“Oh won’t you stay……..just a…

.……little bit longer!”……

There’s a lot of talk about legacy.

Margaret Thatcher transformed politics in the 80’s, some would say not for the better, and some people cheered at the news of her death.

Blair lead the dream of New Labour but it will always be tarnished by the wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and non-existent weapons of mass destruction. You can make your own mind up. I don’t intend to get into politics here, but we often think of what we’re leaving for the next generation.

I can’t remember whether I heard it or read it, but I’m thinking it’s something about starting and finishing. Starting and finishing anything properly takes real skill and a lot of effort. Keeping things going can be a little more economical on effort. You have momentum, you just need to maintain it.

Digital legacy

Which brings us neatly to the UK BIM programme and the Taskgroup. You may well have seen the articles recently about the potential disbanding of the Taskgroup pre/post 2016. Leaving the BIM movement to industry to continue.

Along with this there is the growing discussion around Level 3 and beyond and the subsequent digital legacy.

Great. For sure, we need vision. We need to push on, we need to cut the edge, but sometimes we can be so focused on the future, about the legacy we pass on, that we can lose sight of the current moment.

Reality check

Now excuse me! Let’s get in touch with reality here and the grass-roots of what’s happening. The people we need to reach about BIM and changing the industry don’t use Twitter. They aren’t at the conferences, they probably don’t read much of the building press, and may not have used Youtube. In getting the BIM message out we have 2 million people to reach in two years – we’ve barely scratched the surface!

Egan and Latham dreamed of the stuff we’re on the verge of achieving. And yet, if our industry does not bring this home, the movement will founder amid the conflicts of commercialism and vested interests. Some legacy! Will or can our industry sufficiently mature and integrate to responsibly take this forward, without dissolving into festering tribe and silo wars, and commercial self-interest and protectionism? Sadly, I’m not sure yet. The signs are promising but we have a way to go. I’ve found it encouraging the way we’re talking about BIM across traditional boundaries. But its taking time to get people working together, sometimes I believe you can hear the cogs creaking! So my observation would be we are some way away from achieving a legacy. The groundwork isn’t complete yet. The role of the Taskgroup has been critical in getting us here, not only in the UK but also in global terms. Perhaps it’s a little premature to talk of disbanding? It’s like having a midwife, scaffolding or some temporary works support – remove them from the process too early….and there are consequences.

What I really really want….

As much as I’m interested to hear about Level 3, Digital Built Britain, the legacy of industry transformation and so on. I’d really like to hear about how we are going to nail Level 2, and embed it in the industry consciousness and business. How are we going to reach the people in the time we have? TV adverts, national media campaigns, full-page adverts in the tabloids? Level 2 is a key staging post on the journey, rather like base camp on a mountain climb. We need to get there! We’re dealing with DNA and cultural aspects, these are much harder, longer and stubborn to change. Deeply ingrained patterns and behaviours that continue to hold us back.

And finally …spare a thought, and give some support and encouragement to your local BIM Hubs and the BIM4 groups. Attempting to transform an entire industry through what effectively are groups of enthusiastic volunteers, good will and freebies, strikes me as something quintessentially British and quaint, and also a little naive.  I have long suspected that issues around resources, support and funding will have to be addressed effectively to enable a sustainable future.

If there is to be a discussion about legacy, then lets talk about how the regional Hubs and groups will thrive and grow in legacy mode, beyond 2016. And where will people get impartial guidance, devoid of an agenda driven by the need to sell stuff? I wouldn’t want the core groups to disappear before the legacy is assured and inevitable. Anyone who’s in that camp at the moment needs to take a reality check!


To close this one out, anyone who has heard me speak, or knows me, will know that I am very passionate about changing the industry and making this stick. But Level 2 industry adoption is far from being a done deal……….yet!

We have a quite a way to go, before we can realistically talk about legacy.

We can aspire, we can dream, we can plan even, but we need to effectively deal with the now first.

So…roll your sleeves up and let’s get cracking!







6 thoughts on ““Oh won’t you stay……..just a…

  1. As one of the first to be de-mobilised from the BIM Support Team, I can only agree, John. BIM4I and AGI are having a mini conference on 5th June in Bristol, on BIM and Asset Management, that we would be really pleased for people to support (www.geobig5/events/bim-asset-management). The BIM4 groups are going to have to lean into this, with industry support and backing, to keep this going. So we need more volunteers. Hope to see some of you there?


    1. Hi Anne. Thanks. I think a few people (!) need to get their heads round this, particularly the cat to micro and SMEs in this trying to play their part.

      Send me details on your conference and we’ll put the word out!




  2. Reblogged this on BIMopedia blog and commented:
    Thought provoking article from John Eynon @56JONTS regarding the recent news that the UK BIM Task Group will be disbanding – Will the growth of BIM in the UK continue, or will the lack of government support / push cause the slow down of adoption for many who haven’t started their journey?


  3. John,
    An insightful piece that raises important challenges for the wider adoption of BIM. We know your passion and the industry needs more advocates for change like you.
    I’ve been equally concerned about getting the message out to those not yet engaged and who don’t use social media and attend blogs. Insight from my students indicates the pressure of standing still and just keeping your head above water is difficult enough and hence the challenge of considering something else is just a step too far. As many have found with industry change, the mantra of one mind at a time is relevant, however for it’s about engaging the leadership of the many SMEs.
    My sleeves are rolled up …


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