Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BIM and Specifiers

So it's been a busy spring, and between AIA, CSI and other speaking engagements I was roped into (happily I will add) I haven't had time to post. From these shows and engagements, I have taken away one primary point... BIM is experiencing the largest growth that it's seen to date. Everyone is at least looking at BIM, even if they are not ready to approach it. Architects, engineers and manufacturers are embracing it more and more every day, and surprisingly enough, specifiers are as well.

Two years ago, many specifiers viewed BIM as the technology that will put them out of business. Now, it seems, the focus has shifted on how BIM can improve their workflow and make them a more necessary component of a project. I will point out that there is a clear difference between a "Spec Writer" and a "Specifier". It's not a semantic difference. A Spec Writer is really more of an editor. With guide specifications and master specifications that automate much of the authoring of a project manual, the writing of specifications (Fingers to keys) has actually become the labor aspect of the specifier's role, which is often sourced out to someone else. The Specifier is the individual who is responsible for and qualified to make educated decisions on which product is to be used on a given project, in a given location under given circumstrances. In short, a spec writer can tell you what product is selected; the specifier can tell you why it was chosen.

Now what does this all mean to BIM? BIM is a technology that is driven by information, not by graphics, so the need for more robust information is going to become essential as more people adopt it into their practice. I am finding that there is a glorious lack of individuals with ehough knowledge of products that are involved with the development and creation of BIM families, elements, objects and systems, so the responsibility lies between the manufacturer (Who doesn't understand revit) and the A/E who doesn't have the time to research the information.

Specifiers have a great opportunity to step to the plate and embrace this opening, becoming the keeper of all things technical and informational within a BIM project. I truly believe that it is the right place for them to be, and with enough individuals involved, can start a movement which will bring the specifier's role to the forefront of BIM projects.