The construction industry is striving toward the universal – standards, protocols and access for all – an inclusive world with a common voice. It makes perfect sense and in a way addresses the struggle that many of us face when coordinating work across disciplines and specialisms within the design team. It would all be so much simpler if, having defined the outcomes, we could tailor our work accordingly and ensure seamless integration as the project is delivered. It sounds like an ideal world and one which may be close to realisation as Building Information Modelling (BIM) becomes increasingly prevalent.
Having thrown ourselves into this world from the ground up and become somewhat fluent in the fundamentals, the challenge is now to achieve the higher level accreditations that will allow us to work within more onerous frameworks as the industry develops around it. This is another step toward the ideal of a unified, cohesive network of design professionals, all reading from the same page to produce a completed work that bears no visible compromise.
Structure becomes inseparable from form and services – the valves and arteries of a building – are discretely integrated into the fabric. The specification becomes coded into the genetic makeup of a project and evolves as part of it. Specialisms become intertwined and the building is conceived as a single idea rather than, in the worst cases, a series of apparent compromises. Of course, The Unexpected will still play its part and building will remain an organic process, however digitised its components might become, but the goal is always to give ourselves the best chance.
Within this world of Common Data Environments, plug-ins and Data Drops, there must be a universal language that will allow us to coordinate vast amounts of information from a variety of sources. It exists within the world of BIM and we are learning the lingo.
What at first glance can appear to be a tranche of new rules and regulations with which we must comply – another burden on top of existing legislation – in reality promises a liberation from the frustrations of an old, divided way of working. A set of comprehensive guidelines that define the standard for a new, unified approach and within which our vision can find its purest manifestation. Once again, it all comes back to communication and if we are all speaking a familiar language then the possibilities are that much greater. Even if the rather prosaic name – BIM Level 3 Maturity – might suggest otherwise.