How do manufacturers fit into the BIM puzzle?  What is their role?  Do we see them as an impediment to progress because they haven't woken up to BIM, or because their families are way too detailed and heavy?  I think this is an important discussion, but sadly one that far too often misses the point.

BIM is all about collaboration.  Architects and engineers use BIM to enhance communication and collective decision making.  We want live data, in the cloud so we can resolve issues in real time.  It's all about team work. 

Manufacturers employ teams, on the ground in cities around the world, to interact with design teams.  They want to collaborate, and they do, but this interaction is largely divorced from BIM processes.  The contribution of manufacturers to BIM is seen as something completely different.  We ask them to give us "BIM content", make it the way we want it, put it in a repository so we can grab whatever we want. 

So they set up a small head office team, with virtually no connection to the guys doing the collaboration around the world, and they employ third party specialists (sweat shops) to hack out the content.  Increasingly, they also pay someone to manage a "supermarket in the cloud" so we can fill our virtual trolleys with all this stuff and plonk it into our models.

Meanwhile the collaboration on the ground is taking place via CAD exports, pdf documents, submittals, etc.  Turnaround is slow and typically too late in the design cycle to allow for effective coordination and integration.  When the project moves on to site, the communication between supplier and contractor starts again from scratch.  Does this sound familiar?  Isn't this exactly the kind of disconnect that BIM was supposed to solve?

We are asking the wrong questions.  It's not about content.  It's about collaboration.

This is my current take on the "CONTENT" issue.  Earlier posts take a more traditional view.  Follow the links to see how my thinking evolved, or just to pick my brains for ideas about making families.  But do also consider the need to engage manufacturers actively in collaborative BIM processes.  If we can only get that right, surely the rest will follow.


It's the Information Stupid

Face Off

The Wrong Question


Edge Free Sharing (april - 2016)

Manufacturing BIM - (march 2016)

Be Gone Sharp Edges - (march 2016)

Duravit in Point World  -  (nov 2014)

Toilet Training - (nov 2014)

Peapods - (nov 2014)

Open Door Policy - (may 2012)

More Punishment -  (april 2012)

Rubber Content - (march 2012)

Family Favourites - (march 2012)

Stamp Collection - (sept 2011)

The Winter of Revit Content - (sept 2011)

Joint Ownership - (june 2011)

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