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"buildingSMART International has always believed that BIM is the right answer to lead the digital change in the AEC sector"

Patrick MacLeamy, chairman of the buildingSMART International, highlights the urgency of the industry to embrace the changes brought by the digitalization

Published: 11/05/2018

Country: Spain
Patrick MacLeamy, chairman of the buildingSMART International, was the guest of honor of the Fourth edition of the European BIM Summit in Barcelona. The organization of the event wanted to recognize MacLeamy's commitment to the establishment of the quality standards, reliability and efficiency of the construction industry by offering him the European BIM Summit Award. This initiative has been carried out for the second consecutive year and in the last edition was given to the EU BIM Task Group. 

Industries around the world have been disrupted by companies that take advantage of digital working” according to Patrick MacLeamy, “and the construction industry is at the beginning of it”. Therefore, we have two choices for this unavoidable future. The first one stands for the urgency of the industry to reform and learn again before an external disruptor comes, taking advantage of the current need to handle all the information generated along the lifecycle of a building. 

This road towards digitalization will need the participation of organizations like buildingSMART to preserve the independent livelihood of the industry and to avoid an external intersection like it happened in other industries like newspapers. Now it is more frequent to read information on our tablets or smartphones instead of paper. This old format is meant to disappear. Therefore it is important, as MacLeamy highlighted, that the AEC industry takes the reins of this change in order to control it before someone else does it and “we don’t like the result”.

buildingSMART International and education, the key elements of this change

buildingSMART has existed for more than 20 years and from the beginning, they believed BIM was the right answer to achieve a set of open digital standards with a digital BIM. Now, the organization wants to go further by creating a Data Dictionary that will allow people from all over the world to be able to design, buy and install parts and pieces of buildings. We have to keep in mind that buildings are made by elements that are manufactured in factories.  The process of getting those pieces specified, ordered, delivered and installed in the building is responsibility of the contractor, but the Data Dictionary can allow the creation of an open market for buying and selling parts of buildings. That is the mission of buildingSMART International, to create this common market open to everyone

However, both Data Dictionary and Open BIM are facing a few challenges. The participants in the building industry, like architects, engineers, contractors and building owners, are not ready to commit to this change and adopt this digital standards because they are trained in an old way. So it is important to embrace and encourage the new generations of young people that will lead this change. 

Education becomes a major part of the solution when it comes to making this digital change easier. The current students at the universities need to have a good digital education and grounding, but there’s still some professors who don’t really understand this and it is important to encourage universities to commit with this change too. Old ways don’t work any longer and it is important to be flexible because as MacLeamy said, “we don’t have any choice”.

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