Let’s get back to plain language

I was reminded in a recent meeting how the language surrounding BIM Level 2 can confuse and overcomplicate. In fact, the acronym ‘BIM’ is one of the serial offenders – Building Information Modelling or Management? The lack of a common language has resulted in BIM Level 2 meaning different things to different people. A similar story is told, but with each rendition the ending is tweaked.

When we remove the jargon and abbreviations from these conversations, my experience is that they are often more fruitful. Less PAS, BS, ISO, OIRs, AIRs, EIRs, BASIRs, BASMPs, BASS, MIDPs, TIDPS, MPDTs, PLQs, CDEs, IE, LOD, LOI, BEPs, 4D, 5D, 6D, 7D and COBie…and more plain language. Like ‘data’, ‘processes’, ‘technology’, ‘modelling’.

The complexity of BIM Level 2 language has morphed to a point that the subject matter itself seems impenetrable for those who aren’t ‘experts’. Pre-2011 we could all cope with the concept of 2D versus 3D, but as time has passed and the standards and products surrounding BIM have evolved, so too has a loss of understanding about how BIM Level 2 can work for the masses.

As an industry we’re facing mounting government pressure to work to BIM Level 2 standards, and whilst this a great opportunity for us to create a far more integrated and efficient process for designing, building and maintaining our assets, it also comes with its challenges. I see one of the most significant being the question of language and understanding.

So my call for all property and construction companies out there is: let’s not create another language of acronyms that will bamboozle and isolate.

Instead, let’s talk about how we can use technology and processes to generate models, data and information that make creating and looking after our built environment as predictable, efficient, innovative and risk free as it can be.

I’m not suggesting that we abandon the rule book – standards and processes offer consistency and structure - but let’s talk about BIM Level 2 in a way that makes sense for everyone.



Sarah Davidson

Sarah Davidson
Associate Professor, University of Nottingham

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Julian Barlow

Julian Barlow
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