Procore, an all-encompassing software suite for managing construction projects, is a tool I use daily, and have become quite fond of. Moreover, the company is extremely forward-thinking in its approach to business, and the software development team is a fully Agile shop that, as I know from personal experience, is committed to constant improvement of their product for the benefit of end users.
The company also has a pretty great blog that focuses on lessons learned, best practices and highly effective teams. In a recent post at the Procore blog, UK construction freelance writer Paul Wilkinson discusses a major difference between European design/construction practices and those of the US: mandatory adoption of BIM.
Given that US federal and state administrations may be reluctant to mandate BIM as the UK did, perhaps the US can learn from the wider European experiences? In 2016, the European Commission asked the EU BIM Task Group to help align public sector use of BIM across the region. The group has developed a handbook, published in July 2017, covering procurement measures, technical considerations, cultural, and skills development, and the benefits case for BIM and ‘going digital’ for policy makers and public clients. It collates experiences from over 20 countries and presents a strategic framework to deliver robust and effective BIM programmes, identifying four key areas for action:
1. Establishing public leadership
2. Communicating vision and fostering communities
3. Developing a collaborative framework
4. Growing client and industry capability and capacity
It is all too easy to look at BIM as the obvious answer to so many outstanding issues and inefficiencies that exist in the built environment. However, as Wilkinson points out, that may be easier said than done:
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is more than just adoption of digital modeling technologies for design and construction. Its successful adoption also requires deep changes to how clients procure their projects, and new professional roles and responsibilities. These are significant steps, and, in an industry long prone to inertia, they may deter many from even starting.