The Associated General Contractors BIM Forum is a wild success, attracting 1,600members in less than three years fromall areas of building design and construction.There is no cost to join, but that’s not whymembership is increasing daily, at a rate of30% each year. The forum is so popular becauseit is considered the best place for collaborationand collective action to relieve theaches and achieve the potential gains of theparadigm shift to building-information-modeling-enabled design and construction.
There are more non-AGC members thanAGC members, says John Tocci, chief enablingofficer of Tocci Building Cos., Woburn, Mass.,and chairman of the forum. “The forum hasemerged as such an enabling feature of thecontinuing transformation of the industry,” saysTocci. Its influence is so great that AGC had toform a separate council for it, with its own governance.
The forum, which meets three times a year, hasseven subforums, covering academia, constructors,designers, law and insurance, software,owners and subcontractors. Insurance issuch a large part of the legal subforum that itmay soon break out on its own, says Tocci.
The forum provides a setting for conversationsamong industry professionals that neverhappened before. “Designers are turning tobuilders and saying, ‘Tell us what you want usto do, and we’ll change our practice,’” saysTocci. “I’ve never seen that before.”
Architect E. Davis Chauviere, a principal ofHKS Inc., Dallas, and chairman of the designersubforum, adds, “The forum as a whole hasworked very hard to ensure that the efforts ofthe group complement the work of others anddo not further fragment a process plagued withconflicting and competing standards along withproblematic interoperability.”
In terms of joint initiatives, the builder anddesigner subforums are tackling BIM-supportedestimating throughout the conceptualdesign phase. “A more automated and efficientestimating process would allow designers toevaluate a wider scope of design options earlyon and use estimates to drive design decisionsso that the design team can design to budget,”says Jan Reinhardt, a principal at ADEPT ProjectDelivery LLC, Pittsburgh, and chairman ofthe constructor subforum. His group also isworking on electronic submittals and effectiveand efficient information exchange.
The next “live” forum is set for Jan. 8-9 inLaQuinta, Calif.