Tuesday, September 9, 2008

BIG BIM, little bim - a book review

BIG BIM, little bim by Finith E. Jernigan, AIA. The tag line states " The practical approach to building information modeling. Integrated Practice done the right way!"

A glance at the Table of Contents shows a logical list of chapters that layout a plan to implement BIM and Integrated Practice, such as Are you ready to Change?, Framework for Success,and The Process Day to Day. I thought that the chapter that touched on what the author calls "The four phases of integration" namely the Initiation, Design, Construction and Management Phases, explains very well how BIM can support Integrated Practice and the full life cycle management of the built environment.
Jernigan's references to the Toyota Production System a.k.a TPS (and NO it' s NOT the TPS referred to in Office Space's TPS reports, although they do exist) opened my eyes to this almost painfully logical system of managing the supply of a product (in our case the product is information.) TPS says that you don't create a part for a product until the next process down the line calls for it. That way you never have a surplus of parts lying around and you haven't expended resources on something that may or may not be used. This concept extends all the way out to the end user.

Cars aren't assembled till they are ordered (I don't know if that's ordered by dealers, customers or distributors, let's just leave it at "ordered" for now.) Assemblies aren't made till they are called for by the assembly line. Parts aren't made till new ones are needed to create assemblies to replace the ones just used on the assembly line. I'm not sure that I am doing the process justice by explaining it here. You should go straight to the creators for more info.
Anyway, for our purposes, replace "part" with "information." Deliver the right information to the right person at the right time, no more, no less. Easier said than done, sure, but something to shoot for.

All that being said, I was lost at points when the acronyms started to come out. DRM (Data Repository Model), CVM (Concept Visualization Model), DPM (Design Prototype Model) which, admitedly, are all names that he uses in his practice for models at different stages in the process. I also get lost at one point when the numbers start to come out. The 80/20 principle (got it,) The Power of Sixteen Concept (Umm, ok), and the 400% rule (hmmm, uhhh... ?)
I think that one of the strongest concepts I came away with is "fail-quickly." When you are trying something new and it doesn't work, recognize it, analyze what went wrong and move on. Words to live by.
Anyway, all in all I think it is packed with useful information, diagrams and some interesting analogies used to explain BIM and IP. However, it might fall slightly short in being a step by step plan for implementing BIM and IP in your office.

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