Fairy tale told by BIM

Everyone knows of the classic children’s tale of the three pigs and the wolf. It has been passed on for generations as a cautionary tale to work hard and smart because you never know when it might save your life! But this tale is not only for naughty little children. Oh no! This is a lesson that most of us can still learn from, if only we translate it to our situations, we might still learn a thing or two.

Ladies and gentlemen gather around. I have a story to tell you…

… in a kingdom not so far away, there were three pigs who lived at home with their parents in Pigsville. Although they were brothers they could not be more different from each other. Their love for architecture was the only thing that united them. They could talk about buildings for ages, everything about structures fascinated them (even though they could argue about it every step of the way). Their passion drove them to apply and eventually graduate from PTU (Pig’s Technical University) with honors and a master degree in architecture.

They made a pact that once they graduated, the brothers will build their own houses. However, there was one giant problem: The Big Bad Wolf. He was a creature from their wildest nightmares — ginormous with sharp teeth and razor-sharp claws, not only extremely ugly but also very cruel. Everyone spoke of him as the most unforgiving building assessor in town, who always left destruction in his wake. You see, The Big Bad Wolf had only one desire: to destroy all the houses in his way by finding the faults in them to get to the helpless pigs inside, a feat he always succeeded in one horrifying bite. The brothers knew they had to protect themselves against The Wolf by building a strong and sustainable house — this is where it became tricky. They could never agree on anything, especially on how to build a house.

So off they went, their separate ways to assemble a team of experts that could help them in their quest to survive the Wolf’s wrath. They all found an engineer, a contractor, and they took on the role of architect (since they thought their design was the best) to build their dream house.

The first pig, Sam, was not the innovative type. He liked crafting much more and had a fondness for authentic buildings, made with vintage materials. His design was made of only straw held together with clay, which reflected his old-fashioned taste. He wasn’t a team player, doing everything from designing to building his house by himself. He did not take any regulations into account and just wanted to build something he would be proud of and was close to his heart.

It looked like a mess but it was his hot mess. He promptly packed his bags and went to live in the house against everyone’s wishes. It took only a day before The Big Bad Wolf got wind of his poorly constructed home. The Wolf did not even need to strain himself — the house went down with just a soft huff of his destructive breath. Sam came running out of the house and fled to his brother’s house trying to escape.

Meanwhile, Sam’s younger brother Ben had just finished building his house and had lived there for two days. He preferred doing things in the traditional way. But unlike Sam he was more than willing to work with different specialists. He wanted to build everything with wood and only wood. He came up with a beautiful design of a timeless wooden building, but there was one major problem. Collaboration.

Everyone went on and made changes to his design without communicating and at the end, and it ended up to be a mess. And it showed big time. You could see glimpses of how the building needed to look like, but everything was a mix of conflicting styles and views. News traveled fast and The Wolf followed the scent of wood and juicy piglets to Ben’s house, where the pigs were hiding in a rickety corner by the back door. It took some effort, but with a couple of huffs and puffs The Wolf blew Ben’s house down. The house turned into a pile of old scrap wood.

Mike was more than willing to provide his older brothers shelter and protect them of The Wolf. Contrary to his older brothers, he was very much a pig of the future. In Mike’s world change was not something to fear, but to embrace. He was always busy inventing new things and jumping on to new innovations. Mike wanted to build a house of the future, so he turned to computers. There a new trend in the AEC industry that inspired Mike — Building Information Modelling (BIM), which he wanted to use for his house design. He made his initial design in a BIM model with the use of Revit® software and additional plugins to optimize his designs.

His contractor and engineer were all able to change the design, which updated automatically within the model. Mike was monitoring the planning and construction closely, but he never ceased collaborating with the team. The smooth collaboration and integration of BIM in the design process helped him to do all the work in half the time and build a modern and futuristic house he could be proud of. Even Sam and Ben were surprised to see all the work he was able to do in such a short amount of time.

The Wolf was sure he could finally catch all the pig brothers for good with no effort as they had nowhere to run. He tried huffing and puffing, but the concrete building would not come down — it still stood tall and unyielding. No matter what The Big Bad Wolf did; the house would not budge. After hours and hours of effort he finally collapsed and passed out from all the strain and power he wasted. The local Pigsville’s police arrested the drained Wolf and the kingdom was forever in Mike’s debt. The whole kingdom was renovated accordingly to Mike’s adopted BIM vision and he allowed his brothers to join his blossoming architectural practice.

You are now probably wondering what this has to do with you as an architect. The main moral of the story is striving to work smarter and easing your workload through collaboration with your team. Your efforts in showing priority and valuing build quality will always pay off.
At the end of the day, building consensus, reinforcing innovative ideas, and the need for sustainable design will always be cherished.