What the… It’s like alphabet soup and it’s also like the wild west out there, everyone staking their claim, evangelizing, growing their camps…but what’s it really mean. To me, and I’m lucky as we provide mostly the BM, not a very attractive acronym I realize as soon as I type it, but we provide the building model and then there is a whole lot of work to fill in the ‘I’ (Information) but what my position does afford me is to see how people are using these tools, how they understand them and what they hope to accomplish, but first lets decipher the soup and to me they break down into the majors (concepts) and the minors (processes).
BIM – Building Information Model.
VDC – Virtual Design and Construction
IPD – Integrated Project Delivery
Lean / Lean Construction
HPBMS – High Performance Building Management Systems
LPDS – Lean Production Delivery System (not sure I should have added this one but it came out Lean Construction Institute) and, well it fit well into the schema.
Well, what’s the point? I will go back to quoting a GC we worked for, who was one of the first to ask us for a Revit model of an existing building. ‘We now have the time and inclination to do things right’ This was as the real estate bubble was bursting, bids were more competitive and clients asking for hard bids. Loans had dried up. The old ways of doing things just did not seem to work or feel right and the lowest hanging fruit was putting together a building digitally, go over design options, costs, maintenance costs of those options going forward, operating costs for your choices, choosing, unearthing design problems digitally before a shovel hits the round, minimize change orders, get a building up quicker, for less money, and of equal or better quality with a firm assurance of what that building might cost you to run in the future, as the total life cycle costs of the building end up dwarfing the costs to build it.
So put any wrapper around it you want but it is about building digitally, communicating with your peers, subs, and anyone else who has a stake in it and getting it done. The playbook? Well that’s where we see all the acronyms come in and consultants forming and practices starting to help guide firms through this. My experience has been that GCs were the first to really adopt this, and the good ones have been through it, at least from the construction end, but there is a lot more learn, streamline and go through before there will be anything close to best practices (digitally) across all disciplines so I hope you like soup…But in the end, it’s like grandma says, ‘it’s good for you.’