The Tribe and The Nod

When you experience and overcome suffering of a particular type, you tend to instantly bond with anyone else who has gone through similar suffering. Your shared experience creates an 'us', a tribe. 

I've think that the similarities of hard-knocks BIM education is greater than the differences between disciplines on typical design teams.

In the BIM Kickoff meeting, there is a 'BIM Team' and then there are all of the architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, civil engineers, landscape architects, etc. 

The BIM veterans size everyone up and quickly assess who is in the BIM Team, and who is just an architect, engineer, or project manager. It typically just takes a nod and the right kind of eye contact. 

Someone says "Right, first things first, let's spend the next thirty to sixty minutes making sure everyone is crystal clear on the coordinates schema for this project, I've prepared this six-page instruction manual that we'll go over," immediately identifying that person as a BIM Team member. 

You catch two people do a small laugh and then the nod - they're on the BIM Team too. 

"What? That's easy. That shouldn't take longer than three minutes! Should just be by Shared Coordinates and then hit Acquire Coordinates."

Not sure who that guy is, but he's definitely not on the BIM Team. 

(By 'BIM Team', here I'm not talking about what someone's business card says. I'm talking about the BIM Team. The Tribe. The crew.)

This Tribe is multidisciplinary. It has members in the offices of each firm. Few people understand - or even know about - the existence of this ghost group of people who consider themselves an 'us.' It can be a huge aid to project cohesion when things start to go sideways. 

It's a small group of sharp people with arcane knowledge who tend to not care much about the inter-firm project politics because they have bigger fish to fry. They are responsible for the fundamental infrastructure of the entire project - if the BIM models fall apart, the whole project is out the window. 

Under that kind of pressure, and as the possessors of what is today still very rare knowledge - the inner mechanisms and procedures of pulling off vastly complicated virtual construction environments - the BIM Tribe identifies their own quickly, skips the politics, and gets after it.