I never wanted to be an Architect. The irony is that I am still not an Architect – I’m stuck somewhere half way through my Part 3 and about to embark on a new chapter of my life, but this is my choice and I have BIM to thank for that.
You might find that a strange thing to say, but in all honesty, I just ‘fell’ into Architecture; My A-levels suited the job description and after a visit to the oh too cliche Sydney Opera house and a panic that I had to ‘make’ something of my self, off to uni I went.
I never had a passion for Architecture really. I mean, I do like Architecture, but its never ran through my veins per say. I remember at Uni wishing I could be like all those students who knew every Architect, every building they produced and philosophy behind them, but alas it was never to be. I muddled my way through and came out the end with a not too shabby degree.
As I went into practice, I still wasn’t totally sure that the Architecture lark was for me, but I persisted, and boy am I glad I did. BIM came to the fore for me at a time when I was starting to become a little bit frustrated at the process of “building”. The constant breakdown in communications, ever moving goal posts, the un-transparency of the industry but to name a few. It all just became a grind; did I really want to become an Architect? There seemed to be no method to the madness…
Now I don’t expect BIM to resolve all of my frustrations over night, but it really has given me clarity when it comes to my profession choice. I have truly believe that BIM can bring order to the chaos and with it I hope produce remarkable results as we strive towards a digital UK.
I have come to the conclusion that BIM is my passion. It must be, I wouldn’t be writing this now (on my holiday!), spending countless evenings on twitter discussing documents, protocols, classification structures and looking for those few hours at the weekend to try and mess around with mapping BIM authoring software to COBie!
This is what has been missing from Architecture for me and in turn where BIM has done me a huge favour. I am a technical minded at heart (perhaps I should of been a arch technologist!) and BIM (currently) allows me to mess around with the ‘inner’ workings of things. It allows me to deliver solutions to people on so many fronts. It could be a technical solution that allows architects to work much more efficiently. It could be a people solution that allows teams to collaborate freely. Ultimately, the way I see it, is that through these solutions they will allow us to create buildings rather than just build them in the future.
With BIM the building process is no longer just design team focused. It is all encompassing, a project team focus where lines are blurred between traditional consultants and periphery parties that collide in a more integrated and controlled manner. It allows people to take ownership of a project on a much more vested level, rather than something that is in front of them one minute and forgotten about the next.
Although I am not an Architect (and may never be), I hope that whatever role I play in the BIM process going forward in the industry that I will be actively and fundamentally involved in the real creation of buildings.
I see my job in BIM currently as a facilitator of solutions; to provide the right information and the right time to the people who need it. Personally I think, Architect’s (or similar) don’t need to bogged down with the IFC schema inner workings, quite frankly they don’t care, they would rather being doing what they have a passion for, designing and as such to use a phrase my good friend and former colleague Neil Marshal (@NeilTDB) taught me “not everyone needs to know everything, they just need to know where to find it”.
To provide an analogy, for example; I know the law (that is what is right or wrong) but i don’t know the law – that’s what a lawyer is for. I like to think of my role as that person for BIM.
There has been so much talk about accreditation and job titles recently in the industry. I wholeheartedly agree that BIM should become part of a person’s everyday role, but at this point it may just not quite be possible. If accreditation does anything for us, it may allows us the time to educate and implement BIM as a culture so people subconsciously adopt going forwards.
Who knows, somewhere in the future there might be someone at uni studying the buildings of this digital age and asking, who was the information manager, what was their philosophy and what role did they play in the process…I can only hope.