xBIM_Chasm.jpgIn the first of three articles on the industry’s BIM journey, John Adams, head of BIM services at BIM Strategy, highlights the dangers of getting stuck in the BIM chasm. 

The journey to the Level 2 mandate has been a great success. Not everybody is doing it yet, or even seeing the requirements coming through, but there is wide agreement that the technology, standards, and knowledge base are all robust enough to ensure adoption is now inevitable.

The tipping point is breached and there is no going back, now it’s over to those in the industry to adapt or be replaced by new entrants or existing competitors who have beaten them to the punch.

Geoffrey Moore’s excellent book Crossing the Chasm, the concepts of which are usually applied to the technology sector, offers great insight into our BIM journey so far and that still to come. See the illustration (above) for a BIM specific application of the concept – however, for anyone interested in how ideas become reality, the book which can be picked up online for the price of a coffee.

Moore describes how any new and disruptive technology has to make a leap from cutting edge to accepted paradigm before conquering the mass market. In the absence of the right environment, approach or support, even great ideas can fail to cross this chasm.

Without the market pull provided by the mandate or the admirable work of our industry innovators Level 2 may have never made the crossing. However, the usual adoption curve that eventually brings even the original pessimists and laggards on board when the proof of effectiveness becomes overwhelming may not have time to bear out for BIM Level 2. This is because we’re embarking on Level 3 with potentially over half of the industry still below Level 2 maturity – we’re looking to cross two chasms in quick succession and there are very real threats that businesses will leave it too late and become lost to the industry.

Although the ruthless among us may welcome this attrition, it does, unfortunately, exacerbate a key issue we are looking to BIM to help resolve: the capacity of the construction industry. We need to bring as many people and businesses with us as we can, as well as attracting new ones if we are to deliver our infrastructure plans and address our housing shortfall, among a number of other critical capacity issues.

This is partly why BIM consultancy businesses such as BIM Strategy exist, to help pull those who may get bypassed by the acceleration of our industry reform into the slipstream of the BIM and to play a part in our digitally enabled future. We simply cannot afford to leave good businesses behind based on their lack of digital skills because they have many other skills that we need to retain. We need to find those who are behind and get them up to speed.



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