With BIM being such a hot topic and the recent release of the BIM4M2 research – BIM Adoption by Product Manufacturers, I decided to attend the BIM4M2 Panel discussion at Ecobuild. I wanted to find out what information and advice the panel members would give manufacturers looking to adopt BIM, On the panel were members of the BIM4M2 group:

Steve Thompson – Tata Steel and Chair of BIM4M2
Richard Blakesley – Howitt Consulting
Andy Stolworthy – Assa Abloy UK
Joe Cilia – AISFPDC
Matt Crunden – LeGrand Electric

Panel members drew on their own experiences to give advice to manufacturers starting their BIM journey and what they should consider when trying to justify the decision to invest. Here are my notes:

How they would define BIM?

This yielded a couple of interesting definitions. The main definition given was that BIM is much more than just 3D images and information; it is in fact the digitalisation of the construction Industry. The panel concluded for BIM to work collaboration is key.

Where are you on your BIM journey and what was the biggest challenge faced along the way?

The panel in response raised some interesting questions for manufacturers to consider such as: How do you integrate BIM with your strategy? How do your products fit into the BIM envelope?
The point about collaboration being key was reiterated, as there are many people, at the start of their BIM journey, who still do not understand how it all works. The panel pointed out the need to communicate,   you must talk to your customers to find out what BIM information they want, in what detail and at what BIM level or stage. Another important point was, not only must you talk to your customer but also to the people providing you with your BIM information.

Advice was also given to those who had already embarked upon the adoption of BIM. The panel stated that many people have a multi-view approach to BIM and in the coming year BIM would become all about structured data. The advice was for manufacturers to get their products in place,  then structure their data in a flexible format, to be adaptable to  future changes.

What should a manufacturer consider for the BIM journey?

The key advice was you must consider resource needs. You should consider how BIM is relevant to you and how you interact in the supply chain process. Also you must think about your particular route to market for your product. Further into your BIM journey look at the construction of 3D data.

In Summary the key learning points from the discussion are:

• Communication is the key, not only with your customers but also the people providing you with your BIM data
• Consider the resources required
• Look at the bigger picture, consider how BIM is relevant to you and how BIM will fit in with your sales strategy
• BIM will become more about structured data, make sure your products are in a format that will adapt to future changes
• Internally you must sell the vision of BIM, including the risks and rewards, otherwise it could fail

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