New Strategies for Collaborative work in Canada

In the past several months I have participated in a couple of proposals asking for a new way of working; Collaborative, Alliance, Open book, and Integrated Project Delivery. Working for a large company means we can reach out to team members from around the world to help us. I had a very interesting conversation with one of my colleagues in Australia. He stated Australia has been fulfilling this type of open relationship with clients for at least 15 years successfully.

Of course since I’m a geek about collaboration I went on-line and started learning the how, why and where: why is Australia so far ahead of Canada in terms of BIM collaboration? In my search I ran across an article from the Journal of Construction Procurement from 2005. This article discusses Relationship Contracting in Australia, and talks about trust in facilitating the relationship-based contract. In February of 2016 Buildex hosted a panel discussion I participated in that covered The Broken Project Delivery Model. Back then the BIM minds in Vancouver BC were already talking about how we needed to change the way we work.

Since the start of my BIM Freak career in 2012 I have been urging teams to openly collaborate. This is a difficult task in the AEC industry, as we need to legally protect ourselves. It is now a decade later, and I’m still trying to get teams to be open with their collaborative practices. Contractors are concerned about getting sued, Architects don’t want to be responsible for modelling…. Teams are worried about the legal implications of adopting collaborative work strategies.

This is a new way of working and its difficult to get all teams members on board. As I wrote in 2016 in the article Changing in the AEC Industry with BIM , change is hard. Projects combine the resources of the owner, design team, contractor, and facilities teams: open communication and trust are key. So the big question is: how do we get there?

The first step is to trust in the process: we all need to put down our litigation hats and ask how we can provide successful project delivery. Project delivery can be done in an open environment of collaboration. My favorite image from the Article in the Journal of Construction Procurement in Australia:

Australia Journal of Construction Procurement II (2) 2005

The second key to success is the use of BIM, of course. BIM is a major building block for any complex project. BIM is successful when all stakeholders work together collaboratively and trust in the process. The development of the ISO 19650 standards in 2018 started to provide guidance in maturing the use of BIM on projects. The UK BIM Framework organization developed guidance documents to introduce ISO 19650 and guide teams on the use.

I recently went through some training sessions given by Invisible Discipline to help align our team for a very large project. They took us through several exercises on Trust and Collaboration. These exercises taught the team about trust and collaboration and how we can harness these ideas for success. These sessions should be used by all projects working towards an open collaborative delivery.

Remember when working in today’s world: trust is essential for collaboration, and collaboration will give your team members the tools they need to generate a successful project.

BIM Conferences oh my

Learning about everything BIM – find a conference today!

How very exciting there seem to be BIM Conferences everywhere you look.  I was just contacted by Aurore Colella, @AuroreColella, for the BIM Integration Congress being hosted August 26-27 in San Francisco, CA.  This looks like a perfect conference for all who want to integrate BIM into their workflow, and understand the benefits.  Integration and Collaboration stop the duplication and miscommunication in your project.  I highly suggest you go check it out if you can.  Sadly I am unable to attend, but I’m putting it on my radar for next year!

Then there’s the Pacific Coast BIM Workshop being held in Anaheim, CA October 1-2, which I will be speaking at.  Brought to you by the BIM Workshops, @BIM_Workshops, providing conferences for the Mountain States, Central States, Pacific Coast and Hawaii.  This is a great place to connect and with all walks of the BIM world.  There’s a lot of great class options, check it out and get registered.  Hope to see you there.

Had a chat with @IdeateInc to set up my date to present at the @pdxRUG July 14th.  Looking forward to going back to my home town to teach the Top 5 ways to promote BIM in your office.  Will be great to see all those friendly faces from my past life.

I have several more presentations planned for the rest of the year.  Autodesk has asked me to be a presenter in their web series that will be August 27th. @SummitAEC has asked me to be part of their web series presentations on September 29th.  I will also be presenting at the next RELM meeting  on September 17th to be held in my office.  Make sure to Stay tuned for a series on Project Delivery a bunch of us BIM’ers will be putting on starting in September.

Lots of exciting learning happening in the BIM community, let’s get our collaboration on!

Fighting the Battles to win the BIM War

Every day is a battle to get the firm moving towards a more collaborative BIM environment.  I was talking with my associate last week and we were discussing the continual struggle to push up hill to get staff working with new technology.  It reminded me of the AUGI article from way back in 2008, “CAD Manager: THE ULTIMATE DIRTY JOB” by Mark W. Kiker.  Of course today it would read BIM Manager. He brought up some great key points that are still relevant in today’s world of BIM.

  1.  The troubles of the day may take you away from the initiatives for tomorrow.
  2. Working towards other people’s goals can rob you of the time needed to complete your own.
  3. You may spend hours working to prevent problems that others may not even know could exist.

I try to take a moment whenever I feel lost to reacquaint myself with these points. The article goes on to say that most of the Managers find the job ultimately rewarding.

It is very important to keep your perspective on the job, when I was younger I used to get so frustrated I would start looking for a job in other firms, thinking it would be different.  Now I realize it’s always the same, the difference is you stop listening to the negative and work towards the positive, and before you know it your ideas are implemented.

I’ve learned to approach staff (users and Project Managers) by showing them the tools that will help me support their project more efficiently. The key seems to be the word “me”. The tools that we have developed of course are the core to doing BIM projects: The BIM Execution Plan, and Progress Tracking. These tools help focus staff on the project deliverables and not get lost in the Revit Model.

I will leave you with a final thought from Mark’s article, which I believe applies to BIM Management also:

“CAD Management is not the easiest career, but it can be very rewarding. The rewards are there every day if you look for them.”


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