RICS BIM Conference

It should be patently obvious to everyone that attended the RICS BIM Conference (9th Feb’12) that the FUTURE is BIM.

My take on the day involves:

  • Trains
  • Disintermediation
  • Paul Morrell’s schadenfreude
  • Dinosaurs-in-waiting

As numerous presentations indicated the BIM-Train is leaving the platform and you need to get on board…

or get left behind.

In other words, the industry, but QS’s in particular have to recognise the threat classified by Simon Rawlinson as disintermediation. Which Simon describes as ‘other people doing what you currently do’. Plenty of examples were highlighted, but the recent demise of Kodak should be a lesson to all. (Simon explained that Kodak invented the digital camera, but failed to exploit the innovation for fear of killing their golden goose: traditional film!)

QS’s were constantly encouraged to realise the opportunity that BIM represents – although it’s not going to be easy to find, according to Simon. But essentially it means changing …

The QS should be ideally placed to significantly contribute to the hypothesis of the BIM Strategy to derive significant improvement in cost, value and carbon performance; this is what QS’s are about after all! However, listening to the presenters and in particular the client from John Lewis Partnership, it would appear QS’s don’t really understand cost (contractors do though!) and there was a constant plea to add-value; the implication being QS’s don’t!

Paul Fletcher enigmatically pleaded for change, chastising the industry for its pathetic use of information. Paul promoted systems thinking as an approach to understand what a client wants and to deliver value; lean is a sub-set of systems thinking and QS’s are systems thinkers, even if they don’t realise it! Paul also challenged everyone to consider what industry we’re in; and it’s not construction!

Paul Morrell has done his utmost to provide QS’s with the opportunity to promote their value-adding skills through the authoring of the Government’s Construction Strategy. Paul was optimistic for the future of QS’s, however I believe his most interesting comment was “he won’t be happy until he hears people being unhappy about BIM” (The Germans would describe this as schadenfreude). This says to me that until we stop cheer-leading about the importance of BIM and start realising the pain involved in implementing it, then we aren’t changing and we’re still on the platform.

Anyone that was not aware of the industry and listening to this conference would probably conclude that QS’s are dinosaurs-in-waiting. Whilst there was some cautious optimism, underneath it was a sombre message; was it the sounding of the death knell for the QS?

What is certain is the rallying cry has been sounded …

All aboard … all aboard the BIM-Train …

Thanks for reading,

3 thoughts on “RICS BIM Conference

  1. Good blog post Rob. Must admit I wish I had been able to get to the conference. Would have liked to have seen Simon Rawlinson’s ‘coffee cup’ and heard from Paul Fletcher, first hand, about his systems thinking approach. Couldn’t agree more with Paul that QS’s are ‘systems thinkers’.

    • Certainly agree with the Paul Fletch comments, for the current QS there is too much focus on construction costs and budgets. There was a real focus yesterday to suggest that we need to work in total co-ordination with the designers/architect/contractors to ensure that the design provides the best environment for the end user, at a price that the client is happy to pay.

      Also, as QSs we try to understand our client’s attitude towards risk, as BIM aims to mitigate risk through comprehensive pre-construction information, why can’t we try and understand their attitutes towards maintenance and WLCC?

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