Build BIM on strong foundations

There are, for every business, basics that must be mastered as a foundation for success. How do you master the basics? The first step is to identify and understand the fundamentals of his/her business. Second, you must fully understand why and how each fundamental should be applied.

The study of karate is incredibly rewarding. Training the mind and body encourages improvement in the areas of discipline, confidence, self-esteem, balance as well as the obvious physical benefits of self-defence and fitness. Studying Building Information Modelling (BIM) is similarly rewarding – improving on fundamentals, discipline, perseverance, best practice and building success.

Karate is often described as a “Way of Life,” the same can be said about adopting BIM. These phrases quickly become overused and meaningless begging the question – do we really mean them? The truth is, at times we need to stop and ask ourselves if BIM is making us into a better professional and/or strengthening my business?

Black Belt? Big deal?

Similarly, what’s the big deal about becoming a bone fide BIM Manager or BIM Professional?

Ultimately achieving a 1st Dan Black Belt in karate (or higher) is a personal endeavour to better oneself through skills development and experience. If your karate skills are not built on solid foundations you will battle to develop and hone your martial arts skills, never achieving your ultimate goal – being a great martial artist.

Your personal BIM journey to study and develop your skills must be built on strong foundations.

Where to start?

The basics

Practice is the mother of skill. This is true for BIM and martial arts. It is through hours of practice, of trying again, of repetition that masters are made.

Karate is not necessarily hundreds of different punches, blocks and kicks . In fact, the basic format includes all the techniques you will ever need to successfully defend yourself. Similarly, BIM also carries a basic format. It does not have to include tons of different software processes, but master a handful of techniques (templates, workflows and processes) and your BIM toolbox will cover the basics.

Globally, BIM standards will differ depending on the country but they are not complicated, and if it is getting really complex, you are probably missing the point. The basics are simple, precise and powerfully effective and when applied in the correct project environment, the outcome is truly rewarding for the team and the client.

The true BIM Professional should aim to become a master of one technique. This builds your confidence in the process and concretes the foundations of the skills and passion that BIM will (re)ignite in your professional life.

So learn the basics, master these and then unleash your new way of thinking, your new understanding in your professional life. It is in your first “BIM Fundamentals” courses where you are will begin to apply your logic and improve on your basic understandings allowing you to then apply technical ability and experience.

Find your “Mr Miyagi”

BIM training varies from instructor to instructor and each one has his/her fantastic qualities. From the moment you enter the karate dojo, a student must put themselves into the right mind-set. You are about to train your mind and body. Much like karate, the BIM student must be prepared to leave his previous, traditional project processes behind and enter your BIM training with an open mind, ready to absorb and learn, eventually fully embracing this new world of digital construction technology and processes.

Five basic BIM principles first:

  1. Grasp the setup of a strategic BIM brief with your client.
  2. Understand the principals of a BIM Execution Plan(BEP) that govern various processes among the team?
  3. Understand the various software versions and formats that the rest of team members are using?
  4. Understand the basic principals behind a Common Data Environment (CDE) and desist from refering to it as a  document managment system.
  5. Updating the information model continuously throughout the project is paramount to the success of a healthy project and operational building.

Wax on – wax off

It’s all well and good exploring a new way of thinking, a new way of approaching a project, but it’s all for nought if you fall back into old habits once you’re back at your desk. Practicing your new learning means redefining your “autopilot.” BIM is a proven timesaver and profit-booster. The idea is not to hamper you professionally. If that were the case, then the worldwide explosion of digital construction would have never happened. These tools are proven to increase speed and efficiencies; all you have to do is to stick with them. Give them a chance … it’s to your ultimate advantage.

All projects are different, like all karate opponents (and real-life attackers) are different. Neither come with a script. By remaining professional and disciplined and trusting in your BIM skill set you will be successful. You will see the weaknesses of your challenger and stop it in its tracks – success. Practice will keep you focused and improve your speed and understanding of the BIM tools – the technique stays the same.

It’s all about you!

Like karate, BIM is a personal journey. Find a role-model, certainly, but remember that you are on your own path and you are striving to be better today than YOU were yesterday.

Vaughan Harris, Director of the BIM Institute states, “Most BIM Managers I know adopt the title without any BIM certification or accreditation behind their name. Wearing a black belt without any grading, practice and training will certainly see you coming off second best.  Only rate you against you! You are not competing with anyone, especially not the BIM Manager, who recently claims the title after completing a Revit course.”

7 habits of highly effective BIM ninjas – okay, practitioners!

Stay focused

From the moment you break down the BIM acronym, put yourself into the right mind-set. You are about to train your mind and improve your skills. Leave all your traditional project thoughts from the day behind. Enter training with an open mind, ready to absorb and learn.

Focus on basics first

Then add speed and efficiency.

BIM basics are paramount. Never sacrifice the basics for the sake of software.

You’re the only one in the race

BIM is a personal endeavour. Don’t rate yourself based on how good the BIM Manager at the end of the office corridor is. Use BIM practitioners as role models, to inspire you to do better. Only rate you against you! You are not competing with anyone.

No time for negative BIM talk.

You should never talk BIM down. The digital construction world is moving faster than you can fathom and it is time to embrace it before it’s too late for you, and your business.

Success begins in the mind. Your thoughts control your actions.

Use the power of visualisation

What the mind can conceive, you can achieve. Visualise the information model and what you want it to become, and what you are aiming to become. It’s like seeing into the matrix, or seeing you as a great black belt with lightning fast, powerful karate ability. Visualisation is very powerful, and will help you stay focused in your career and committed to developing it to the next level.

Never give up

Winners never quit and quitters never win. That’s an oldie but a goody! There’s no such thing as failure, until you stop trying. When you have a never give up attitude, opportunities stay open for you. The world needs BIM professionals!

We are only collectively as good as our weakest link. Let’s continue to build our strong foundation in developing BIM- beginning with you.

Don’t lose sight of your goals

You have a goal to reach. You need a BIM strategy and you should have a BIM plan. Write your BIM goal down, plan it out, and go for it. Keep your eyes on your goal.

Every decision in your career leads to the next one. You need choose how to feed your mind  with the sustenance it needs to not only survive in a booming industry, but also thrive? Will you decide to maintain your traditional framework through traditional delivery methods- perhaps not? Skills development is medicine. Remember that.

Where is “Mr Miyagi”?

By introducing various levels of BIM upskilling into the educational space, the BIM Institute have developed an exclusive partnership with the BIM Academy Africa  to provide comprehensive, relevant and up-to-date BIM learning opportunities aligned to international BIM framework standards and associated with the South African National BIM Guide.

Companies and consultants in an operational environment can now get an in-depth understanding guiding decision-making and allowing delegates to be more competitive on the basis of cost and efficiency in a BIM environment. We are delighted to welcome the BIM Academy Africa as your consulting and learning partners to the BIM black belt road ahead.