Are you too busy for BIM?

October 11, 2018 Joel Martineau

Why you should implement BIM into all your design efforts


Are we too busy to incorporate BIM into design? BIM allows the architecture, engineering, and construction industry to collaborate more effectively and improve the design process. The opportunity to rely on data embedded in model objects has transformed how we approach cost estimating, quality assurance, design- construction transition, and finally building operations. For this to happen, everybody needs to play their part, but not every member of a project team is as willing to accept the changes associated with a BIM-enabled workflow. There seems to be a common recurring theme: “I have enough on my plate already and don’t have the time to do BIM.”

Projects implementing BIM-enabled workflows may struggle with maintaining BIM Execution Plans (BEPs), modelling to the level of definition / detail (LOD) du jour, and producing deliverables ranging from Facilities Management (FM) models to COBie datasheets. The myriad of new requirements and planning associated with successful BIM delivery cannot only appear difficult to manage, but can also distract us from our primary design focus of improving the fabric of the built environment. 

How do we as “BIM Believers” convince others to take the leap?



New processes that a project team deems burdensome are often not accepted. The reality is the benefits of BIM can be achieved if project teams take a measured approach to its implementation. Firms should start by identifying the critical areas where the use of BIM can make a big difference with minimal impact. Reduce the time spent on documentation by using smart annotation methods; providing more time for design exploration. Harness the power of virtual reality to ensure your clients really understand the spaces you design for them. By introducing processes that quickly demonstrate the value proposition, your team will be more likely to get on board.

_q_tweetable: By demonstrating how BIM can become part of a team’s daily routine, we can debunk the myth of its implementation being “extra work"._q_

Stantec has developed an internal education program, which offers a variety of learning methods. This is key to maximizing participation and providing flexibility for staff to continually develop their skills while actively engaged in project work. We subscribe to several online eLearning platforms, allowing staff access to software titles ranging from Microsoft Office to Autodesk. These courses can be taken at their own pace, and away from the office.

Learning is a process. It is imperative to focus your efforts on tasks appropriate for your level of knowledge, gaining confidence as you eventually perform more complex tasks. Don’t expect to be able to fully utilize the power of visual programming and computational design on day one. Instead, concentrate on developing basic skills and understanding what possibilities exist as you progress to learning more complex tasks.

When working as a team, all parties must contribute to this common goal of working smarter, not harder. Is dedicating time and fee to clash detection a good investment if you’re working with a mechanical engineer embarking on their first BIM project with a structural engineer who’s been doing it for years? Probably not. But there are alternatives that allow both parties of varying skillsets to achieve a coordinated design. Take advantage of applications that use a gaming approach for navigation to allow the project team to interact with models outside of authoring platforms. Simply walking through the model can reveal coordination issues that need to be addressed.

By demonstrating how BIM can become part of a team’s daily routine, we can debunk the myth of its implementation being “extra work.” Ensure you have a solid implementation plan along with the backing of senior leadership. Dedicate both the capital and human resources to manage the implementation. Teams should not have to figure out how to use new tools associated with a BIM-enabled workflow; their focus should be on learning new workflows after the implementation team has determined the best approach. Document your best practices and market them. If no one knows these exist or where to find this information, there will be no incentive to change their current practices.

At Stantec, the Buildings Digital Practice team regularly fosters creativity and innovation through the use of design technology by exploring ways to improve the design, delivery, and handover of facilities to our clients. Slowly easing your firm into benefits of BIM will encourage project teams to embrace new tools and processes to push the boundaries of design.

About the Author

Joel Martineau

Joel Martineau oversees BIM implementation across all of our international offices, and he participates in the overall planning and direction for the entire firm as part of the corporate BIM team.

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