiative will require various skill sets and competencies – from strategic to managerial and technically savvy collaborators. Make sure you understand what everyone in your BIM team can offer. In order to build-up skills, you can use complementary approaches, such as training, hiring or partnering.
Step 3: Formalize your BIM initiatives. Depending on your organization, you can plan a one-shot or incremental implementation. Make sure to roll out the initiatives in a manner that is not overly disruptive and is easy to support. Also, give enough time to the organization to acclimate itself to new processes, workflows and protocols, so that these initiatives can build upon one another.
More importantly, your current workforce will need a training program – not only about BIM theory, but also on practical support on the use of a software platform. This will help encourage the right behaviors and drive the use of new working practices.
This blog is part of a series that discusses some of the key considerations for planning a successful enterprise level BIM implementation and is part of the white paper "the 5 pillars of a successful BIM implementation". You can download the white paper here.