He’s just not that into you…or BIM

Today I’m going to introduce you to a new acronym.

That’s right. One more.

Just this last one, then we’re through. Done. Kaput. I promise.

You ready? Good.


There, that wasn’t so bad. Right?

It’s short for

Just a Tool

As in…

Well, you know.

The oft heard sentiment that

“BIM is just a tool”

Here, it’s the word “just” – not “tool” – that triggers my outrage.

And this rant.

So, fasten your seatbelts.

Not “just.”

BIM is not “just” anything.

This blog’s brand is more horse feathers than high horse, more horse sense than nonsense – so accept what I’m about to say as an exception to the rule.

My anger – and incredulousness (yes, it’s a word) – in online discussions and interviews.

The nonchalance of those who declare that

“That’s not a BIM problem.”

As in

“I have a hospital to design in a seismic zone and I have no time to do it. That’s not a BIM problem.”


“That’s not an issue brought about by BIM.”

That BIM is “just a tool” – like it’s just a can opener or a pair of pliers or a hammer.

If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

–          Abraham Maslow

“If we didn’t have it – we’d use something else.”

As in

“No Revit? No problem. I’ll use a stapler.”

At least until BIM becomes a staple in the industry.

These dismissives come from those who are immersed in the technology

Like fish who, it is said, cannot discover water – or like Madge in the 70’s Palmolive ads

You’re soaking in it

They swat away the insinuation that what they are using or doing is anything more than a revved-up 2H pencil with an off-handed dismissive sweep of the hand like they were swatting flies.

But a tool?!

The way that the iPhone is just a tool.

Or the GPS is just a tool.

Or the human brain…

Only that BIM is ALL of these in one.

And the add-ons are BIM’s apps.

App-like tools available for every part of the BIM process.

BIM is not a tool, authoring, analyzing or otherwise.

Apps are tools, I’ll concede you that.

BIM is…

BIM is a process

BIM is our saving grace

BIM is our ticket to ride

BIM is our pass out of here

BIM is our card that says pass GO

BIM is our last golden ticket

BIM is our salvation

BIM is the innards of an intricate clock

BIM is the white horse you rode in on

BIM is the deus ex machina – that arrives at the end of the play to save everything

BIM, the enabler

BIM, the balm

BIM makes IPD possible

And also likely, relevant, necessary and inevitable.

BIM is more than what’s happening on your desktop.

No one would say

BIM is just a process.

BIM is just a strategy.

BIM is not just a technology: software is.

BIM is a disruptive technology. And…

BIM requires that you just focus less on Revit, ArchiCAD and their add-ons and more on process and strategy

BIM is a product

BIM is an IT-enabled, open standards based deliverable and collaborative process

BIM is a facility life-cycle management requirement

BIM is a fundamentally different way of creating, using, and sharing building lifecycle data

BIM is just evolving and will continue to as the capabilities of user and technology improve

BIM can serve as a reliable basis for decision making

BIM is a rebirth of excitement and hope. (T/Y Alberto Palomino, master of the poetry and metaphysics of BIM)

No one asks “Can peanut butter exist without jelly?”

Yes, BIM can exist without IPD as IPD can work without BIM

Just as peanut butter can exist without jelly.



And yes,

BIM is a pretty amazing, evolved, in-process of developing, still in-progress


But a pretty amazing one at that. And…

Get on your high horses, people – the Age of Aquarius for design professionals is upon us.

Just as HAL – the fictional computer in Space Odyssey – plus one letter in the alphabet is IBM (H<I, A<B, L<M) so too CAD minus one letter is BIM*

*Except for the last two letters. Shucks.

Definitions of Just BIM

No one would ever say

BIM? It’s just a computable representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility.


BIM is just information use, reuse, and exchange just with integrated 3D-2D model-based technology. No big deal.


BIM is just a single repository including both graphical and non-graphical documents – that’s all.

or even

BIM is just a building design and documentation methodology characterized by the creation and use of coordinated, internally consistent computable information about a building project in design and construction. Nothing more, really.

Why qualify it?

So fuggedaboutit.

There’s no need for the acronym JAT.

BIM isn’t “just” any thing.

So stop saying it.

BIM just is.



Filed under BIM, defining BIM, process, workflow

10 responses to “He’s just not that into you…or BIM

  1. BIM is…what’s happening!

    Je BIM, donc je suis.

  2. Bimmerman

    BIM is a workflow not a technology or software package? – Bullshit, we have been designing buildings in 2D since the begining of time, only now had the technology, hardware and software evolved to allow true BIM.

    If someone says that BIM is not a software or technology then they are probially one of those people we all bump into who don’t actually ‘do’ BIM, but instead talk about it, as if they at some sort of godlike BIM Jedi or the steve jobbs of the BIM world. 

    Truth is BIM is a workflow, and a technology all rolled into one. We can however still do BIM without the workflow, we cannot do BIM without the technology.

    We have reached a point where technology, software and hardware have evolved enough to do BIM, but instead of actually doing it most just talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.

    I’m sick of sitting in meeting after meeting where directors, and project leaders talk about BIM, with absolutly no idea WTF (what the fuck) they are talking about.

    As someone who does ‘do’ real BIM day in and day out, I just want to kick them in the face.


  3. Hi Bimmerman,

    With a name like that you ought to know. I guess if I understand correctly what I wrote in this post are, to you, fighting words? A line drawn in the silicon? Something along the lines of “Those who can, do. Those who cannot, write about it and talk about it ad nauseum”? That’s fair – but unfortunately leaves little room for those like myself who both work in BIM and talk about it ad nauseum.
    BTW (by the way) what you wrote here was actually more of a screed than a rant. Just saying. Thanks for driving by and shooting!

  4. Hi Randy,

    I agree that BIM is just a tool. Revit is just software.

    As a builder who is pushing to integrate BIM and CAM/CNC fabrication. I would like to know more about your views on how fabrication information modeling differs from building information modeling. A good definition of FIM can be found at the Acecad site:

    Many of the potential efficiencies enabled by BIM/FIM and IPD require collaboration with fabricators and builders during both the design and fabrication stages of a project. Your view?

    • Hi Greg,

      Thanks for your question. I took a look at your link – and while I cannot speak to the specific software – the concept itself is sound.

      That said, the ultimate goal in the design and construction process would be for the BIM model itself to be used for fabrication of the appropriate building sustems and components. And, as you note with this in mind, accommodating all who need to be at the table day one to assure the correct level of detail is delivered when it is needed and by whom.

      There are, as you well know, roadblocks to the realization of this goal: including right of reliance, legal and insurance concerns that need to be hammered-out. Coupled with this is the GC’s or CM’s distrust of the reliability architect’s design model.

      But hammered-out they will. Forto avoid the creation and adoption of yet another acronym (FIM) may be just the incentive needed to encourage us once and for all to crash through any remaining roadblocks and get the BIM to work for all parties – including subs and fabricators.

      Thanks for visiting and for your query. Since I’m representing the BIM-as-process camp, perhaps another reader will be willing to chime-in here on this topic from the standpoint of BIM-as-tool?

      It’s an interesting topic – one that perhaps deserves its own blog post – and hopefully we can get the conversation rolling here…

      Best to you,


  5. Thanks Holly for stopping by, for chiming-in with your substantive response to Greg’s inquiry and for the link. Much appreciated!

  6. No way just a tool. BIM actually enables efficient building life cycle communications to be possible and to exist is totally reliant on supporting technology.

  7. For me BIM is the best invention in the industry of Architecture, Structure and MEP

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