When BIM Falls Down : Call Me Maybe : It’s Communication

There was a headline grab, “Late-Arriving BIM Model,Overruns Cost US Almost $10 Million” a few days back.  I’d include the link through ENR but it’s already dead and only for paying customers. But who or what actually fell down?  Did the lateness of the model cause the cost over runs?  Was it a lousy model?  However, that prompts the question, or search “BIM Lawsuit“, and you know what,you do not get back many results.  The article BIM Offers Cautionary Tale from the Architectural Record comes up first and is from May 19, 2011.  A few bits from the article:

“The contractor sued the owner, the owner sued the architect, and XL brought in the MEP engineer. “It was a very costly claim to negotiate,” says Lewis. XL(the insurance company) did not litigate the claim because it would be difficult for any jury to comprehend.

But more importantly:

The problem was poor communication. “The design team never discussed the installation sequence with the contractor, and the contractor wasn’t sophisticated enough” to understand the importance of assembling the components in a certain order, says Lewis.

So quick over view, it was communication, not the model, but overall insight, we’ve got one law suit coming up and it was settled in May 2011, how long has BIM been around?  So that seems like a pretty good track record, or awesome legal representation and contractual agreements, or what?  Fast forward to this latest article and it still seems to be a communication and coordination problem, the BIM was provided late, the clash detections were late, and it seemed no one wanted to take responsibility for the development of the a ‘clash free’ model.  Now I am doing this by memory since I got one read in, linked it and now its gone so please forward a link or copy if you have one.  However, it comes down to communication, one still sees the power of BIM and the fact that it unearthed 50K+ clashes, still digitally so not sure if the cost over runs were due to change orders and time delays or redoing the whole BIM model.  What does this scream though, “it’s the process people.”

In most cases each contractor is going to work within their particular area of expertise and provide said BIM Model to the level of detail that they are contractually obligated to, in fact, I’ve been asked to do a Revit Model for a just built building because it was required at the end of the project, they wanted it for short money, tail light guarantee, just so they could check off a box.  Not necessarily what the process was supposed to be about, but they were filling their obligation.

The ratio of BIM Success v. BIM Cautionary Tale is 143,238.2 to 1, but I can see where the cautionary tale makes people question the technology? Wrong.  Question the process



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  1. #1 by Erik on October 3, 2012 - 9:33 am

    Ah yes, the BIM made me fail argument. Classic. Wrong, but classic…

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