Why BIM People Bounce Around a Lot

"I don't know about this BIM guy. He looks good on paper, but he's been at 4 different companies in the last five years. Doesn't seem very loyal."

You've probably noticed this, or are this: a lot of BIM folks have bounced around a lot. It's not because BIM people are disloyal. It's because there aren't yet as many companies committed to BIM as there are individuals committed to BIM.

A lot of companies want to 'check out' this whole 'BIM thing'. They hire on a BIM expert, making words about how they're very excited to go full BIM, or whatever. 

Then the BIM guy shows up, starts implementing, and everyone immediately starts FREAKING THE FUCK OUT.

Because it's hard, and the organization wasn't committed - not really, not fully, not back-against-the-wall, there's-no-going-back-now, burn the ships, cross the Rubicon, alea iacta est committed.

They were actually trying to dip their toes in, the BIM guy said "come on in, water's fine!" and the water turned out to be a brine solution at 25F/-4C.

And so the first Revit project bails out to CAD to meet the deadline.

And the second. 

And then the PMs hate Revit because it destroyed their budgets, but mostly because they felt for the first time in a while like they weren't in control of their projects.

They didn't understand how to manage it, they don't know what LOD means, their eyes glossed over during the Model Progression Matrix marathon session, they don't understand why their ace CAD guy who went to Revit training for two days is now taking so long to lay out some simple pipe.

Loss of control is an enormous psychological slug in the face. (And this isn't an indictment against the PMs, to be clear - no one warned them, and their asses are on the line to deliver projects on budget.)

And then they ask the BIM guy to help out on this project that's gone to CAD, and his poor little soul is crushed because CAD is not what he wants to be doing with his life, so he bails to freelance or try to find a company that's actually serious about implementing BIM.

BIM folks have to take some responsibility for this. Too many of us are dew-eyed optimists. We drank the kool-aid. BIM is going to revolutionize the construction industry, cut 99.9% of RFIs, save money (for who?), the buildings are practically going to design themselves, it'll be grand.

But nothing ever is actually that great, is it? Sure, there are some case studies where it worked out like that, but that's because there was a dream team committed to a BIM success story. We're so busy hyping the pros of BIM, we sometimes forget to warn folks about the cons of BIM. People feel bait-and-switched.

I do not ever try to convince anyone that BIM is better than whatever they were doing before. I try to channel my inner grizzled, cynical, old-man-of-the-mountain grouch. I just ask if they are contractually on the hook for BIM deliverables, and then I offer to help them get through it with as little pain as possible. 

"Look, this is going to hurt quite a bit. Are you really ready for this?"