I heard this joke the other day and had to laugh at how true it really is: Question: ‘How many clients does it take to do a BIM Project?’ Answer: ‘None’

Think about it, and let it sink in a bit. Get it?

I also thought of an alternative answer where a client answers with ‘What’s BIM?’ but thought that’s probably a well-known punchline at this stage.

The still annoying truth is that many projects out there in Australia and New Zealand are still delivering in, using or saying a project is via BIM. In the true sense, those doing the BIM-ing are not doing it for any other reason than saying so. How has it come about that even when a project asks for an information deliverable, it is the supply chain delivering this project that must identify what BIM is for the client? With complex projects out there, this can become a minefield of inflated expectations.

As consultants and contractors, there is a duty for us to ensure clients were getting the value they deserve. But I think the focus also has to be placed on clients.

In every transaction, there is someone who requests and some who delivers. In our industry, this has been fairly standard until recent years when scopes (on all manner of projects) have become vaguer and vaguer, leaving those supplying services fumbling in the dark. Nowhere is this more evident than in the ‘Information Management’ arena as far as BIM is concerned. We are teetering on the edge of the conscious asset age, where clients now have the capacity to envision their assets as virtual connected databases of information from which to make informed proactive decisions. This can only be achieved by providing the market with clear contractual scope as to the information outcomes desired as a deliverable of a project, be it a new capital expense or ongoing operational cost.

What does this mean? Simply put, what knowledge is needed by a client to manage and forecast on their assets? That knowledge is made up of information from several systems which, in turn, supply data in different formats. A client who understands the ecosystem of its sub-systems and how they become information to digest as knowledge is by far better prepared than most.

So, when is a joke not a joke? When it makes sense?

Question: ‘How many clients does it take to do a BIM Project?’

Answer: ‘One well informed one’

Not a joke anymore, eh?