If you think about it, even if we’re doing a single BIM project by ourselves (ie just our firm), unlike the times when each individual produced a drawing or a document, we are now working collaboratively. So, how I work on a model within my firm is directly affected by how other people work on that model. Once you then multiply that by how the way that the other consultants are working and eventually by the way the supply chain is working, working to a known set of standards is absolutely crucial to the success of BIM.

In a way, standards are BIM’ silver bullet; without them collaborating with others will at best be problematic and at worst will cause BIM to fail completely. It is standards that ensures that our data can be used throughout a facilities lifecycle.

Data about a particular asset is just the start of the story. If we can work to known standards across the industry that data can be analysed not just within an asset, but across assets and across projects – this is the start of the big data story and it is all dependent on adhering to well defined sets of standards.

Standards are also the basis which allows professional indemnity insurances, contracts and appointments at BIM Level 2 to be valid.

Discipline is incredibly important – I would suggest you initially police your teams very carefully to ensure everybody is following the standards that you have set. Gone are the days when an individual could add a few layers into a CAD model and expect that to be sufficient. We must work to set standards or our work will be unusable by others further down the line.

A valid question is ‘are all of these standards actually making more work for us?’. Well, it’s undoubtedly true that there is a short term learning curve in the adoption of standards – but once you know them, they’ll actually save the industry time.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if every new member of staff knew exactly how we work within our firm? They know how to label things and they know what different things means. By working to
our standards this will very quickly become just the norm – the way we work – and it will save us time and save us money.

In summary, standards are the key to successful BIM adoption.

Posted by Ben Wallbank

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