Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Your View | Don't blame it on BIM

Bim picture

Safety body Cross says a building information modelling (BIM) blunder could have been responsible for a unnamed building being built with “several columns missing”.

Blaming the blunder on BIM just highlights that there is still a lack of understanding in the industry of what BIM really is. Although the use of technology is a critical part of BIM, the appropriate management of digital information is the key.

My take on this blunder is that if BIM was properly adopted (and not just “3D Modelling”), said structural elements would have not been deleted – it would just be not possible to do this if the standard workflows and practices were adopted, which include carrying out thorough checks before a model is “shared” to other disciplines, when it becomes effectively locked.

  • Sergio Escobar, Posted online on article headed “Building discovered to have ‘several columns missing’ after BIM blunder”

Industry seems to be adopting software and technology without investing in good engineers to test and check the output, so these things are bound to happen. I hope someone at higher levels will realise this soon and start investing in training young engineers or else we will have a lack of experience and knowledge in the industry when most of the experienced engineers retire in next five to 15 years, and there is huge gap.

  • Vijay Ramamurthy, Posted online on article headed “Building discovered to have ‘several columns missing’ after BIM blunder”

 I’d suggest the demands of the Eurocodes have something to answer for in situations like this. For example, the automation of finite element analysis software packages means that engineers are required to check many load case combinations (often 20-plus) in line with EC0. It is therefore understandable that inexperienced engineers may focus on the intricacies as opposed to the overall picture. Perhaps not the root cause in this situation but if time is invested doing one thing, there is less time to do the other, arguably more important checks.

  • James Breed, Posted online on article headed “Building discovered to have ‘several columns missing’ after BIM blunder”

Get yourselves involved if you feel disconnected

Jon Tuson (Your View, September) views the ICE as a networking club “run from afar [London] by a collection of consultants and contractors who meet at very plush offices at Great George Street”; and its learned society function as rather limited by the south-east England geographical reach of Thomas Telford Ltd.

We too see the ICE as a networking club, but one that echoes the founding of the ICE 200 years ago in the coffee houses of London in 1818.

Our coffee houses, however, are in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Auckland. Our networking also extends to the occasional black-tie dinner in Sydney or breakfast in Perth.

We have good access to the learned society function of the ICE through excellent programmes of evening technical talks and have just enjoyed a two-day Australasian conference in Sydney to celebrate ICE 200.

We also have access to membership surgeries and events for those preparing for professional reviews.

How do we, in Australia and New Zealand, on the other side of the world from London, manage to connect with the ICE in a way that Jon Tuson feels is not possible from the north of England?

The simple answer is that our ICE members are active within their Institution.

Across Australia and New Zealand the number of ICE members actively involved in their Institution is more than double that in the UK. In the spirit of our founders, we network, we meet, we conceive, plan and host learned society events – including last week’s ICE 200 Australasia Conference.

The ICE is our Institution and we are very much connected to it, despite being over 18,000km from London.

  • Rachel Fowler – ICE representative, New South Wales
  • Matthew Thomson – ICE representative, New Zealand
  • Glen Miney – ICE representative, Queensland
  • Chris Grant – ICE representative, Western Australia
  • Ali Sarandily – former ICE representative, Western Australia
  • Anthony Bennett – ICE representative, Victoria & Tasmania
  • Melinda Lutton, ICE representative, South Australia
  • Tim Warren –chair, ICE Trans-Tasman and South East Asia committee
  • Garry Graham – chair, ICE Queensland committee
  • Thomas Lee – chair, ICE NSW committee
  • Matthew Colton – Asia Pacific Council member

Crossrail problems should have been foreseen

With reference to the one year delay to Crossrail (New Civil Engineer, last month), something is very wrong with today’s mega-project management in the UK.

You can have delays to projects and cost overruns, but there is no excuse for clients being kept in the dark until the very last moment.

Proper project management requires that all parties to a project are kept fully informed and involved in any decision making that impinges on their interests, so that nothing comes as a surprise.

There are, and have been for decades, project management tools and systems that can monitor and subsequently forecast the progress and costs of projects.

72209 construction of crossrail s western tunnels

72209 construction of crossrail s western tunnels

Crossrail: Foreseeable difficulties?

They are capable of incorporating major upsets like transformers blowing-up, looking at the consequences and any available mitigation before providing updated forecasts for use on the project and dissemination in project reporting.

Giving as a reason at this stage that the electro-mechanical testing was taking much longer than expected is just laughable. Was no risk analysis carried-out early on in the project, identifying major risks to be managed and being updated as the project proceeded?

It is well known that innovative systems – particularly software and anything that has not yet had at least one successful implementation - are high risk for both cost and time. These risks should have been identified, allowed for, mitigated and managed.

Six months before a widely publicised completion date is far too late to be informing a client and providing such lame excuses.

Tim Martyn-Jones,  Posted online on article headed “London mayor Sadiq Khan ‘not sure’ when Crossrail will open


Should the SGM vote have been given greater prominence?

Great george street

Great george street

ICE: Hasty governance decision?

I was surprised and very disappointed to see a small report tucked away in an article on page 22 of New Civil Engineer last month. This noted that the changes to the Governance arrangements would go ahead in November 2018. This was despite the outcome of the SGM and makes a mockery of a subsequent governance review, which may be little more than a look back at a fait accompli. This is in blatant disregard of the concern expressed by Members at the SGM and does not reflect well on the President or Council.

  • Howard Hughes (M), Buckinghamshire,

Why such big changes with so little consultation?

The row about changes in the ICE’s governance rumbles on. Council insists that the changes must go ahead without further explanation or consultation, but why is and was there such haste? No major Council decisions should be made in haste; time should be available for due consultation with Council and members. It is tragic that Council activists should have precipitated this row and now stubbornly refuse to resolve it in our – the entire Institution’s – 200th anniversary year. We should not be looking inward, we should be celebrating what civil engineering has contributed to the well-being of so many, and holding out hope to the many more we will serve in future.

  • Rodney Bridle (F)

Rail review is just a smokescreen

Another fine example of kicking the can down the road. Just get rid of a few tiers of management and let the people who understand the railways get on with it without drowning in red tape and getting stopped by jobsworths.

  • James Wren posted online on article headed “Grayling orders ‘root and branch’ rail review”





Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.