I saw the future of BIM (from a Belgian point of view…)

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Frédéric Debouche
Frédéric Debouche
Included topics
  • BIM
  • 3D model
  • clash detection
  • 4D planning
Applied knowledge
Frédéric Debouche web C

Last week, 5th of March 2019, I have been in London to attend an event regarding BIM which was organised by Phil Shatz (thank you Phil!). This is part of a recurrently organised set of events called Glimpse of the Future, and this one was then called A Glimpse of BIM. I got out of there with such a good feeling about BIM but, on the other side, a strong frustration on the current situation we are living in Belgim. Let me explain…

Frédéric Debouche
Lead Technology

The context

As Primaned Belgium, we are following closely the evolution of BIM in our country. For years already we were asking ourselves, should we dive into it? We are Project Controls Professionals, so what is the relation between BIM and Project Controls?

I will leave that for another blogpost, but one thing is certain and has been clearly confirmed by what I saw this Tuesday and that is; a big part of what we do is in fact in line with the BIM philosophy!

The Belgian point of view

Anyone has his/her own point of view worldwide. However, in Belgium, BIM is still something unclear to lot of people. Here, when we speak about BIM, you’d experience some of the following quotes:

  • BIM is about creating a 3D Model
  • Thanks to BIM, we can now use clash detection
  • BIM is a tool, an engineering tool
  • We want to implement BIM for 4D planning

I think you got my point, the growth of BIM in Belgium stems from the engineering part of project management. I don’t say that it’s bad or good, it is simply the point of view we see here. If you look at the profile of a BIM coordinator, you’ll very often encounter an architect or a 3D modelling professional.

The Proove point of view

At Proove, we have a different point of view. If you ask us “What is BIM?”, you’d hear some of the quotes:

  • BIM is about integration of graphical and non-graphical data
  • BIM is about collaboration and project insight
  • It is helpful to guarantee one single version of the truth
  • It is probably the best way of managing/maintaining project data
  • It is a philosophy, it is a platform
  • If you want to implement BIM, you need good structuring (PBS, WBS, CBS, RBS, …BS)

Do you see the difference? We start from the analytical point of view and much less from the engineering details.

Do you also see the similarity with project controls?

The good feeling

I attended all those 15’ sessions on the 5th of March at the Glimpse of BIM event and I really felt good! I was really like “Eventually people will share our vision on BIM!”. I can’t recall how many times I have heard the words “BIM is not about 3D”. There, it was clear that 3D modelling is an important but only a small part of the BIM philosophy. BIM is something much more holistic.

Some of the speakers were clearly describing the situation we live in Belgium nowadays, by explaining the situation they were living 10 years ago. That is why I believe I have seen the future and it’s not far!

The frustration

Now, why am I frustrated then? Because it reminded me of my start at Primaned in the Netherlands. When I started there, project controls and especially project planning were really mature in their country. In Belgium though, 7 years later, it’s still not as mature as it was in the Netherlands by that time… This made me realize something, it’s not because I have seen the future that we can bring it tomorrow, it will take time!

It is just a start

The very good news is that it’s just the start of BIM in Belgium! The same goes for Project Controls, I am convinced that we are and will be evolving in the right way. I am certain there are a lot of people that share our vision but we simply haven’t met them yet (or not a lot).

But about you, what is your vision? Are you part of the people we haven’t met yet? Whether you share it or not, feel free to react!

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