Conceptual Design, BIM and Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Why: A basic premise of a building information model (BIM), as defined by the National BIM Standard-United States (NBIM-US)®, is "collaboration by different stakeholders at different phases in the life cycle of a facility to insert, extract, update or modify information in the BIM to support and reflect the roles of that stakeholder.” This article presents exploratory research that provides insight into the perceptions and behaviors of a group of experienced BIM practitioners in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. To appreciate the benefit collaboration brings to the design process, it is helpful to first understand the increased complexity of design and the terms "teams" and "collaboration:'
What: The article first explains the increased complexity of design, different kinds of working teams, and collaboration as the goal of a BIM project. All interviewees felt collaboration was a goal during the concept-design phase of their projects. Although they gave varying reasons why they felt collaboration was important, participants generally believed that collaboration resulted in improved design. More than half of the interviewees rated their teams as achieving collaboration on their most recent project. Impediments to collaboration cited by the interviewees were culture; legal framework; funding issues; lack of skills; time; not being co-located; and team leadership.
How: This research is part of the author’s Masters thesis for the University of Cambridge Interdisciplinary Design for the Building Environment program. His work focused on decision making; complex problem solving; forming and managing design teams; Groupthink; interdisciplinary design collaboration; and BIM. During the research study, in-depth, individual, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with nine experienced BIM practitioners informed the study.
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