Integrated BIM

by James L. Salmon, Esq.

The current best efforts at BIM result in something called a Federated BIM Model, which is an amalgamation of models created on disparate software platforms by a series of disparate entities bound together, at best, by an integrated agreement related to a single project. Few of the entities involved – be they owners, contractors, designers or software providers – are prepared to work together cooperatively and collaboratively. The software tools are not interoperable and cannot, generally, share BIM data on a cross disciplinary basis. Once cobbled together the Federated BIM Model is most often leveraged by constructors, both general contractors and trade contractors, to increase the efficiency and productivity with which they deliver their services. The occasional windfall is pocketed by the entity it falls to and others are simply frustrated by a series of strange new business processes.

Integrated teams of BIM enabled stakeholders formed in advance, trained together and deployed in an integrated, cooperative and collaborative environment is the key. That process is neither simple nor cheap, but it is necessary if the AEC/O industry wishes to leverage BIM effectively. The “business purpose” of a single family home, a convenience store, a storage facility, a commercial warehouse, a hospital, a server farm and a regional hospital are all very different. The owner of each facility has one level of interest in the digital assets associated with each such facility and its supporting infrastructure, while the community at large, the owner’s employees, emergency personnel and others who interact with the facility have other interests that merge, diverge and even clash with the owner’s interests. Real digital assets – i.e. Integrated BIM – that can be recorded, analyzed and accessed intelligently over time by relevant stakeholders will enable better decisions about how best to utilize such facilities.

Today, more than ever, we need to leverage information intelligently, effectively and efficiently. Integrated teams that learn to do so, throughout the life cycle of a facility, will increase the efficiency with which they deliver planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance services, gaining a market advantage over competitors.

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