I just had, for probably the hundredth time in the last 5 years, a depressing conversation about the state of BIM in the Architecture industry. For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll use “Revit” in the place of BIM, as I believe Revit is a first-step process to getting to true BIM, and from there to advanced project delivery.
The conversation was depressing because it reinforced a belief I’ve held that when it comes to Revit, there is a clear division of the two camps; those who have drunk the kool-aid, and those who have not. There are few ambivalents out there. For better or for worse, Revit’s success has almost been a grassroots effort – the push to implement coming from the bottom, until the top finally gives in.
I watched a man who literally wrote the book on Revit attempt to get the ball rolling at a large firm with a huge amount of resources. After five years, with limited success, he was let go. Through no fault of his own – on the contrary, despite a feverish attempt to succeed – there just wasn’t the buy-in from senior leadership. Too new. Too risky. Too much time to train. Too many bugs. etc. etc.
Now Revit obviously has a foothold, of varying sizes in various firms – and I hear phrases now like “we’re on Revit because the client insisted on it” – which sounds good on the surface, but creates complications of its own. If your firm uses Revit merely as a dumb replacement for AutoCAD, it is missing the whole point of moving up the BIM evolutionary ladder.
I have tried and failed to think of an industry that relies on a software application as Architecture does with Revit. Perhaps video editing? Regardless, it is not a large pool to choose from. And yet despite this reliance, this 1:1 relationship of product to producer – Revit support is almost universally given short shrift. Lack of standards, lack of training, lack of model optimization – these are the norm rather than the exception. How many of you feel like your firm has an excellent Revit support structure? My guess is very few. Which is in direct conflict with the idea that your firm relies on Revit to make money.
Revit is *not* AutoCAD. It is not a matter of putting lines on paper. It requires Architects to *know how to assemble a building*, rather than putting down segments that they hope will all come together at a later date. And it has intelligence, and a complexity that demands a higher level of support and knowledge than AutoCAD does – and that’s saying something, as it can take several years to master AutoCAD.
If you ask a believer, proper Revit support is a must-have, and it has a direct impact on the bottom line; better trained users produce faster- more optimized models reduce waiting on Save To Central times- etc., etc., -but they all believe there is a economic impact.
So why doesn’t Senior Leadership agree? Why are they not the ones demanding that their teams be converted to Revit, and that those teams receive the highest level of support?
In my last post, I talked about how hard it is for IT to show value to an organization when it has become ubiquitous. I believe the same situation exists with Revit. Senior Leadership sees deadlines being met, documents being produced, product going out the door – and there is no hard and fast metric to show *what could be*. It is time that the true proponents of Revit (and BIM) begin to create actual case studies, rooted in fact, not marketing hype, that conclusively show how beneficial proper Revit support can be for a firm – of any size.
Leadership wants numbers, facts. In a firm size of xxx, having defined standards saved xxx man-hours per year. Spending xxx hours on model optimization resulted in xxxx hours of quicker STC times. We have to move beyond “BIM is good for you” and “you can do more with less”. We cannot expect an investment in support without a clear ROI. And so far – from what I’ve seen, that has been the message. “We’re all moving towards BIM” is enough to get Revit’s foot in the door – but it is not enough to get a firm to commit to investing money in a full-time Revit Manager.
If this industry is to truly move forward at a proper pace – Revit must have the support it needs to succeed. Thinking *must* be elevated beyond lines on paper and into relational data sets. Revit (and BIM) are strong enough on their own that they will eventually succeed anyway – but will your firm be the one that truly takes advantage of it now, or wait the 10 to 15 years it will take the entire industry to get there?