During the recent BIM & Integrated Projects Forum, it was clear that progress towards full adoption of BIM; early engagement and integrated projects would require all the motivational forces we could muster. 

One I would like to suggest is built on the belief that change is normally achieved not by the attractiveness of new opportunities, but by the growing discomfort in remaining wedded to the established ways of working.

I am now old enough legitimately to have strange ideas, but this one has stuck with me.  My suggestion is that engaging the industry behind BIM, integrated project teams and early engagement may very well be stuck on the side of your fridge.

Let me explain my thinking.

Knowing that something is good for us is rarely a driver for significant change.  There are thankfully those who break this rule and who become the pioneers whose success generates life’s most common motivating force – peer pressure.  The rest of us continue to over-eat, under-exercise, take too little sleep and check emails at midnight!   I have not been to any conferences where people are denying the benefits of open information or early engagement.  We want to change, but it is perhaps too comfortable – even familiar – to take our time over this.  My conclusion is that we should magnify the peer pressure.  Not out of spite, but simply because we all know we will be in a better place if we would all make a collective move to embrace interoperable working.  We need all open information and knowledge brought to bear on the task at the most advantageous point in time.

So, back to the fridge.  You will hopefully have seen the efficiency rating indicator on the side of fridges on display in showrooms.  Some may be immune, but we have generally become embarrassed to be seen buying a fridge with a poor rating.  As a result, manufacturers work really hard to make sure you can display your fridge rating with confidence.

I would like to propose something similar for construction projects.  This has to be simple and highly visible.  It should not require specialists working in the backroom putting project teams through their paces.  Simple and transparent measures should be used to generate a rating which is openly available to all stakeholders.


Not wanting to get into too much detail, I suggest the rating starts with 100 points representing the best risk level, or the top green arrow.  Points are then lost for specific project characteristics.  Where any of the pillars of BIM are not deployed, points would be deducted.  Where the contractors, facilities manager or other key parties are not engaged early, points would be deducted – and the later they are engaged, the greater the deduction.  The net result would be a simple risk indicator (right).

I know the bureaucrats will argue over the relative point values and difference between this and that project type, but we need to cut through the complexity.  If all projects of a certain type have a better or worse risk rating, then we will all understand.

All project participants should understand the impact of them from engaging within low and high risk projects. Hopefully, clients will quickly understand what the rating is telling them and put their support to supporting the delivery team build a low risk project approach.

I would welcome input from anyone who supports the principle and who would like to help bringing fridge-inspired peer pressure to support the drive for effective construction.  

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