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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Respect the Intern, Respect the BIM

I ran across this article on Twitter.  Although it is written in a more "rant" style of blog post there are many interesting points and it really got me thinking.  

Personally, I have always hated the title "intern". It automatically places you at the bottom of the totem pole in almost any situation.  Additionally, it does not give credit to the amount of work an intern completes or the value the intern adds to the project.  This got me thinking about what BIM (in my case, Revit) has done to the role of the intern.

I began my "intern career" using AutoCAD and ended it using Revit.  In most cases the responsibilities of 2D documentation have not changed from the AutoCAD Intern to the BIM Intern..."BIMtern"??...  So what has BIM done for the intern?  

The CAD intern was typically focusing on the creation of single drawings using their knowledge or "red-lines".  The CAD intern maye be tasked with a single toilet room detail plan, elevations, reflected ceiling plan, etc...  The BIMtern may be tasked with the same toilet room plans, elevations, and RCP's but the process of completing that task requires an understanding of how the task will effect other colleagues working on the project (both in 2-D and in 3-D) mainly because of the existence of worksharing and use of a single file (as opposed to a completely separate 2D drawing file).   The BIMterm will also have to communicate and coordinate with the MEP engineers if toilets have to be shifted, sinks have to be relocated, or lights have to move.  

You may be thinking, "technically, that has to be done with an AutoCAD process too".  This is true.  But does it? With a 2D workflow, unless you are x-referencing plumbing plans, the project can move on without a word being said between that intern and the MEP engineers.  With a true BIM workflow the architectural plans and elevations will show piping and lights in the wrong location until that coordination can happen.  Conversely, the MEP model will have some "open systems"... or detached pipes in this case.

Ultimately, the BIMtern will carry a more intimate role with the entire building during the design process, have an enhanced involvement in coordination, and play a major role in the success of the contract documents....  So he/she deserves a more fitting title.... 

What do you think??