There is a wide range of quality assessment content, currently appearing in KS dashboards, written by AEC firms from all over the world. Topics vary from in-house CAD & BIM processes, to 'how to use the company Intranet', to BIM workflows and standards, to Project Management skills, and more.
An interesting trend is that firms are actively engaging KS to facilitate a 'community' pool of content, whereby firms, using the law of reciprocity, are volunteering to share their own, self-authored, non-proprietary test content, with other KS firms, in exchange for the option to access material from the wider KS community.
It is an environment of cooperation and collaboration, which is refreshing in its simplicity and effectiveness. And we're just getting started! Already, we are seeing a stream of fresh, new, current material coming online, every month. Oh, and the best modules are being added to existing KS libraries FREE of charge.
Under the umbrella of the free community content, something very interesting happened just last week. A handful of firms contributed their in-house questions on 'BIM Fundamentals', to the community pool.
Now, whilst this module is a work in progress, I thought it would be interesting to send some invites out to the BIM community, to take a look at what has been authored so far. To say that this has caused quite a lot of conflicting opinion, would be quite the understatement! I knew that attempting to create a general BIM test was going to be tricky, as ‘good’ BIM practice is still subjective, across the regions.
The fact is, this set, is really meant to be ‘raw material’, i.e. not to be used by any firm un-edited. For example, there is a slight Revit bias in one or two of the technical questions, but that is principally because all these questions were written by AEC firms, many of whom are primarily Autodesk users. (One could also argue that this is reflective of industry, I suppose). A Bentley or Graphisoft firm, will almost certainly have an opposing view and that's as it should be.
From my perspective, I think this set could be used by a firm (appropriately edited) to stimulate a more intelligent discussion in-house about BIM, BIM process, BIM strategy, what BIM is (and is not), and so on. The coaching notes are quite helpful to fill in the blanks in people’s general level of understanding.
We’ve had some interesting suggestions on additional topics to cover. These include; IFC, IPD, IDM, information exchange protocols, clash detection and coordination procedures, BIM implementation plans, level of development standards, managing model merge from other consultants/sub-contractors, BIM workflows (who starts first, who has priority), 4D, 5D, COBie, field BIM, model validation, BuildingSMART, sustainability and the McLeamy curve.
The simple fact is that, globally, the industry is still at a comparatively early stage of BIM adoption and the questions in the set so far – all donated by firms in the field, using BIM every day on projects – reflect where they are currently up to, with their BIM thinking.
I think we’ll see some new BIM questions rolling in, over the coming weeks, as the discussion continues. We’ve had such a wide range of comments already (in just a few days) so it is very clear that opinion remains divided, even amongst BIM ‘experts’! :)
On a related note, I was reading a thought-provoking article by Martyn Day, at AEC Magazine, entitled, 'The Trouble with BIM'. (See link: http://aecmag.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=450).
As the KS community pool gathers momentum, I think we'll see a host of new test material coming online. My view is that it’s easier for firms to start from an existing set of material, than to re-write the whole thing from scratch. That's why having full editorial control over the content is vital.
As far as a universally accepted BIM standard goes, I think we're some way off realising this goal. I'll leave the final word to one of the beta testers, who displayed an admirable sense of self-deprecation, and who clearly grasped the intent with which the beta invites were sent out; 'Does this mean I'm too DIM for BIM?' :)