“Life, the Universe, and Everything. And the omniscient omnipresent Being said……..Let there be BIM!”

(And no…it’s not the Philpster!)

Of course as we all know 42 is really the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything…(Douglas Adams)

“The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything“, calculated by an enormous supercomputer over a period of 7.5 million years. Unfortunately no one knows what the question is. Thus, to calculate the Ultimate Question, a special computer the size of a small planet and built from organic components was created and named “Earth”. This appeared first in the radio play and later in the novelization of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” ( Wikipedia)

We search for truth, for answers, and we believe that out there (or in here, or over there, somewhere anyway) is meaning, significance, purpose, a solution that brings everything together. Like Einstein and his unified theory. Or your God, whatever you believe and hold dear.

Sitting in the third of the TSB /BIS/BIM task group workshops last week, it occurred to me that the quest for this digital tool and classification system is a bit like 42. These are the missing pieces of the puzzle for achieving Level 2 BIM in the UK. This is everything,  and it pulls it all together.

You can see further details here and download the flier….https://www.innovateuk.org/competition-display-page/-/asset_publisher/RqEt2AKmEBhi/content/a-digital-tool-for-building-information-modelling?p_p_auth=ZQRaG38I

However questions remain unanswered. I’m sure they’re being thought. But are they being voiced?

Is this process going to achieve the best solution for the industry?

Will the need to make this a commercial venture, compromise the integrity of the outcome?

Will the team that “wins” this solution be the best for this, with the right skills?

Can they actually do it?

Is this the proverbial poisoned chalice? Succeed and you’ll be heroes forever. Fail and you’ll go down in the history of BIM in the UK. “Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!”

Now and then interesting snippets emerged from the front of the room.  Such as potentially asking tenderers to work together, and perhaps the final outcome might be that two teams might be asked to work together on a joint solution…

Wow! Imagine that happening on a building project! Although, we already get JVs and consortia, pooling their expertise for the benefit of the customer. So why not a collaboration here, for the benefit of the industry?

Is this collaboration or a competition?

Or is it both?

Can it be? Culturally are we ready for this? Perhaps we need to be! Cometh the hour, cometh the winning team!

Its funny isn’t it, most of the leading organisations and people involved in the forefront of BIM in the UK were in the room…but when the question was asked “well who’s going to bid then?’”, no one raised a hand. People wouldn’t say who they’re working with…

We have some way to go…or perhaps it was just a premature question. There will be a lot of meetings, emails and phone calls over the next few weeks, as potential teams come together, agree their terms and move forward.

I’m sure the Task group know who they would like to do it and be involved…it must be agonising waiting for people to declare their hand and see what comes out of the process…. There are risks for all concerned here…get this right it will be amazing…. get it wrong and it will be a huge disaster which will take some recovering from and could set us back years.

I think that what does bode well is that we’ve come from zero to arguably leading the world in BIM implementation, under the leadership of the Task Group, in a matter of a few years. The competition mechanism has opened up the possibility of getting substantial funding which would otherwise not be forthcoming.

Now is the time for the leading players in this field in the industry to stand up and be counted. My hope is for some true collaborations between industry, academia and the institutes/professions. But we’ll have to wait and see!

Interesting times. And we need to travel in hope!

Someone had read my previous post on this, (And the winner is…..) and asked me if I was still as optimistic.

I said yes. And for these reasons.

Yes there are risks, potential downsides. But this is a huge opportunity. The toolsets that will come out of this exercise will be world leading and world class. Good news for UK PLC.

But even more importantly on the ground BIM is having a strange effect on our industry. People are actually talking to each other! Sharing knowledge across competitive boundaries, silos, and tribes. Best practice and failure. Innovation and questions. Coming together in all sorts of groupings and ways we could never imagine.

Sure there are questions, but there is oodles of optimism and drive to take us forward. So yes, I’m still optimistic, and we need to give it all our support, put any cynicism on one side and give it our collective best shot. Nothing less than the future of the built environment is at stake!

So…collaboration, collaboration, collaboration.

By the way…..if you’re entering a bid and you need an ageing argumentative baby boomer in your team….you know where to find me!

Seriously though, however,  as I said before we’re all going to be watching…no pressure then for the winning team. The whole UK BIM project has gradually come together in the public arena, social media being both at times a catalyst, critic and the goldfish bowl where we can see it all happening. Can’t wait to see this get moving, and see the results. It’s going to be amazing!

Cheers! :o)


2 thoughts on “42.

  1. I get the sense you really enjoyed writing this. And I share your optimism as BIM has been a catalyst for conversation and hopefully long lasting change.
    For me, much is predicated on developing more informed clients that embrace collaborative approaches for engaging with the supply side. Whilst the supply side can certainly benefit from adopting BIM, ultimately it’s up to clients (appropriately advised) to know their requirements and understand how to buy what they need from the supply side.
    We are on the start of an important journey, I want to ensure we realise the full potential we have offer.


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