The amount and quality of technology that construction professionals can draw on today is at an all-time high. But finding the right people to operate the systems is the only true way to efficiency, cost savings, and quality.
MORE THAN A COMPUTER
A virtual construction project, created by one of
PCL’s many BIM (building information modeling)
As PCL’s manager of virtual construction
, I recently attended an AGC
Building Information Modeling (BIM) forum revolving around the “Human Side of BIM.” I honestly didn’t think much of the topic when I signed up, and I anticipated it was going to be purely academic and too touchy-feely for anyone really interested in improving construction tools and process. Turns out, it was one of the most interesting BIM forums I have attended. Whenever I present to a client who knows nothing about BIM, I always begin by affirming that BIM is about “People, Process, and Tools.” Although I always include people as the most important part of integrated workflows, I was surprised how well the presenters articulated this point.
TALENT OPTIMIZES TECHNOLOGY
BIM has long been thought of as the software that building professionals use to deliver a project. The better software you use, the higher the quality of results you will get. But I think the software or tool is irrelevant to a degree. There are a number of high-quality tools on the market and capable technicians to operate them. So it seems simple enough; use Revit
to create lift drawings instead of CAD
, or use Navisworks
to coordinate the MEP trades instead of a light table--same tasks, new tools. But putting that program into the hands of a knowledgeable construction professional will yield, by far, the best results.
There’s a perception that if someone is too good at using one of these tools, they will be pigeon-holed into a BIM role for life! This view is something we need to address industry-wide to understand that BIM is not an activity or role by itself, but it supports all construction activities: estimating, scheduling, planning, constructability review, version control, document control, coordination, layout, and commissioning. A wide range of contracting professions should possess the knowledge or be working towards an enhanced understanding of the most up-to-date building and modeling technologies.