BIM – Quo Vadis?

Sometimes we hope to find the answer to the question by looking into a glass sphere. It would be nice if it were so simple. Unfortunately, it is not.

I do not really have to report on the BIM methodology itself. Germany is a digitally backward country. There are many nations around the world that are already further than us with digitalization. I only publish my articles on social networks in communities that deal with digitalization in the construction industry. BIM has been discussed in the communities for several years.

The German users are divided into different groups. There are the BIM professionals, BIM beginners with project experience, the users who are still in the thought phase and the non-users. BIM haters are rare. The non-users have made their decision. You do not want to work with BIM for various reasons. I cannot say how big each group is. I am pretty sure of one. The real BIM professionals are a minority.

Germany is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises. A typical medium-sized company participates in regional construction projects. Most architects usually always work successfully with the same companies over the years. BIM only has a chance in the Community if everyone decides to implement all projects together with BIM. For example, it often happens that the group is made up of BIM beginners, undecideds, and non-users. Real BIM projects are not implemented, and the BIM beginners do not become professionals.

If we want to have the chance to successfully implement and deploy BIM across the board, we must find a way to support all regional communities in their joint entry into digitalization. To take this one step further, we must ask ourselves why there are permanently undecided entrepreneurs and consistent non-users.

Does the practiced BIM methodology prevent entry into BIM?

At first glance, it is a provocative question. BIM offers many advantages. BIM improves planning. BIM helps to save and save resources. BIM in combination with Lean Construction ensures a smooth cooperation of all teams in all construction phases. Why do the many committed BIM consultants not succeed in persuading all those involved in the construction industry to use BIM together? Is it only a matter of time or are there other reasons?

For me, the BIM methodology consists of two different areas. Firstly, there is a theoretical description of the framework conditions and processes. Secondly, the many software products we used to accomplish the tasks. BIM cannot be done without software.

Germany tends to describe all framework conditions and processes meticulously down to the smallest detail. On the one hand, it makes sense. On the other hand, this gives the potential users the impression that all framework conditions and processes must first be described and fixed 100% before they can start. Many are somehow waiting for the top political or other responsible bodies to give the signal that the BIM rulebook for Germany is completely ready. We have seen it in many areas of our lives. Our public management staff is not willing to make decisions and prefer to put everything on the back burner.

Now all the detailed things described in the BIM rulebook must be packaged in software. When I formulated this sentence, I could not stop laughing. I have been working with many software manufacturers in different positions for over 30 years. The number of vendors developing software for BIM is unmanageable. In the individual departments, such as CAD, there have been fierce competition for market share for years. There is currently no software manufacturer that can map all necessary areas completely with software. For the processing of the BIM projects, however, we need an accessible digital process chain across all phases. The readers of this article are mainly BIM beginners or BIM professionals. You are all aware of the digital vulnerabilities in working with others.

In recent years, I have taken the trouble to identify almost all the points that make it difficult for users to work. Only if we succeed in eliminating these sticking points will we perhaps have a chance to convince the permanently undecided and the non-users. Then the question of Quo Vadis no longer arises.


Anyone who knows me knows that I follow digital approaches consistently and consider further steps. If you do not know me and have a question, you can contact me via social networks. To develop an accessible digital BIM solution, it is not enough for us to think further based on existing solutions. All the innovations that result from this will not bring us closer to our goal. Innovation can only be disruptive. Complex disruptive solutions need to be developed before these potential users can be convinced of their usefulness. Most small and medium-sized software manufacturers do not have the necessary capital and knowledge. The decision-makers of the major software manufacturers in the BIM segment always keep an eye on their share prices and, if and at all, only dare to approach innovative solutions. The danger would also be too great that meaningful disruptive approaches will disappear into drawer somewhere in the organizational structures for domestic political reasons. Unfortunately, BIM is not an issue for the very large software companies.

But we should not give up hope. Perhaps there is an opportunity spontaneously for us to produce a BIM solution that also inspires those we have not been able to win for BIM.

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