Building Information Modelling (BIM) Champion is a buzzword that is increasingly heard amongst the BIM community and my research indicates that this may be because BIM projects do better with a BIM Champion. But who are the BIM Champions and why are they needed?
A BIM Champion is the person who has the technical skills, theoretical knowledge and the motivation to lead and guide teams improving their BIM implementation. The levels of BIM Champion's involvement within the BIM utilisation process differs across companies and varies sometimes within the same company across different projects.
The UK's BIM Task Group has appointed a number of BIM Champions to support the BIM utilisation across different regions. Many national and international companies have also relied on BIM Champions to drive the cultural BIM change within their businesses and influence the success of the projects.
Yet, despite the recognition of the BIM Champion’s role, there is still a lack of a quantifiable and objective way to investigate their impact on the implementation of BIM. To address this gap, Arup has interrogated its in-house BIM Maturity Measure (BIM-MM) which it uses globally to assess project maturity. The primary purpose of the BIM-MM is not to investigate the impact of the BIM Champion – this is just one of the questions that the tool allows us to investigate.
The BIM-MM is a tool that evaluates BIM in projects, it combines a set of critical BIM criteria including the BIM Champion. Each of the evaluated criteria has six evolving maturity levels. For instance, for the BIM Champion criteria these levels range from 0. ‘Non-Existent’ – ‘No BIM Champion/Leader’ to 5. ‘Optimising’ – ‘Leadership level BIM Champion working closely with BIM regional champion’.
The positive impact of the BIM Champion has been acknowledged by project managers at Arup. Sean McGinn, manager of a project with a high level of BIM maturity, notes:
Both the initial set up and the early assistance [of the BIM Champion and manager] proved invaluable to the client to get the project organised the right way from the outset. For such a large and fast-tracked project, this was essential for the success of delivery, and much appreciated by the client.”
Arup has a policy of regularly measuring its BIM projects, analysing the results and sharing lessons to its teams. It shared the data of 213 assessed projects with researchers at the University of Bath, UK to support the academics researching the future of construction and to get some independent feedback on the tool. The findings show that the BIM projects do better with a BIM Champion. And it can be seen that the average score of projects with BIM Champion Level 5 ‘Optimising’ is much more significant than the average score of projects with no BIM Champion.
Currently, with the lack of studies on evaluating BIM, Professionals are using the BIM-MM as a tool to answer different questions on the BIM agenda. How is BIM being used across project teams and regions? And how to drive change and recognise benefits through BIM performance measurement? These answers will help to diminish the uncertainty surrounding BIM culture and assist academics, policy makers and professionals to better understand what 'good' looks like. In order to help the industry investigate these questions Arup has made the BIM-MM available on Arup.com for anyone to use.