“BIMwash:” Does this undermine BIM adoption?
BIMwash,” in common with other “-washes” (e.g. “Greenwash”) is to directly quote from an excellent article written back in 2017 on BIM+ “the inflated and sometimes deceptive claim of using or delivering BIM products or services.”
Back in April 2016, the Government’s long anticipated Mandate came into effect, which stipulated that all centrally procured new build projects (i.e. public sector) will have to be delivered to BIM Level 2, defined by the so called Bew-Richards Maturity Model.
The issue-the principle BIMwash-comes from companies claiming to be Level 2 when upon further scrutiny, they are best Level 1. Level 1 is effectively producing drawings using software such as Revit, fast becoming the (misplaced) byword for BIM, instead of 2D AutoCAD. In truth, it has been rather too easy for these companies to make such claims as BIM is still in its relative infancy. It is also worth stressing that some of these companies might be making such claims unwittingly and in good faith. It is a lack of knowledge that is fuelling this BIMwash. However, regardless of intent, the reality is clients are in these instances not receiving a service that the Government has mandated. More specifically, clients are not receiving the all-important data that underpins BIM, the “I” or “Information.” Without this data, it is not possible to accurately run clash-detection reports, provide operator clients with the technical information required for on-going service and maintenance nor the ability for the contractor to hand over an as-built BIM Model. This would include Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Manuals. In short, without this data, BIM is not BIM at all.
What then can we do to avoid BIMwash? The most simple answer is COBie. COBie is defined as being:
“Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) is a non-proprietary data format for the publication of a subset of building information models (BIM) focused on delivering asset data as distinct from geometric information.” (“What is COBie? October 2018 NBS)
In less technical language, COBie is used to share the data between all relevant parties and takes the form of a series of Excel spreadsheets that are populated by such parties. Therefore, if any company is not utilising COBie or are unable to demonstrate how they are using it effectively, that company is not at Level 2.
Here at Airedale we have made huge strides in the past 18 months, ever since we directly employed our own BIM Manager. Darran has worked tirelessly to populate COBie whilst also training our own in-house design department. Recent meetings we have held with a number of clients has confirmed that we are comfortably operating within the parameters of Level 2 and as such, we are not culpable of BIMwashing our clientbase. Recent projects and the strength in relationship we have with leading main contractors has afforded us the opportunity to build our own knowledge. As Darran surmises, BIM is “a collaboration of thinking, a collaboration of working and a visibility of information.” If anyone cannot provide you with this visibility of information, they are Level One not Level Two, which could lead to issues for all parties when that particular project begins to be delivered.
We are keen to hear people’s opinions on BIMwash, experiences and incidences of this happening and how it has affected your project. Join in the discussions across social media using the # #BIM #BIMwash. If you are an architect or main contractor BIM Manager and would like us to discuss how we could help you, please complete the contact form on this website.