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Engineers vs. Architects: A BIM Impediment?
Posted by Scott Melnick on October 22, 2007 at 9:03 AM.

There’s a great write-up of a recent BIM program in the October 18 issue of AECbytes, a newsletter that presents anaysis, research, and reviews of AEC Technology. Sure, the author, Lachmi Khemlani, covers the technical presentations. (She writes — and is paraphrasing Jim Jacobi of Walter P. Moore — that there is a need for modelers to learn about building systems and components, so the model can be created “the way the building should be built rather than the way it needs to be drawn. Thought has also to be put into how much detail should go in the model.” She also provides the perspectives of a number of other speakers at the BIM program she attended, including AISC’s Tom Faraone, Doug Fitzpatrick from Fitzpatrick Engineering Group, David Pluke from Ericksen Roed & Associates, and Brian J. Donnell of the law firm Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner.


Most interesting to me, though, was her perspective about the seeming hostility between engineers and architects. “I was quite surprised at the number of disparaging comments that were made about architects during the course of the presentations,” Khemlani wrote. “There was talk of architects being terrified of BIM and the need to get them out of the way, so that engineers could take the lead in BIM as well as lead the effort to repair the broken construction system. Architects were adjudged to be the least competent ones to be the keepers of the BIM model, but the current contracts give them this responsibility almost automatically, which is why contracts needed to be changed. The engineers were exhorted to use BIM to get in the owner’s face rather than let the architects get all the glory, do all the marketing, and show all the cool stuff.”


Khemlani describes this attitude as a substantial impediment toward the successful integration of BIM into the mainstream. “I found it particularly ironical to encounter this resentment and antagonism at a BIM conference, when one of the key benefits of BIM is the ability to foster better collaboration between architects and engineers. Clearly, even BIM is not going to be useful here unless there is a change in attitude.”


You can read her entire article by clicking here.

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