On 22 August 2019 sixty five intrepid souls gathered at Aurecon offices to contribute to the first BIM unconference. There was no set agenda, no keynote speakers, no 'sages on stages' and no powerpoint. What we achieved was a truly collaborative approach where everyone contributed to the agenda for the day, determined what the discussion topics should be and lent their voices and expertise to these valuable conversations.
The best way to give you an insight to the day is to let the delegates speak for themselves:
"I thoroughly enjoyed it…… no….. I loved it.
It was an unconventional yet a very effective and neutral way to communicate and interact with various people in the industry.
Where we could discuss & almost workshop various BIM concepts on the fly. I think the small group sharing and structured feedback adds a lot of value.
It was good to see the variety of people, the level of questions and the freedom of interaction.
The image used with the stormtrooper/s & the community is so appropriate, this was not a one sided presentation event and for many there has been a shift from feeling like a lone ranger to being part of a community.
There is actually real life people in the BIM community that are eager to learn from each other and to interact with one another.
It is often easier for larger multidisciplinary companies to implement BIM processes across the entire project life cycle within their own companies than it is for the smaller companies or standalone disciplines to implement and interact with the larger industry.
We all come from different back grounds/disciplines and we are all at different levels of BIM “maturity”, this provides us the opportunity to standardise our BIM interactions and to aim at implementing it on all suitable BIM projects.
Thank you to the organisers, for your vision and for the opportunity for all to participate, this can only lead to great changes in our built environment."
TAECIM (Pty) Ltd
“The BIM Unconference was the first of it’s kind in the country where the agenda was not driven by self-proclaimed experts or vendors and I salute the organisers for bringing out the true Voice of BIM Practitioners and interested parties in South Africa. The agenda was selected, on the day by a democratic process of extracting the views of each participant which ensured that almost everyone’s major topics/interests were covered. I found that this unusual format of discussion and participation to be really refreshing (and draining as the day went on towards Blockchain!) as it ensured maximum participation by all.
The key highlights for me were as follows:
BIM is alive and well and is being used in South Africa;
The BIM Community has, at last, found a democratic voice in the country – untainted by individual agendas and business interests;
There is a need for Owners/Operators and other Clients to embrace BIM by standardising on their needs and requirements throughout the life cycle of a building/facility;
The benefits of BIM is unrealised in the public sector where projects are often delivered over budget, to poor quality and late;
BIM has the potential to revolutionise the building industry by contributing to the upskilling of our workforce and integrating other 4th Industrial Revolution technologies to better leverage supply and delivery chains;
The silence by ECSA and The Council for the Built Environment is deafening with regards to BIM.
We need more of these UnConferences throughout the country to raise the tide for BIM adoption!
The key take away from this UnConference for me is that the skills, passion and desire to embrace BIM, similar to the UK BIM Mandate in 2016 is easily achievable. We simply lack the engineering regulatory environment’s direction and lead in getting this done.”
Selvan Murugan (PMP, P.TechniEng)
Digital Practice Leader (Aurecon), Cape Town and Coastal, Aurecon
"Firstly thanks for organising the BIM un-conference, I found the day very informative and as a complete novice in terms of BIM, its terminology and practice, I found it very engaging.
It is a very refreshing format which moves away from the 'Sage on the Stage’ format we're all used to and one which allows the participants to control the subject matter discussed and the direction in which it flows. As chairman of SAFMA, I will be recommending to my board that we undertake a similar exercise with our members either as a standalone session or as a breakaway during our annual conference.
Having said that I was very fortunate to have my particular interest chosen in the ‘lottery’ that was the paper plane exercise. Had this not been the case I'm not sure that FM would have featured quite so much as the participants seemed to be focused on the technical details of BIM implementation in the production, development and construction phases as opposed to the entire life cycle of the building.