UNLOCKING THE POWER OF DIGITAL
Part 2: Shifting Attitudes – From IM to PM
Sweco author: Andrew Krebs, Building Performance Digital Manager
Following on from Part 1, I want to take stock of where we have got to. In brief, we looked at the facile Acronymisation of BIM, we explored how 3D modelling took over the initial charge when transitioning into a BIM environment and we may have lost sight of the underlying information that we were creating. We left off as the industry was starting to wake up and realise the value and importance of this stuff and pondering how best to set ourselves up to address this. In this final part, and with great thanks and reference to those who commented or wrote to me after the first part of the blog, we will pick up the thread and see where it takes us…
I work as a digital manager within a large consultant’s buildings division. As consultants, we don’t create many physical objects as part of our projects, we create information. It has always been thus and that’s what we are good at. So far, so uncontroversial.
Previously our information has been managed as a result of a joint effort between the engineers/consultants and the project managers. This is also not particularly controversial, I cannot imagine how it would be any different. This system works.
Recently we have added a third cog to this gear and it is the BIM/Information Management cog. We have been given the task of “doing the BIM stuff” and a lovely cottage industry has grown up around servicing this function and plenty people are making a ton of money out of it. Lovely!
The problem is, that this is just digital project management. Too many project managers didn’t engage or weren’t engaged when BIM reared its head, there were ‘BIM people’ for that, why would they change what they have been successfully doing for years? The engineers largely responded in the same way, carry on as before and give the (B)IM stuff to the BIM team.
So we threw in a third cog and tried to reconcile the extra costs with sometimes apocryphal promises of efficiencies and savings on projects. Often we did save a bit of time or money, too often we didn’t, so we charged more. That’s not a brilliant outcome.
Now, I think, we can see where this is going. Information Management is Project Management (PM). There is no need for a third tranche of data pushers on a project. The savings that BIM promised us were based upon the existing project management and delivery mechanisms adapting to the digital world, instead we just bolted it on and did the traditional PM role and IM roles in parallel. So efficiencies were harder to realise.
If we make this final shift, we unlock the power of digital.
If we make this final shift, we unlock the power of our people, our firm and ourselves.
To bring our industry into the digital future where we can answer the truly searching questions we are being asked, the Building Safety Act 2022, BS 8644, the golden thread. These three things (there are more) are closely interrelated and will change our industry, our business and our personal approaches to how we work. A business could, in some scenarios, become criminally liable for the veracity of its design activities.
Do we really want to, or expect to meet these challenges head-on without an efficient and integrated approach to project and information management?
Contact Andrew.Krebs@sweco.co.uk to discuss all things Information Management