BIM Forum Reflections

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Jennifer M. Heikkinen, Senior Project Manager, shares a few of her key observations from last week’s BIM Forum.  The topic of the forum was VDC deliverables.

·        There continues to be a high level of industry activism geared toward extracting the maximum potential out of existing virtual construction software while simultaneously pushing the software industry to provide even more functionality.  For some A/E and CM firms, the software is not keeping pace with business needs and the AEC industry is starting to employ programmers to write scripts and parametric programs to provide enhanced design tools in a VDC world.

·        Lean thinking and integrated processes are here to stay in the industry.  Tomorrow’s builders and designers will be those that can fully embrace collaboration to deliver the maximum client value.  Integrated processes require frequent and intense interaction between building owners, clients, and designers.  Those interactions must be transparent to enable a project team culture of trust and learning.  Each member of the project team must be able to recognize when they have added the most value they can to a design or building element and openly pass the baton to the next team member that can add value to the design / building element in question.  Only integrated and lean thinking will remove impediments to full use of BIM technology

·        As an industry, project teams need to ensure we provide a sufficient amount of focus on the lifecycle cost of the building.  Penn State indicated that 75% of the lifecycle cost is in the O&M phase of the building.  BIM helps ensure clash free installation of above ceiling mechanical and mechanical equipment in tight quarters; however, those installations previously unachievable without BIM are not without added costs of maintenance and operation.  A system installed without proper consideration for maintenance can result in routine maintenance costs 2 times the average cost and corrective maintenance of 4 times the average cost.  These magnified costs may persist on a repeated basis for over 25 years.  Properly considering maintenance needs will insure that the BIM ROI achieved in the design and construction process is not eroded in the future.

·        And last but certainly not least, what was my ultimate conclusion on what we as an industry should be providing as our deliverables? Well built, easy to maintain, buildings, of course!


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