B.I.M., Video Games, and Cell Phones
B….I…. M.Sounds simple.Three unassuming letters that represent an electronic program for designing buildings.That’s all it is, yet to some, it seems to represent so much more.A technological panacea that is going to revolutionize the AEC industry and save us all from ruin.It is going to magically make the design process easy and fast, eliminate miscommunication and mistakes, align everyone’s’ incentives and make construction costs and schedules accurate and efficient.
It is imperative that we continue to search for ways to increase efficiency.The proper application of technology is undoubtedly appropriate for this task, but when confronted with a problem that is not one of efficiency, it is wishful thinking to apply technology hoping the problem might change to fit the solution.We have become so reliant on technology that we automatically turn to it for every problem we encounter, like the proverbial “man with a hammer seeing every problem as a nail.”There is no doubt that technology can improve our capacity to collaborate, cooperate and communicate, but capacity is not the bottleneck.It is NOT our ABILITY; it is our DESIRE that is missing.We simply don’t want to.In the way we practice today is not in our interest, and there is no technological answer that will make it so.But this is changing, with or without us.
Communicating and collaborating are hard work, they require compromise and conflict.They require risk taking, and researching areas beyond our traditional expertise.True collaboration requires new business models and reaching outside our comfort zones.Despite what many might like to believe, these are not qualities typically associated with our industry.Designers much prefer to focus on what they can control, their small part of the whole.Technological solutions are fun, like video games and cell phones and one can find a little niche for their own self expression within them.But that self expression, that autonomy is entirely contrary to the ideal of collaboration.The industry seems to be clinging to technology as a way to impersonalize this collaboration, to force a protocol.Collaboration can be much simpler than that, and it will be.And when it is, we will begin to see what elements of B.I.M. truly create value, and what elements are just video games and cel phones.