For a reasoned BIM

October 2022


Sarah Meslem

BIM & R&D Coordinator

BIM, for "Building Information Model/Modeling/Management", is becoming more and more widespread. This work method is based on a digital representation of the building composed of one or more 3D models filled with numerous data and accompanied by hundreds of spreadsheets and other documents. Add to this the collaborative aspect of the process orchestrating the interactions between an ever increasing number of participants, the project can quickly become a joyful mess.

Faced with this complexity, the first difficulty was technological in order to create models that meet ambitious objectives while exchanging data in a fluid and efficient manner. Today, IT solutions (software, collaborative platforms) have responded to this problem beyond the real needs of clients and project managers.

But with this new power of computer tools, it becomes even easier to fall into the pitfall of "doing BIM for BIM's sake". Indeed, they allow the realization of more and more complex and voluminous models as well as the exchange of more and more developed and even nebulous data. Today, a major challenge lies in mastering the process to meet the needs of all stakeholders. And the awareness is real as evidenced by the large number of references to this issue during the BIM World 2022 in Paris. During this show, the difficulties and challenges associated with BIM were discussed several times during conferences where actors such as owners, contractors, companies, lawyers and researchers, and even software publishers and platforms.

BIM is a process in motion because it is evolving according to the types of buildings, the maturity of the actors, the needs of the owners or the phases of projects. This while taking into account the evolution of regulations such as the recent arrival of the necessary and ambitious RE2020. The tools allow to take into account more and more constraints and data, to automate more and more calculations, leading to a control of the design necessary to take into account these regulations. It is therefore likely that designers will turn even more to BIM. It's a great opportunity to develop the process itself, even if the threat of over-complexification has never been more present. And not all companies are ready for it.

In addition to the risk of excessive complexity and loss of stakeholders along the way, the quality of the models is also at stake. It can become difficult to achieve sometimes irrational objectives, especially when they are not clear from the start. Finally, there is an increasing risk of being confronted with missing or incorrect information in the models.

On the client side, one of the primary objectives of BIM is to facilitate the management, operation and maintenance of real estate assets. The durability of increasingly heavy and complex files raises questions. If the tools made available to project owners on delivery of buildings are not adapted because they are too complex or do not meet real needs, there is a risk that they will not be used by their teams. The right definition of the need from the programming phase is necessary to work on sound bases in adequacy with the future uses of the building.

Being moreover criticized for the hindrance it can represent to the architectural and technical design, an orientation towards the digital sobriety of the collaborative process seems necessary. According to the term often used by Philippe Bihouix, a specialist in low-tech, it would be appropriate to act with more "techno-discernment". Also at Kardham we are convinced that, like any technology and process, BIM must be at the service of the project and its actors, throughout the value chain of the buildings, and not the other way around.

Release date: October 2022

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