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BIM: One Step At A Time

The B1M | 3:18

BIM: One Step At A Time

The B1M

5 July 2016

Video Views

BECOMING competent at BIM is like training to run a marathon; we can’t expect to get there overnight. It’s about building up to it, one step at a time. Here, Rob Garvey (Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster), sets out some of the key steps to developing our digital capabilities.

This video was created for the Digital Construction Massive Open Online Course (DC MOOC) run by the University of Westminster in association with The B1M. The course is completely free and open to anyone who would like to join, regardless of experience or geographic location. Follow all the action with #UoWDCMOOC.


BIM adoption is a marathon not a sprint. Like any journey it’s made up of many steps.

Marathons aren’t just for the elite runners; you’ll also see many members of the public running on the big day. They have risen to the same challenge and been able to do so because of clear training programs they have steadily followed over time. In many ways BIM demands a similar approach. Anyone can become competent at operating in a digital environment, but there are steps we need to take in order to develop that capability.


To date, the construction industry has been inherently wasteful. That isn’t necessarily material waste; it’s anything in the process that doesn’t add value to the customer.

Eradicating that waste from the process is absolutely key to the industry performing better and realising its true potential.


The first step to assess is what BIM means to you in the context of your organisation. It may seem simple, but it really is a crucial starting point.

BIM means different things to different people depending on where you are in the construction process, but ultimately we’re all looking to operate in a more efficient and effective way.

“Ultimately we are looking to operate in a more efficient + effective way”

It is vital to recognise that a lot of what we do involves information we’ve either created ourselves or that we are using from others. However, it’s the information we use again that is really key; how much time do we waste looking for the same information over and over?

Before you rush in, it is prudent to take a step back and consider how your business currently operates. You might consider the strategic management process or possibly just one or two key processes within your workflows. How do you currently receive, generate and send information? How could that be streamlined with a digital approach?

“Consider how your business currently operates”

Consider what it will take for your team or organisation to operate digitally and whether you have the internal capability to achieve that. If not, identify what the barriers are and ask yourself how they could be overcome.

The global BIM community are incredibly helpful and it really is worth reaching out for support if you need to. Remember that everyone is learning and on a journey – even if it might feel like others are further ahead. You won’t embarrass yourself by showing a willingness to improve your organisation – it’s more likely that you’ll impress people.


The digital world is continually evolving and is almost impossible to keep up with.

Developing a continuous learning approach within your organisation is imperative. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get everything right first time every time but to a certain extent that is where the best learning comes from! With this mindset you’ll make much faster progress not just within your own organisations but also with external stakeholders.

There’s no finish line here. Instead it’s better to measure the impact that each of your steps is having on the things that matter to your organisation over time.


In this constantly shifting and evolving landscape, organisations that have made a start are clearly gaining a competitive advantage. If you don’t start now, there is a danger you’ll be left behind.

So where do you start? Well, to bring our analogy full circle: put those trainers on and start running!

You’re not going to be able to run 26 miles tomorrow but you will be able to run a mile – it’s the same with BIM – pick up one process, improve that one, then move on the next. There aren’t really any shortcuts. It’s about developing your competence, your way, one step at a time.

“Pick up one process, improve it, then move onto the next”


Rob Garvey is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Property and Construction at the University of Westminster.

Prior to becoming an academic, Rob spent more than 20 years in the construction industry, working with the likes of Mace on projects such as London Heathrow's Terminal 5. As a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Rob specialises in all commercial aspects of both project and organisational management. He is also Chair of the UK's London BIM Region and is working towards a doctorate investigating the influence of government policy in the adoption of BIM.

If you enjoyed this video don’t forget to share your comments below or by using #UoWDCMOOC.

Images courtesy of Adobe and stuurstroom.

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