Who needs clients?

Obvious question perhaps but we all do? And perhaps not for the reasons you think. They could be a convenient excuse – I will explain!

I’ve attended a few meetings about BIM adoption recently, and the thorny question of Client requirement or sponsorship has come up quite a few times now. I’ve found myself disagreeing quite strongly with a few people which is unusual for me (!) so i thought I’d put a few thoughts down.

It goes something like this – (we’re talking about using BIM) “well, they haven’t asked for it so we’re not going to use it”.

OK – so your business strategy is decided by your clients? The late Steve Jobs had a lot to say about what customers wanted, and not knowing what they wanted! And of course there is the apochryphal quote by Henry Ford that his customers, if he’d asked them, would have wanted a faster horse!

I wonder whether this is a convenient smokescreen for resisting change, not investing and innovating?

Also I think it’s missing the point – this is about how we work. There are some things we don’t ask clients – would you like a drawing? shall we use CAD? do you want Health and Safety? do you want to comply with the Building Regulations? These aspects and many more are just part of the way we work.

“Do you want BIM?”

“What you mean the BIM that gives me a better quality building, right first time, more efficiently, more predictably, with fewer defects and claims and optimised for lifecycle performance?” Well of course, you didn’t need to ask!

And so we shouldn’t. It is already for some, but will be for others, just part of the service. Those that get that, will make the change anyway and reap the benefits and competitive advantage. Those that just don’t want to (and that’s what it really comes down to) will use anything or anyone as an excuse.

Even clients.



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