21.04.2022 Jakob Schoof

No One Can Learn to Walk for You

© RKW Architektur +

As an architecture studio, you should have taken your first steps with BIM before you encounter the method as a client requirement, says Matthias Pfeifer of RKW Architektur +.

Over the past few years, which areas of planning and building have undergone the greatest changes thanks to digitization?
Luckily, in this industry change and progress are the same thing. Ongoing digitization has clearly meant progress for us. Our credo is: BIM whenever possible; when not, then at least model-based planning. This makes us clearer and more precise − sometimes even too precise − earlier on. That’s when it’s good to pick up the drafting pencil again.

© RKW Architektur +

Where are things still not working as you would like them to?
Construction software still doesn’t do what we really need it to do. A while back, large British studios wrote an open letter to complain about Revit − and rightly so. There are still difficulties, particularly in collaborative work with others. The classic example of this is the takeover of vent and opening planning from TGA.

For more in-depth BIM applications and more varied assessments of the data, we still lack the necessary standards for the creation and attribution of models. Whenever studios have to continuously adapt to different requirements from clients, it means great additional expense. Some clients even set preconditions that significantly affect the contractor’s performance. And this quickly leads to higher costs, which clients could avoid if they were to formulate their own basic requirements but allowed contractors the freedom to choose how to fulfil them.

© RKW Architektur +

How has your collaborative work changed due to BIM?
Internally, our models are in the cloud. Of course, this was accelerated by COVID-19 and enabled us to work from home in the shortest possible time. Cooperation, first and foremost, involves working with specialized engineers. Our experiences here are quite diverse. We cannot assume that all our partners are willing or able to work with us on a BIM process with the necessary degree of commitment or organization.

© Ralph Richter
© Ralph Richter

What mistakes must be avoided at any cost when working with BIM?Don’t be too quick to introduce BIM. Training staff, practicing processes and making templates available all take time. This is why you should have taken a few preliminary steps towards BIM before you encounter it as a client requirement. In other words, you should start with a smaller, less complicated project of your own choosing, and do it as soon as possible.

© Ralph Richter

Was sind die wichtigsten Bestandteile einer erfolgreichen BIM-Strategie?
Das kommt ein bisschen darauf an, mit welcher Brille Sie das betrachten: Unsere Auftraggeber haben natürlich eine etwas andere Sicht auf die Dinge als wir. Für sie ist ja nicht die Planung das Wichtigste an BIM, sondern der Betrieb. Sie müssen sich darüber Gedanken machen, welche Daten sie für ihre eigene Aktivität, also vor allem für das Facility Management des fertiggestellten Hauses brauchen.
Wir Architekturschaffenden müssen uns darüber klar werden, was wir selbst mit einem BIM-Prozess erreichen wollen und in welchen Schritten dies vorangehen soll. Man sollte also mit dem Einfacheren anfangen und sich schrittweise zu den komplexeren Aufgaben hocharbeiten. Die Fähigkeiten der Mitarbeiter, die Strukturierung der Prozesse und die steigende Zahl unterschiedlicher Softwarelösungen müssen sich Zug um Zug parallel entwickeln.

© Markus Luigs

Matthias Pfeifer is a Managing Partner with RKW Architektur +. The studio is a member of the BIM Allianz. .



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