Challenging Role of the Modern BIM manager
Technology

Challenging Role of the Modern BIM manager

The role of a BIM manager is unique and challenging. With reliance on complex technologies in the construction industry, the role of a BIM manager is evolving further. To better understand the traditional BIM management role, and the evolving role of BIM, a panel discussion titled “Evolving Role of the Modern BIM manager” was organised during the CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT, which was held on July 22-23, 2021.

Change management

Change management is an important aspect of the smooth running of any project. Jose Kurian, Sr. Project Adviser, Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board was the moderator of this session. He spoke about how we have compartmentalised BIM into various departments such as quality management, scope management, procure management, contract management, risk management, communication management, HR management, integration management, and so on.

The role of a BIM manager is unique and challenging. With reliance on complex technologies in the construction industry, the role of a BIM manager is evolving further. To better understand the traditional BIM management role, and the evolving role of BIM, a panel discussion titled “Evolving Role of the Modern BIM manager” was organised during the CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT, which was held on July 22-23, 2021. Change management Change management is an important aspect of the smooth running of any project. Jose Kurian, Sr. Project Adviser, Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board was the moderator of this session. He spoke about how we have compartmentalised BIM into various departments such as quality management, scope management, procure management, contract management, risk management, communication management, HR management, integration management, and so on. The challenge in front of a BIM manager is to bring all of them together and manage them well. How do we bring change in the workforce and bring them into the technology regime? Ajith Menon, MD & CEO, BIMAGE Consulting says, “We are in the fourth industrial revolution which is been aided by latest technologies. There is an adoption of technology happening in every field. There are three different aspects- industry, company, and projects. On the industry front, technology adoption is happening globally. In India, cloud-based, mobile-based technologies will change the way construction will happen in the future. The role of a BIM manager is going to change in a way that will evolve more of IT-based management. Getting more insights from the data will be the key. BIM managers will need to have multiple skill sets and expertise. He will define the productivity and profitability of a project.” Parveen Sharma, CEO, The BIM Engineers adds, “Data will be the next weapon. In the past 20 years, new technologies are catching up very fast in India. Indians have been propagating technology but unfortunately, most of them are working on international projects. However, things are changing now. We are rapidly catching up in technology adoption. In the last 20 years, we have been doing BIM but for global projects, now it is time to Its time for the Indian government to change policies and I do see a paradigm shift happening in this area. In the Metro railways sector, a large scale of BIM technology adoption is happening in various cities of India like Patna, Lucknow, Mumba, Delhi, etc. In the aviation sector, Delhi airport, Chennai airport, Bangalore airport have embraced BIM technology. People have started witnessing tangible benefits of BIM.” BIM in medium and small-scale projects In India, we have seen BIM adoption happening at large projects. But small and medium-size projects are still lagging. Venu Natraj, Director, Vesina Construction says, “The Government of India have tried managing BIM in large scale projects, but we see a lag in adoption level when it comes to small and medium scale projects because clients do not see tangible benefits directly from BIM. Traditionally, the design team uses to do a single sketch design and then construction site designing was prepared, and engineers were called to do a 3D modelling. The mindset was that BIM is all about 3D modelling. But now when we show them data on how it can help them with other aspects like later stage management, reduce the design process, some clients are welcoming it. They understand the single module benefit of getting work done faster even if it’s a small project.” Adapting technology innovations A lot of new technologies such as AI, digitisation, etc are being implemented but they are overwhelming to most of the BIM managers. The question is how we can change the role of a BIM manager to adopt these technology changes? “One BIM manager may not know all the technologies. This is a big challenge in front of BIM managers. Also, the concept of BIM managers needs to change from a BIM manager to BIM management. There should be a group of people supporting the BIM manager,” adds Menon. Sharma is of the view that the scope of work in BIM is enormous, but the challenge is that manpower is getting costlier day by day. “With the help of the technology, it can be managed well. Automation can make things easier and cost-effective. In BIM, we need a team for various aspects like planning, procurement, designing, coding, compliance, etc. One person cannot have experience and knowledge of so many things. It is a good idea to have a proper team in place for a successful BIM implementation,” he added. Learning, training, and development of resources Learning and development are critical in the BIM space and India is witnessing a huge shift in this area. Talking about this shift, Natraj feels that the role of a BIM manager will evolve into integration and interface management. “In the coming years, we will see more interface managers evolving than just BIM tool managers. Learning and development are seeing a huge shift in India. We have seen that lot of emphasis is put on the classroom-based training module, where people select courses and take up skill assessment test and based on score, we assess them and hire or promote. But this limits them to know only about the tool rather than the capability and concept of BIM. The industry should be moving towards practical knowledge by experiencing the projects first-hand. That’s when learning becomes deeper. Recent research says we cannot remember anything that’s not written for more than 9 hours. We need to engage them in practical sessions than just theory. “ “If we add BIM to curriculum, it will build a new generation. But generation change does not happen overnight. We need to utilise the experience available within our departments. Some people may adopt technology while some may not, but we need to push them to adopt technologies like digital twins and virtual construction. The classroom module is not going to help. In the construction industry, 2+2 is never 4. The new generation should be imparted with practical knowledge, they should be encouraged to come to our sites and learn things practically than just theory,” added Sharma. Road ahead Talking about the future of BIM, Sharma said that the Indian population is segmented into two parts--urban India and rural India. Similarly, our education system also has two levels of adoption. During the pandemic, urban area people attended schools and meetings through virtual classes but in rural India, 99 percent of people couldn’t do that because of lack of technology and internet. Similarly, in BIM education, there are private institutes that have excellent facilities to teach them BIM technologies. Unless we do not bring these things available across India, there will be a mismatch of talent, resulting in a mismatch of approaches. Menon shared his experience of interacting with education systems. He said that we need to focus on design-centric education, which means integrating project-based education into civil engineering or architecture courses. Some institutes in India have already started implementing this. Conclusion BIM should not be treated as a separate standalone vertical in a project. It’s time to treat it as an integral part of the project right from inception till the life cycle ends.

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