The 2016 Fall BIMForum, held in Atlanta October 17 – October 19, 2016, has wrapped up and I can now say I’m a BIMForum veteran as this was my second conference. The theme for this event is of particular interest to us: “What is the New Standard for Professional Coordination?” As an industry, this is an area that I feel is often left off because teams believe the work and time commitment involved is too heavy, particularly up front.  I bim2was excited to hear some examples of how project coordination worked for other teams.

If there is one major point to be taken from the first day of presentations it has to be that in the current state of the industry, it isn’t our tools or technology that are holding us back, it’s that we need to improve our processes and communication in order to be able to take advantage of the tools. Almost every presenter who took the stage on the first day spent some time discussing communication. I found this particularly interesting as we really stress the importance of clear and effective communication to our in-house teams and with their clients.

There were also a few takeaways relating to design teams. I attended at least one presentation that touched on the usefulness of design models or models from the design teams. The statement that really stood out was “all too often a bad model can make good drawings, which is a limitation to moving our industry forward”. This statement holds true in more than one way.  First, turning over a poor model to the contractor really doesn’t help the coordination process and will likely result in a profusion of RFIs. Secondly, poor models can produce decent drawings but generally lack solid internal coordination because the advantages of BIM are completely disregarded. Using a 3D modeling program to produce decent drawings is basically using a complex drafting tool.

The other main conclusion from a design team standpoint is the part we should play in project coordination. We should be willing and prepared to work with the contractor or person running the coordination. It is understandable to keep that participation within reason but be ready to take part in the conversations and take advantage of the technologies and new processes that are here. It won’t be long before they are the industry standard. There’s no time like the present to start getting involved.

Did you attend The 2016 Fall BIMForum? If so, what were your takeaways?  Feel free to share them with us on twitter @PESengineers #BIMFORUM16

mattsweeneyAuthor: Matt Sweeney, PE

Matt is our BIM Program Manager; his focus is to provide BIM production support, internal Revit training, research and development of BIM strategies for future business services, and to support BIM marketing and business development initiatives. Matt has over 15 years of experience in structural engineering design and consulting for public and private clients on wide array projects types ranging from education facilities to retail facilities.

Matt can be reached at msweeney@pesengineers.com.