I'm sorry Darrel, but I don't share, or buy into, your pessimism.
The design process is not inherently crippled by the technology. That's just an excuse. Processes are disrupted more by people and their attitudes than they are by the technology in and of itself. People decided all the time, even today, about how far to explore a design's potential before committing to an "end game" and moving into production mode. BIM technologies just make it easier to run through the permutations faster, with greater depth of knowledge/data.
Architect/intern mentorship does not go away just because of BIM processes and tech. On the contrary, I think it puts an appropriately greater responsibility for the experienced architect to more thoughtfully engage and share with the intern, who may have the tech skills and boundless energy, but not the construction knowledge. The relationship also can be more mutual, where the architect, who may be inexperienced with the technology, can learn about what is, or is not, possible with the technology, while learning more about the general concepts of BIM/IPD together.
Expense? It is only as expensive as you choose it to be. There are many technology solutions out there (remember they are only tools, not then ends in and of themselves), to accomplish theses goals <http://bit.ly/gflnMW>. And isn't the technology just another capital expense your clients pay for, over time? If you aren't accounting and billing like the contractor does, than you haven't learned your business lessons very well. I haven't met a contractor yet who has REALLY had to swallow any real costs. It ALL gets amortized through fees/billing.
And I think the profession, as a whole, tends to underpay its employees. Our direct compensation, as it relates to our education, training, experience, knowledge, and responsibilities, is woefully beneath that of other professionals such as doctors, layers, and engineers of all types. This is an argument for a different day and different thread, but don't blame BIM for bringing more money to the people who deserve it.
IPD is NOT anti-competitive. It can be very cost effective, though, and that is ultimately the goal, is it not? The typical (and I don't mean idealized) Design-Bid-Build process has been used and found flawed so often today, that an alternative like IPD is nothing to readily dismiss. IPD/BIM gives the project team the opportunity to see problems/opportunities, costs, and share risk/reward, while delivering better, faster, cheaper, with more value. If you can't see that, then you aren't paying attention. There are plenty of resources available today through the AIA KnowledgeNet for more information on what IPD is, how it works, and how it is actually being done by your peers, today, all around the country. Not every case is a roaring success, and there are learning opportunities from the failures, but the trend forward is clear and, I feel, very exciting.
Jeffrey Ouellette Assoc. AIA
Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc.
Show Original Message