BIM are we using it to its max and not forgetting quality?

September 6, 2011

BIM is technology which can be of enormous help. It can of course be a great tool to help us integrate for example design and estimating. It should also become a critical tool for communication with the client, engineering consultants and trade partners and in this way help to create an integrated project.  BUT let us not forget the construction team! If the construction team is not involved then the critical opportunity to better connect Design – Construction or rather Design-Build is lost.

Integration is the real leverage here, it is about a better way of ensuring we do the job right the first time. We can see the layering and impact of HVAC, electrics, structural elements etc virtually and ensure we have the ideal design meeting requirements and of course with ease of construction and the least amount of redesign and rework on site.

This is about technology and the skills, training and discipline should not be lost. To expand on the theme of build by wire, what about Fly-By-Wire, there has recently been a lot of discussion about commercial pilot skills becoming rusty because of the auto pilot for take off and landing. Structural engineering and engineering approval does not disappear simply because we can more easily produce the drawing! The same with QA!

Ease of visualization, 3D is wonderful and should not just be used by construction and contractors. What about the customer, we need to be ensuring that we are helping them visualize the project using BIM this is a real value added feature.

All of the above show that as we become more high tech, the key aspects of quality management STILL apply!

Many builders are now using software to track construction and warranty issues and this data to be at the fingertips of managers and improvement teams and allows them to drive root cause analysis. Why not move this concept forward and have this application used also for design, then we are really connecting it to BIM.

So the question with BIM is, are we using BIM to its maximum impact or do we just have a fancy CAD for the drafter?

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.


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PB-Best Practices