Monday, May 6, 2013


It's seriously hot now, back in the UAE.  Total indoor life from now to September, with the month of Ramadan right in the middle.  England was sunny, but quite cool at times.  Made a nice change for me.

I am going to upload a PDF of the plan for my session at BIM Show Live.  Several people told me they enjoyed my more personal approach after lots of sessions on Data/Workflow/Change Management.  All these things are important of course, but my focus is on keeping BIM human, injecting that creative spark, looking for deeper meanings, did I mention having fun ?

I was so worried that I wouldn't finish that when I got to there, I had totally forgotten my concluding remarks.  It was supposed to go something like this:

Life is a journey. Mine has taken me to all kinds of interesting places: geographically, socially, intellectually. Visual thinking has played a central role in my life and the ancient tradition of drawing has been a constant source of inspiration.  I like to draw ... and in recent years BIM has become my favourite "pencil." 

BIM is not a radical break with the past. It’s an amazing tool, but no more radical than perspective or orthographic projection were in their day. When we read Shakespeare we don’t think, “if only he had a word processor, he could have done so much more”. It’s not what you’ve got, it’s the way that you use it.

I dream of the day when BIM is taken for granted. An everyday tool that is as natural to architects as a pencil, to engineers as a slide rule, to quantity surveyors as a spreadsheet.

The plan itself was "drawn" using Revit in "DTP mode".  In other words it's a drafting view that I used to organise words & images ... working out the structure of what I wanted to say.  There are 8 sections, each covering the same 3 topics.  The tradition of visual thinking, my lifelong love of drawing, how to "sketch" with BIM.

You can download it    HERE

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I've woken up early in the morning again in my London hotel room.  BIM show live has been a great experience for me: interesting presentation and lots of networking.  Amazingly enough I managed to finish my presentation on time.  I should say a quick word of thanks to the guys who wired me up and ran the projection system, total professionals.

I made a deliberate effort to attend a wide range of sessions and came away with lots of thoughts about the diversity & inclusivity that is needed if BIM is to become "all it should be".  There is a long way to go, but there is no doubt that the UK has made huge strides in the past couple of years in terms of setting a national agenda for BIM and pursuing it in a well organised & thoughtful manner.  Organisations like the NBS deserve a special mention & it was a great pleasure to meet Stephen Hamil & receive a personal tour of NBS Create.  We've been using NBS Building for many years now and although there will be resistance to change, I am quite convinced that the new systems approach will do a better job.  It will interact better with BIM and I love the way it emphasises the need to start writing specs at concept stage and makes it much easier to do that.

I have written before about the term "BIM  model".

I'm not sure why people feel the need to act as Brain Police on this one.  Words are either useful or not.  It they are clumsy, confusing or irrelevant they will fall into disuse.  Speech is a spontaneous activity that rarely respects the rules of grammar or syntax.  Inhibiting our natural tendency to invent new word combinations on the fly is a particularly stupid form of snobishness. 

Just for fun I kept a record of the use of "BIM model" from the platform.  Almost half the speakers I listened to fount the term "BIM model" useful.  Sadly one of them felt the need to apologise for the flexibility of his language.  BIM is a process.  That is the primary meaning at present.  Strangely the very people who insist that BIM is not a "thing" are the ones who object to those of us who use a different term for "things".  It is very confusing to use exactly the same term for an all-embracing process and for a highly specific digital object.  It may well catch on.  Many people are now referring to "the BIM" ... as in "adding data to the BIM".  If it does become the norm, fair enough, but why do we need the Brain Police to enforce that norm ?  Why do people who have obviously not studied linguistics insist on pontificating against some imagined "error" ?

Natural language is full of duplication and redundancy.  In that respect it resembles our DNA, and for similar reasons.  Life is constantly adapting to new environments.  Redundant DNA is free to mutate into something that may become useful in the future.  Language allows us to constantly evolve new ideas, that's the beauty of it.  Stop trying to box it in.  If you want to kill a fluffy kitten, lock it in a box with no air-holes.  The real kitten-killers are the misguided souls trying to censor our thought processes.

Maybe I will add some pictures later, maybe not.  Definitely I will post an outline of my presentation soon.  I'm going to try catching 40 winks before breakfast now.  See you later