One of the big changes introduced by BIM on the design of buildings is interoperacio… interoperabicio… interoperacionabi… collaborative design.
Traditionally, a Project goes trough various stages and intervenients.
From the topography’s survey, the architect’s design, structural and building services engineers, cost estimators and construction managers, each project has it’s own multi-disciplinary team.
The traditional method, inherited from the analogical practice, puts each speciality on a given timeframe of the project, receiving work from former intervenient and passing it along to later ones.
The so called “those who come next will fix it”.
Basically, errors and omissions get passed along, on the general hope someone will detect and fix them.
Each specialist takes responsibility only for his piece of work, without worrying excessively with it’s compatibility.
Traditionally, project coordination goes to the architect, at least in theory. With the ever growing complexity of the structural and building services, the architect rarely has the knowledge or the time to really coordinate the whole project.
The speed that projects have to be done nowadays make them more a assembly line and less a team work.
Thus, problems detected at a later stage (p.e. collisions between architecture and HVAC) are extremely difficult to solve in the project’s schedule.
The three-dimensional model of our building, linked to a material database, shared by all the intervenient, purposes to solve this problem.
The objective is that all the elements of the design team will share a single data base, in constant improvement. The architect’s work, from the early stage of development, will be accessible to the engineers, allowing them to help in the search for solutions. All the projects will be correlated, insuring total compatibility. Authorship will be shared by all, as will responsibility.
Sounds great, no?
Of course, for this pink scenario to be reality, several hurdles will have to be surmounted:
- The architect won’t relinquish his prestigious coordinator role.
- Nobody is really set on saving the client’s money. All those extras that designers receive from construction material companies (voyages, abatements, work publications and even money) could be jeopardized if decisions are more transparent.
- Nobody wants to assume responsibility.
- Nobody wants to share his work.
- Nobody wants to submit his work to criticism.
- Nobody really knows how to work in a team.
Of course, most of these problems depend on the designer’s civic education, but professional education also has a big role in the acceptance or rejection of the BIM model.
As an example, we can see the work done by Jim Plume at the
Students of various courses like planning, architecture, structural and building services engineers, interior design, construction management, cost estimators, sustainability designers and landscape architects cooperate on a same project, simulating (what should be) the real world.
If we think how Portuguese universities work, closed up in each little backyard, it is easy to see our reality is very different.
For all these reasons, I believe implementing interoperability will be much harder than spelling the word.