It is a well-worn cliche that the construction industry is slow to embrace and sustain innovation and change, particularly in the application of digital technology. A recent study by McKinsey rated the industry as the second lowest ranking in embracing digital – just above hunting.
Government and client-led mandates aimed at reducing whole life cost and enhancing environmental performance have driven more widespread adoption, but have been accompanied by well-intentioned but often complex and arcane protocols which have often led to confusion and unrealisable expectations.
The starting point for any application of a new process and technology should always be the question “Why”, why change how you have always worked. The answer is often in plain sight – too much waste, too many delays, too many RFIs, lack of reliable handover information, uncertainty on outturn costs. Once this established, think about the “What”, what specific uses of technology will drive the greatest benefit to your business or project, how this will be implemented, then think about who is involved and when you need to act and prioritise actions. Also consider how much investment and your return on it.
None of this negates the need for rigorous forward planning, clear protocols and excellent communication and transparency on roles and responsibilities. But don’t ask for everything just because you feel everyone else in the industry is following standards they maybe don’t fully understand. After all, BIM is really about better information management.
Keep it simple, perhaps. Keep it appropriate, definitely.