The switch to BIM: bigger than just going from 2D to 3D
So you’re thinking about making the jump to BIM. Or perhaps you’ve been using ArchiCAD for years and have just upgraded to the latest version. What can you do to make the transition smoother?
- Know where you are coming from. I cringe every time I hear people complain about how BIM takes longer. How many of them know how long things really used to take? Does your firm know how long a typical employee spends doing one interior elevation? How about two, three, or twenty of them? BIM benefits from the Network Effect; make sure to compare not just individual tasks, but the whole process.
- Know why you’re making the switch. Is it for IPD, to keep up with everyone else, because you want integrated documentation and visualizations, you want to produce faster, because some person or company told you that you need to switch? Understanding why you are switching to BIM will help you reap the benefits and stay on task. There are countless advantages, but make sure to focus on the ones that are important to you.
- Accept and embrace that BIM is different. You need to commit to both learning and using BIM. BIM thinking is fundamental to your worth as an architect; understanding and incorporating ArchiCAD into your process is vital. If you view ArchiCAD as an external add-on to your existing workflow, its benefits will be hindered.
- To succeed in BIM, you need to tackle both an increase in complexity and order. This is a big deal. Templates and best practices are vital. I’ll talk about this point more in another post (most likely posts).
- Find yourself a guide. An employee who’s made the transition before (internal BIM Champion), an outside consultant, a friend at another firm, or a helpful blogger; a guide will make the transition easier. Spend your energies growing and improving, not reinventing the wheel.
- Share, share, share. You are not alone. Seek help from those farther on the path and help those behind you. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn. And opening yourself to others’ knowledge will help you find the answers you can’t see on your own.
- Allow time for reflection. Listen to everyone who makes the transition in your firm. Interns, designers, production staff, project architects, and principals all have valuable input.
- Get full, CONTINUED support from management. Make sure management understands that their role as stakeholders in the transition is equal to that of those using the software. If the leaders of the firm don’t understand, embrace, and encourage the transition, much energy and effort will be wasted. The transition might still succeed, but the risks are HUGE.
- Incremental steps. You don’t need to tackle every aspect of ArchiCAD and BIM at once. Think back to #2 above. If an aspect of ArchiCAD doesn’t align with your reasons for using the program, don’t stress about it. There’ll be plenty of time.
- Don’t rush. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got a lot of career ahead of you, so find a pace of learning that works well for your firm’s business model.
For more great advice on the transition to BIM, check out ArchiCAD guru Djordje Grujic’s advice. What other tips are in your Top 10 for making BIM and ArchiCAD a success?
The Bigger Plan: my intent is to elaborate on many of these tips in future blog posts.