CADDManager on January 28th, 2007

In a recent AIA publication entitled “The Business of Architecture” they stated that information from a survey of member firms indicated that 16% of the firms were using BIM with 10% of them using it for billable work.

Autodesk announced that they passed a milestone of 100,000 seats sold in a June, 2006 press release.

ArchiCAD disputes the claims of Autodesk about which of them or others may be on the top of the heap.

Bentley Architecture displays 38 firms or more as using their product on their web site.

What I keep feeling is that the mass migration to BIM is over inflated. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love the stuff and firmly believe that it will continue to take over seats within Arch and Engineering firms. But do you get the feeling that the marketing hype outstrips the installs? Is the way the software is presented truly reflected with “overwhelming” adoption by all firms? Is it BIM or die?

I would like to see some real numbers…

How many seats of each software have actually been sold?
How many seats have been installed?
How many seats are actually in use?
Define what is meant by “using” the software?
How many projects have gone cradle to grave in the tool?
How many trained users?

I want BIM to push ahead – but I want to do it with some real data!

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2 Responses to “BIM Adoption”

  1. I think your skepticism is very healthy. BIM is truly an overused and misunderstood acronym. I am positive that most of the successes we hear about, in terms of seats sold by whomever, are exaggerated. If not in actual seat numbers, most certainly in the successful use of those seats. It takes a great deal of time to learn how to properly use technology effectively within a given process and the process is greatly effected by the use of a given technology or should be because it is the improvement of process that AEC is actually undertaking to change, whether consciously or not. Lets face it, even AutoCAD is still widely misused in our industry and that has been here for 20 years. In addition to this fact is that not all BIM tools are actually innovative in capability. AutoDesk REVIT actually is what I like to call a 2.5 dimensional tool in that, while it can result in fully coordinated 2D documents and BOM, it does nothing to address fabrication or real time constrcution management. REVIT, while very promising, still leverages legacy thinking. I am not familiar with Archicad so I cannot comment. It must have some limitation.
    My intimacy with BIM, or Virtual Build, is tied to the use of CATIA. It is little used, highly difficult to learn, especially the new version 5, extremely expensive but allows for the most throughput of any BIM tool out there. Check out our website, for our history. Gehry Technologies offers a version of CATIA called Digital Project but have only sold at most 300 seats industry wide. It is difficult to learn, expensive to buy and the debate on the most effective way to use the tool within a given project process still rages on even within Gehry Technologies and Gehry Partners, GT’s largets customer by far.

    Anyway, I like you skepticism. It will stead you well.

  2. Right on target, sober and realistic comments and questions. One of the points that I am trying to make is that BIM methodology implementation does not to be the one size fits all solution that is implemented across the board. Targeted, one step at the time implementation is much healthier approach, and gives anybody enough time for the real design process introspection. To find out where one can benefit form measured dose of BIM is the best place for the time investment while transitioning, and ability to filter out marketing spins and semi – accurate success stories will put anybody onto right track toward understanding the real potential that analytical modeling can have on architecture.

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