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Monday, February 20, 2012

BIM is at a crossroads

WSP Group is a global design engineering and management consultancy specialising in Property, Transport & Infrastructure, Industry and Environment projects.

They recently released a report entitled:
10 Truths about BIM

Personally, I find the following so-called 'truths' most challenging:
  • 4 - BIM will destabilise the construction industry.
  • 9 - The software platform is at a crossroads.
I'm unsure what is fully meant by 'destabilise' in point 4, but I guess if it means a shake-up, then that is probably true.

Point 9 is quite interesting - I think we are about to see a new battle in software - the battle for Data.  At the moment, we have plenty of model creation tools, and none that truly dominate (Revit, ArchiCAD, Bentley are probably the best known).  But the next phase of BIM software seems to be the client-server packages that store and present your data, such as VEO.  You can read more about some of these competing technologies here.

In the report, it quotes from another article entitled CAD standardisation in the construction industry — A process view, which can be downloaded from here.  This document makes an interesting observation with regard to 'de facto' file format standardisation:
And its quite true - DWG, PDF and MP3 have gained ubiquitous status because they won the war to be the defacto exchange format for their particular medium.  We don't have that yet for BIM - but I guess it is coming...

You can download the full WSP report here.

What do you think?  Have you read the report?  Feel free to comment...

10 points via WSP blog post:
BIM: 10 truths about BIM

Heads up and PDF link via:
Village BIM


  1. Wotta crock of marketing manure. This company invests heavily in software written for architects, because it makes design easier for architects. They become very expert in this design software, and then tell the world that the future is the software in which WSP are experts. Circular Marketing: buy our product because it's the best - it says so right here in this report!

    There are very few facilities management folks who even use CAD, let alone BIM. They don't need it, but software producers keep saying that they do. Maybe if they wish hard enough it could come true, right? Just like all the stuff on Autodesk's other wish lists, eh?

  2. With regards to truth 4: Yes indeed shake-up could be interchanged with destabilise. While no-one is suggesting it will be an easy passage, the general consensus is that the utopia of pure BIM is an ideal worth pursuing, even if it is still a partially unknown quantity and will create some short to medium term pain.

    I think that data management and software platforms are very closely aligned. Most model formats are simply presenting a proprietary method of accessing a database of information. I am certainly in favour of open, non-proprietary standards, however there doesn’t seem to be a perfect solution as yet. Will have a good look at VEO.

    Peter: If you read the report you will realise that no particular software is espoused at all. WSP uses a range of softwares across many market sectors and geographical regions. The '10 Truths' was actually developed to promote dialogue around BIM in general, so in that sense I guess we have been successful!

    Disclaimer: Yes I work for WSP :)