Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Specifier's Role in BIM

Since BIM is very much in its infancy, most architects are only scratching the surface of BIM. From what I have seen, it is primarily being used as a 3D modeling tool which speeds up the design process, but the data that can be captured and manipulated is not being used. Much of this is due to a disconnection between BIM and the specifier. Currently, the specifier holds no role in the development of a BIM model, and is “Left Out” of any Integrated Project Coordination which may occur. My goal is to bring that specifier into the BIM model, allow them to specify systems and products for the project and allow that data that is missed within the project to be harnessed BY the specifier FOR the designers, contractors, and owners. Essentially, the specifier has the opportunity to take on an additional role which will benefit not just the design professionals, but the Contractors, Facility Managers and Owners.

Currently, during the design process, most BIM projects are developed with generic products and systems rather than manufacturer specific components which carry data about a individual product’s performance, lifecycle, impact and efficiency. It is too cost and time prohibitive to require a Design Professional to update an entire project with manufacturer specific components after the design has been completed. If the specifier has the opportunity to specify through the BIM model in real time, Products and systems can be specified earlier in the design phase and could potentially streamline the bidding process by setting available and visible performance standards that bidders can access in real time.

First and foremost, the specifier needs to understand what BIM means to the built environment and the benefits BIM brings to their business and current workflow. Without understanding these basic concepts, there is no real reason to embrace this change and make the leap, especially for those who are later in their careers.

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