Do you work for a product manufacturer in the construction industry? Please read this.
In the last couple of years more and more has been said about BIM and how it will transform the construction industry in the UK. There are big conferences, seminars, government funded training courses, whole issues of Building dedicated to it. But something has been largely missing from this conversation – the manufacturers of construction products.
A while ago I wrote a post on Linkedin about BIM and product manufacturers in construction. It was called ‘Product Data Templates for Manufacturers – not #BIM Objects’. I invited people in manufacturing to share what their experience of BIM had been in the last year. As you can see from the post, most of the comments were from people who are involved somehow in making BIM objects, or who are already advocates of BIM. Some of them disagreed with the article, in which I suggested that perhaps it wasn’t necessary to make BIM objects of all your construction products. Others sought to fill the considerable gaps in my knowledge on the subject – which I’m most grateful for. I’m a rank amateur it must be said.
I appreciate all these comments, but they aren’t relevant. What we need to hear about is what manufacturers think about BIM, what they know about it, what their experience of it has been, and what they FEEL about it. Because without construction product manufacturers participating in BIM, it is dead in the water.
Take it from me; I love the idea of BIM. I’ve spent too many years of my career re-entering data to want to wish it on anyone else. And too much time trying to fix broken decision paths and failed conversations! If BIM can help us build better buildings, more effectively and for everyone’s benefit, then I’m all for it.
I have several clients who work in the manufacture and supply of construction products, and know many other people in this sector.
- Some of the construction product manufacturers I know have been given the impression they have to make expensive BIM Objects of all their products before 2016 or they won’t be able to be used in government funded projects.
- Some of them are being drawn into spending a lot of money that they might not have to spend because there isn’t independent advice (that is, independent of any company who is likely to gain pecuniary advantage from them making a decision).
- Others are sitting on the side-lines saying ‘we won’t do it because it doesn’t make commercial sense’.
- Others smell a rat.
These are the people we need to hear from, because if we don’t then nothing is going to happen with BIM.
Fortunately we may be able to hear from them, thanks to a voluntary community set up by the Government Task Group on BIM, supported by the Construction Products Association and various members from across construction and manufacturing. The community called BIM for Manufacturers and Manufacturing (BIM4M2).
I’ve been seconded onto the BIM4M2 Promotions Working Group to help the group inform their work, decide how to help manufacturers and create and promote useful resources. The community has two other working groups; one on Education, and another looking at Data Templates.
The stated vision of BIM4M2 is
For the UK construction product manufacturing sector to be recognised as a world leader in the integration of BIM and manufacturing technologies to supply the products and solutions for a sustainable built environment.
In order to have any chance of doing this, we have to represent the views of everyone in manufacturing.
The BIM4M2 promotions working group has created a survey which they hope will collect responses from people who work in construction product manufacturing in the UK and give us an honest picture of where manufacturing stands in relationship to BIM.
I’m hoping the survey will be completed not just by the people in manufacturing companies who know about BIM but by everyone who works there, from the marketing people to the field operatives, the sales people to the technical assistants. That way we’ll get the best possible overview of where we stand.
If you know all or nothing about BIM, or just a little, please complete this survey if you work in construction product manufacturing. This is your chance to tell us what you think about BIM in confidence.
Please take the survey by clicking on the link below. It should take about 10 minutes.
If you have colleagues or friends in manufacturing, if they have talked about BIM or never mentioned it, please ask them to complete it too. We want to get as accurate a picture of the state of things as we can.
The survey is continuing through the summer and results will be published in the Autumn. It should make interesting reading, if enough people take part.