The pressing question is no longer “What is BIM?” The more intriguing question is now, “Who is BIM?”
I met specialists from every part of our industry at the Fall 2015 BIMForum in Orlando, FL. Yes, architects (obviously) and engineers, but also scheduling experts, builders, owners, college professors, surveyors, trade partners, software engineers, etc. Each person brings unique talents and perspectives to an ever-growing, changing, and impactful industry.
Particularly interesting was the average age of the participants of BIMForum. The millennials are finding their loudest voice and most fertile opportunities within the high-tech area of BIM. At one point I joked to my nephew John Tocci Jr. that I haven’t been surrounded by this many young geeks since I graduated from WPI. Bluntly put, there was simply an unnatural fixation by the assembled people on the new Star Wars Trailer.
After witnessing this youth movement at BIMForum, I had to recognize that their attraction to it makes perfect sense. This is cutting-edge technology, which is the most fascinating and fast-moving part of design and construction. It’s drawing not only brilliant and “working-on-the-edge” type of thinkers, but also young people in particular who see this as their avenue to uniquely advance the industry. And they’re doing it. I met with several startups that were directly inspired by the now ten-year-old BIMForum. Presenters were typically in their late 20’s and early 30’s. That wasn’t necessarily planned, it just seems to be a natural growth pattern and the millennials have discovered a platform that perfectly fits their personality and their comfort with advancing technology.
A prime example of one of these young startups is Global eTraining. Susan Brattberg started it seven years ago in Edmonton, Alberta. She was directly influenced by the opportunities that BIM offered. Her company engages in one-on-one BIM training using a web-based dialogue customized to the student’s needs and often utilizing their specific project as the working model. Especially interesting to me was their focus on Owner-Groups to educate them on the capabilities of BIM. This is a wonderful resource for the industry as it helps bridge the gap from millennials that seem to intuitively understand BIM to older generation Owners who often have a less comfortable understanding of it. It manages the expectations and highlights the real importance of how modeling contributes to a project. It also engages the Owner in a manner that allows them to understand how they serve a critical role as the end-user and can guide and contribute to the proper execution of the model. Even if they never open a REVIT or AutoCad file themselves, they are a critical element in shaping and maximizing the use and purpose of design modeling. The better they digest the concepts of BIM the better for all who are communicating with them.
BIMForum is an essential element in not only promoting the importance of BIM (which is, by now, well established) but more significantly, allowing for “brain-sharing” operations where an openness from all industry shapers creates an opportunity for energized engagement and industry-wide advancement. BIMForum looks ready to continue going strong for years to come. It provides a unique platform for young people to be particularly impactful in the Building Industry. They just need to rethink scheduling it during Comic-Con or a Star Trek Convention…