President Obama likes to think he's "hip."  He goes on Twitter; the First Lady is on Instagram.
But he has done little in the way to promote the common language and open information exchanges so vital to our construction industry's future.
Meanwhile, the drum beat continues of pushing down risk to the subcontractors, expecting low prices for projects, holding back 5% to 10% of each requisition in an unnecessary "retainage" (1% is plenty) and holding back payment of proposal work until a change order is billable, which often takes 9 to12 months for the change payment to be collected. 
How much can subs get squeezed?  Why can't the value propostion change to include more transparency, quicker payments and a more even set of business practices?

As subs we do the work, we hold the data. And by requiring more data to be transmitted in open formats, such as the one sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), we can unlock this static and really tragic relationship between project team members. That will give the owners more value from design to construction to facilities management.
The only problem is we all have to talk the same language. What we have now is siloed information that limps along, paper or e-mail based, lacking connecting databases of information tagged and carried in a form to be validated for quicker payments and more clarity. 

The subs are at fault here.
They want lower retainage but offer nothing in return when it comes to technology as part of their value proposition.  
You've got to give something to get something.
What we need is for President OBAMA to morph into President O-BIM-A. 
He can get real funding for this crucial work to standardize the built environment through open ISO standards.
Currently the National Instititue of Building Sciences (NIBS) only has a few hundred thousand dollars of funding to, yes, change an entire industry. Of course this is inadequate. At this pace we won't see these standards emerge for many years.
Meanwhile subs are being held hostage more and more to held money, regardless of prompt-pay laws on the books which rarely get enforced (you are not going to sue your own client for prompt pay when you are bidding three more jobs to that company).

President Obama must take the lead here, whether it's through the green movement (President Clinton had the White House scanned and modeled in the 90's under the aegis of "greening" it), or the creation of many new jobs in the BIM community tied to subcontractor means and methods.
But this all requires leadership from the top and it's just not there currently. It's hard to figure out why.
The industry itself is also to blame. 
Besides the steel, masonry and precast industries (more on that in a future post), the subcontractor associations and trade associations in general only give perfunctory nods to this notion and want to protect the past. The lobbying efforts are all at preserving the status quo on information delivery, procurement and what's required of subs. Meanwhile, they want the money to flow better and to have more work!

I often tell my colleagues, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" 
It appears we are still children playing with our toys and if you mess with that, be forewarned!  I have run headlong against this wind for a long time and it is strong and unyielding, like a child's cry.