Think HBR

Using and sharing BIM with your next project

Andrew Barnard
Webber Architects
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is becoming mainstream in the documentation of projects within the construction industry and is now a regularly requested deliverable of architects. Our role is to educate the building owner on BIM applications and implications, and assist the owner in taking steps towards implementing this methodology to support their business.
Using BIM has some clear advantages however there are some factors of which to be aware when using this product.
BIM delivers a high level of refinement in document production, can reduce time and costs in documentation, and can reduce clashes and inconsistencies on site. In time, BIM is likely to become a standard service for builders and building owners to own and use. It is important to understand and have real expectations of the product to have confidence in using it.
One issue is the ownership of a model that has been jointly created by multiple teams. Opposing views are that ownership lies with the consultant verses the building owner. Justifications supporting ownership by the building owner include that the time taken to generate a model has been paid for by the building owner; and that the building owner will be closest to the information and reality of the model long term.
The key intellectual property owned by the designer is the design itself. It is the design that asset users see and appreciate, and this should be copy-written rather than the method of recording the design itself.
If ownership of the model sits externally to the building owner, a blockage to the best use of the model is created which is therefore contrary to its very purpose. There will be times when the owner may not be able to operate the model, but this should not be used as a reason for not holding title to the information.
At the initiation of BIM documentation, ownership of the intellectual property should be clearly documented.
Issues can be encountered with proprietary systems when moving between packages. The software used to create BIM is only a tool and other tools are able to work on that model.
Standards for the interoperability of all platforms would be beneficial. Before initiating a BIM project ensure your teams are able to supply data required. Webber Architects can provide interoperability files natively in most CAD file formats.
BIM can streamline steps in the development cycle, help produce renders and images for sales and marketing; streamline feasibility calculations for a project; deliver a set of coordinated consultants’ documents; and provide a comprehensive model for facilities management.
While BIM may bring about some concerns around ownership and interoperability, it has many benefits. BIM will deliver overall increased value if used the right way in the right application.
For further information contact Webber Architects on (02) 4926 1078, email or visit