BIM is a huge topic nowadays and everyone seems to be talking about it, often using highly descriptive words such as “Efficiency”, “Digitalisation”, “Compatibility” and others alike. Though most of us are well aware of the undeniable benefits of using BIM enabled systems, it is somewhat harder to grasp the ultimate practicality that the Building Information Modelling brings us on a day to day basis.
That is why we thought that it would be a good idea to share a real life BIM story with you. In the next few paragraphs I will be telling a compelling tale, where the protagonists overcome baffling obstacles through perseverance and ingenuity, showing immense power of will, all in the context of a harsh BIM deprived world. I would like, once again, to stress that this is a 100% authentic, real life, unscripted BIM(less) story.
Once upon a time (more precisely, October 2014), the good people from the Bulgarian branch of coBuilder decided to move in a new more spacious office. So they did. It was a great office building in the central part of the city, with lovely oval blue glass façade and plenty of room for the ever sogrowing coBuilder Bulgaria team.
We settled in comfortably and all seemed to be nice and cosy except one thing – the office windows were not designed to open. Though the virtues of modern day air conditioning are immense and impressive, all would agree, that it is important to get some fresh air, every now and then.
So we decided to add some opening mechanisms to the windows…
We needed some windows replaced with ones that open and we needed them done in a way that will not compromise the outside appearance of the building.
Naturally, we first went to the Facility Management company (1).
After a short talk, we found out that the FM did not have any information on the exact windows’ specifications or the manufacturer. After the FM company, we went to the Investor (2), who just shrugged his shoulders, showing he had no clue about that… Making things more difficult, we’ve been told that for unknown reason the General Contractor (3) of the building couldn’t be reached by either phone OR email. The only thing we could do, was to start digging through our own contacts, looking for a way to contact the company.
Couple of days and a number of phone calls later we finally reached the elusive contactor, who we hoped will be able to solve our window problems. We couldn’t have been more wrong. It turned out that they were heavily hit by the economic crisis and were no longer in business, which sounded like a good enough reason for why they couldn’t be reached so easy. The contractor, however, also did not have an idea of the windows specifications, so we were redirected to the Subcontractor (4) that installed the windows on the project.
We were back on track and had high hopes that this would be the day we will order the long-waited windows, only to find out that the company only assembled the end product. Apparently, the window frame and the glazing were bought from two separate importers (5),(6), who hopefully kept records of the sale and had the right inventory to make this all work. We were lucky enough to be given the contacts of the companies, so on we went in the search for windows.
It did not end there.
We contacted both companies, who politely explained that they used to import from a large Greek manufacturer, but for undisclosed reasons, both are no longer doing business with that company. At this point we almost gave up the idea of having openable windows and starting thinking that the air conditioning only option couldn’t really be all that bad.
Luckily for us we did keep on going and we managed to get the exact specifications of both the window frame and the glazing, and we got the name of the manufacturer (7) in Greece.
Feeling like winners, we picked up the phone and ordered the perfect set of windows for our new office. We got them installed a few weeks later and have been using them happily ever after.
…but before we go. For all of you story fans out there. Let’s enjoy another short story about our characters in a slightly different setting – the world of BIM.
(we will skip the background part and fast forward to “The Struggle”)
The struggle (BIM version)
We needed some windows replaced with ones that open and we needed them done in a way that will not compromise the outside look of the building.
We went to the Facility Manager’s (1) office. He greeted us politely, opened his laptop and checked the data attributed to the BIM model by coBuilder’s ProductXchange… he then called the company in Greece and ordered the window set.
Not even slightly entertaining, right?
The truth is, that whether we want it or not, whether we feel prepared for it or not, BIM is rushing towards us and we better be ready for that collision if we want to remain part of the industry. We are at the dawn of an imminent digital transformation, completely revolutionising the way we manage our projects. With the COBie requirement going into effect April 2016 and the EU recently discussing implementing BIM requirements for the whole union, we can be certain that in a very limited time, the clients themselves will require it. But, how can we blame them, who wouldn’t want to have their property BIMified?