This Q&A is taken from the full podcast episode we recorded with Michelle.

Q: How and why did you get into BIM consulting?

A: My husband and I are both architects by profession. When we moved to the UK from South Africa in 2016, our qualifications didn’t fully transfer. Rather than redo our studies, we looked for ways to apply our architecture skills in a new way. In 2018, a friend connected us to a client looking for BIM services, which was a lightbulb moment. We saw BIM as an exciting opportunity to help digitize the construction industry and improve processes we weren’t satisfied with from our experience. This led us to start formulating our own BIM consulting company.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about BIM?

A: The biggest misconception is that people believe BIM is just a 3D model that has to be produced. But BIM is really about building information management – it’s a strategy to improve information flow throughout a building’s entire lifecycle, from design through construction to operations. The 3D model is just one of the outputs. BIM requires overhauling work processes and how teams interact.

Q: Why do you think there is negativity around BIM? Is it justified?

A: I think there are two main reasons for negativity around BIM. First, there are misconceptions about what BIM actually is and entails. For example, subcontractors often see it as just a tender requirement pushed on them that someone else will handle. Second, unclear processes and deliverables lead to frustration, like when BIM is done only for compliance at the end of a project with no real collaboration or benefit. The negativity shows there is room for improvement and growth. Clearer understanding of BIM’s purpose and timely engagement is needed.

Q: What portion of projects are using BIM currently? What do you see in the future?

A: It’s hard to quantify overall adoption, as it varies a lot by project scale, type, sector and goals. BIM is becoming the norm on large projects with sufficient budgets and timelines to invest in it and realize the benefits, like with infrastructure and data centers. Smaller projects adopt it much less due to cost-benefit considerations. But I hope and expect to see residential projects increasingly provide structured digital information to owners in the future, even if not full BIM models, so people can better understand and maintain the homes they’re investing in. Simpler technologies and processes may emerge for those scales.

Q: Where do you see the construction industry and MMC in 10 years? 

A: In the coming years, I think we’ll see more hybrid solutions, composites, and panelized systems being used in homebuilding. Homes will be simplified in their construction but still allow for individualization and aesthetics. More spray and pump finishes for plaster and render will be utilized. If these advancements can be applied in the affordable housing market to make stunning homes, that will be a major accomplishment.