Who should be at the heart of a Project (whether BIM or not)?

Much of the construction related rhetoric we hear every day neglects to mention or challenge the most critical member of the Project team. Everyone else gets a mention: the designers, the constructors, the techies that enable clever stuff to happen, but very little is said about the guys that need the project, appoint the team, pay for it (in so many ways!) and then also benefit from it (hopefully!).

At the heart of all projects is of course not the Architect or Project Manager but the Client/Employer. Not only are they responsible for all the above, they also are ideally placed to set the objectives and tone of the project, drive the behaviours and measure (and live with) the outcomes.

In an industry that needs and (in some quarters) craves collaboration – galvanising all the skills and knowledge that synergise and optimise projects that are so much greater than the sum of their parts – the client can and must play a central role. It is the clients that establish those project processes that derive most benefit to them, including the way that the project is procured.

So turning my focus to BIM…

The BIM bible, PAS 1192, sets out a very clear hierarchy of BIM procedures and it is no surprise that the Client/Employer is at its epicentre. The PAS 1192 Employers Information Requirements documentation (EIR) is the very first step to a fully collaborative and compelling BIM methodology. In this document the Employer sets-out what is anticipated from the BIM, including not only the expectations during the design and delivery of the project but also, and critically, the data deliverables required in support of the through-life asset management.

It is in this critical area that many aspiring BIM projects fall down, with many unable to define these requirements or limiting their need to ‘BIM Level 2’, without defining what this means to them. Our Construction industry needs to help nurture this EIR definition, working with the Employer to define, structure and test these requirements, with realistic and deliverable expectations. Of course this will not be helped by ill-advised, so called, BIM specialists that draft overzealous, generic and undeliverable EIRs.

I am convinced that in this brave new world of BIM, the Employer must not be a disengaged and disinterested party in the pursuit of BIM enlightenment, but must place themselves at the heart of the project driving the values, behaviours and processes. Our industry cannot deliver the long term asset value without a committed Client.

Nick Deeming
Blog author: Nick Deeming
Chair of the JCT BIM Working Group and Partner of FaulknerBrowns Architects

Find out more about JCT’s work on BIM and download our BIM Practice Note here.

Note: Blog posts are the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of JCT.