I was recently asked, when should we start using BIM on a project? I, and most people in my role would say, right from the beginning. To be clear, however, and you may already know this, BIM is the project process within which Revit used. That said, deciding whether or not to use the BIM process should be made at the very beginning of the project. Once you’ve decided to employ the BIM process, the next step is to decide which application(s) to execute within it. In our case at Perkins Eastman, we use Revit, but other applications that might be used could include Rhino for design, Navisworks for clash detection, Sefaira for energy analysis, etc. What most people are asking, though, with the question of when to use BIM is actually: should we spend the time creating existing conditions, just to then model and document renovations? While I would say the answer is yes, it once again comes down to having team members who can model those existing conditions in an efficient, not to mention quick, way so you can get to the more important work.
Secondly, I was asked what should a studio, office or firm do if they don’t have anyone to fill the role of Project BIM Lead (this role has a different name at every firm, but it’s basically the same role). The first step is to identify the strongest AND most experienced Revit users/BIM-based project participants in the studio, and put them on a path to become solid Project BIM Leads. That is to say, put them on separate Revit-based projects, make sure they, and their Project Managers, understand what their role is, and then staff the rest of each project with a mixture of beginner and intermediate users. The thought process has to be that the intermediate users, through experience, can one day become Project BIM Leads, and the beginners will become intermediate users (and, eventually, Project BIM Leads themselves). As a foundation, however, the studio leadership (in any, and every, studio, office or firm) needs to make the decision to set itself on this path and then allow that choice to influence a number of other, related, decisions (i.e. staffing, which consultants to work with, which BIM uses to employ – such as clash detection, energy analysis, etc.).
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