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GeoBIM: Why invest in it now?

BIM (building information modelling) is transforming construction and has the potential to transform asset management. Private construction firms have been investing a lot in the technology, but government, as project owners, seems to be lagging behind.

Share your comment on thesis | anti-thesis below and we’ll place it in the next Europe Geospatial Digest issue.

Thesis:

BIM model of a siteBIM (building information modelling) is transforming construction and has the potential to transform asset management. Bryn Fosburgh, sector vice-president of Trimble, states that 30% of construction is rework, only 35% of office space is actually used, 40% of work done on the jobsite is unproductive and 40% of projects are over budget. All in all, at least 20% is waste. BIM helps reduce the cost of occupancy, increases design freedom (resulting in better buildings and infrastructure) and reduces waste and inefficiency. Trimble has walked-the-talk and obtained considerable (measurable) benefits in the planning and construction of its Westminster, Colorado, office. The application of GeoBIM leads to a considerable reduction of asset management costs, because real-time information and performance measurement improve operational management.

Anti-thesis

Not BIM, but just a building planDecision-maker at a local authority: as government we have responsibility for both construction and asset management. Application of BIM sounds interesting to me, but the concept is not clear. What will the cost-benefit be, what are the initial and recurring investments that are needed? I am hesitant to engage because I have doubts about the complexity of the system: will we be able to operate it ourselves or will we become dependent on an outside provider? We lack BIM expertise and would have difficulty in finding trained and knowledgeable BIM people. Will BIM create or destroy jobs? We have no idea what will happen in the long-term, if we invest in a solution now, maybe a better system will come along and ours will be obsolete in a few years, does not comply with generally accepted standards or is not interoperable with other geo-information systems that we possibly acquire. Looking at the pressure we have on our budget, investing in BIM or GeoBIM is not a priority. The private sector can invest in BIM for construction and transportation, but we will wait until BIM has matured or until the national government makes BIM mandatory.

Share your views!

Background info:

Read about more of such discussions that happend at the recent GeoBIM Europe 2014 event at https://www.geo-bim.org/europe/speaker.htm