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Collaborative Working for BIM - #SocialBIM Episode 5

TO WORK successfully in a building information modelling (BIM) environment, we need to collaborate. But what is collaborative working and why aren’t we doing it in construction? Social Strategist Su Butcher explores the barriers and how to overcome them.

The industry has been talking about collaborative working for the last 20 years from the early reports by Latham in 1994 and Egan in 1998, all the way up to the Government Construction Strategy in 2011 and 2015’s Digital Built Britain. Constructing Excellence describe six ‘critical success factors’ for collaborative working:

1. Early Involvement
2. Selection by Value
3. Aligned Commercial Arrangements
4. Common Processes and Tools
5. Performance Measurement
6. Long Term Relationships

“All of these are required for BIM to work effectively” explains Su. “Collaborative working is a pre-requisite for BIM, and vice versa”.

Su Butcher explains Constructing Excellence's 'Six Critical Success Factors' for collaborative working.

But for all the talk of collaboration – and whilst there have been improvements – most of the construction industry are a long way from it. Instead of early involvement we delay appointment of the key parties because we think it saves us money. We select by price not value, communication is hampered by siloed working and we hate measuring what we do.

“Collaborative working, BIM and social media all have one thing in common… we don’t do them!” explains Su. “For me that boils down to culture and behaviour; we have our own ways of doing things and are resistant to change”.

"Collaborative working, BIM and social media all have one thing in common… we don’t do them”

The adoption of BIM and the digitisation of construction will only serve to magnify these issues and force us to confront them. People will communicate freely on social media, their mistakes will become transparent for their teams to see and learn from, and others will use our data in the open information economy.

These are all good things, but we need to change our attitudes to them.

In the next three videos, Su will look at these areas and how they can help unlock the true collaboration that is so essential to working in a BIM environment:

Episode 6 – Conversations: People Will Talk     
Episode 7 – Mistakes: People Will Find Us Out     
Episode 8 – Sharing: People Will Use Our Stuff

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Episode 5 in our #SocialBIM series marks the start of a second 4-part season hosted by Su Butcher. If you missed the first series, you can watch it again here.

Su Butcher on set... with a subliminal message.

Perhaps you’re facing some of the challenges discussed in this video or are working on a highly collaborative project? Get involved and share your thoughts on social media with #SocialBIM. You can also talk to Su directly @SuButcher or visit her at

This video was kindly sponsored by 4Projects. Find out more about them here.

Filmed at Herman Miller National Design Centre, London.

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