Above all, it is essential to desecrate BIM!

Nothing is simpler since already informally in place since Man built. The key words being methodologies and protocols. What we teach to any Tradesman during their apprenticeship. The invention of BIM carries a distorted image by the intention of the majority use of digital tools in an environment where manual gesture is essential and preserved.

But there ! our contemporary era can no longer teach classically. And by dint of reform one runs out and to give oneself a good image, it is easier to invent three words, which one keeps in English preferably: BIM – Building Information Modeling or Management depending on who works. Already there is an ambiguity; the acronym already leaves a choice and its translation remains elusive in the minds of users, active and future.

But what does BIM require if not the methodical and formal application of what we know how to do at all times? During my apprenticeship as a carpenter, I was taught knowledge and skills, but above all I was taught to schedule my work to make it a profession.

And to become a Tradesman on simple bases:

– Learn about the subject

– Organize and design

– Draw a sketch with precision and accuracy

– Define a precise flow rate reducing material losses

– Trace precisely on the bases of the sketch

– Cut each piece of wood just as precisely, classify them and order them

– And finally to implement in precise and thought out gestures, without any retouching.

What’s more for BIM? think about the building’s operation, its maintenance? we can do for the most part! The only downside still strongly anchored is that there is no link between the design and construction budgets and that of the building’s life. We still do not know (the principals who only have vision throughout their mandate) link the envelope allocated to the work in relation to that of the life of the project. Even less of its end of life.

In fact, as everything is played out from the programming of the project, the prime contractor applies himself to making the project stick to such complex but obsolete regulations and little arm in terms of response to the obligation of ecological transition. Here too, the term “transition” that we use all the time, diametrically evokes the inability of our societal functioning to take a firm and lasting decision (the decision, not its development which may itself last a long time before lead to a real act). Thus, in respect of adopting a smooth transition which does not overly constrain the legislator and especially the lobbies, we launch tracks, we postpone, we keep deadlines and in clear terms we do not take any fundamental decision. What to do in a country which offers two fuels at the pump, the least dirty of which is the most expensive? ….

Registering and implementing BIM project methodologies and protocols would be the perfect opportunity to install the best objectives and considerably reduce the heavy share of Co² production attributed to the construction industry. An example stands out:

– The design of passive energy projects.

What could be more obvious than reducing the need for heating of a building to almost nothing to achieve this ecological transition that makes us talk so much! However, we learned in February 2020 that the future RT 2020, which we should see taking up its activity in 2021, will probably not immediately retain the imposed objective of carrying out BEPOS (Positive Energy Building) projects. The French thermal regulations only work on declarative without almost no real serious test or return on consumption. Let’s imagine if drivers were forced to declare that they were not driving or drinking while driving and sticking to making them pay an annual fee…. This is what we are asked for the good health of our land.

Our RT 2012 and soon 2020 is ridiculous and imposes programming objectives for mediocre projects whose public procurement regulations may cause the project management team to declare as irrelevant that will propose another solution – even if it is better and in respect of the budget. You have to follow the program and the rule at all costs, by congratulating yourself on the results obtained – so easy to reach that our trades are getting poorer and that the teaching of construction trades – craft as well as those of mastery of ‘work – absolutely do not take into account the objective of know-how and know how to build. So what could be better than being dazzled by chimeras? and the digital model – a tool that is essential today in the cash register of all the construction professions – this Digital Model is therefore sacred as the saving element of our future projects but which insidiously becomes this chimera which already serves the cause of BIM in the minds of design offices and construction companies. Only 12% of the projects are “BIM”.

It must be understood that the digital model is not BIM! the digital model is one of the many BIM tools. And to understand it well, it suffices to make a social analogy that everyone knows and which refers to the family. Most software that prides itself on being “BIM” uses tools called product families, design families, material families, etc. This term is undeniably good and I suggest, to understand what BIM is fundamentally, that we use the term “host family”. For this, take the example of the host family – who will be called Mr. and Mrs. MURS – who is preparing to welcome the orphan “WINDOW”. At the same time, it is essential that Mr. Maçon and Mr. Menuisier work in collaboration (social workers?) And that Mrs. EQUIPE DE MAITRISEDŒUVRE coordinate, order, pilot and verify the smooth running of this reception (the social center no doubt). It will then be necessary to create a framework in the MURS family and this framework will have to provide all the characteristics for the best possible reception, of the young WINDOW; who himself will be best prepared to take his place in this environment which is potentially hostile to him, to find his happiness there and to be able to stay there for a long time. What about the digital model at this stage of understanding? useless! Before each party has acquired the instruction necessary for exchange and collaboration. However, it will be this digital model that will collect all of this information in an active and collaborative library managed by a manager who will also be called BIM.

For this, the use of BIM must be above all educational for its best transcription on site. It is essential that the adoption of essential digital techniques in our time, be viewed favorably by active construction professionals. For this, it remains mandatory that the artisanal gesture be given very positive priority. Digitizing the project study should in no way make believe and let settle the industrial construction and innovative technologies such as the 3D printer to name only this one. Our future will see these technologies take their place; but the artisanal gesture must be strongly preserved. At the risk of seeing considerably poorer the quality of architectural projects. Being convinced that a high-quality work considerably raises the qualitative image of a project, however architecturally humble it may be – on paper.

The transmission of this BIM culture to manual construction trades should not systematically call for purely BIM teaching, at the risk of diverting the artisan spirit or pushing it aside. For that, the adapted pedagogy would be ideally provided by the practice and not by a purely theoretical teaching very complex to apply according to the craft gestures. If we had to make a pedagogical comparison, we would compare classical teaching with very practical methods stemming from Montessori pedagogies. Indeed, it will be much more effective and obvious to “Bimer” the teaching from the first learnings (CAP, Bac PRO etc) rather than to insist on wanting to transmit new methods after a purely classical learning. The best way to create opposition to the so-called progress.

In my opinion, the writing of a craft charter adapted to BIM methodologies should be implemented. Such a work should appeal to journeymen, guardians of know-how and that history has always seen take the path of modernity. Nowadays, companionship undergoes an image linked mainly to historic monuments. The restoration of Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral further strengthens this image. However, at the time of the construction of the cathedrals, the companions were at the forefront of progress and even invented it! companionship was the main player in major public worksites and even very close to project management. Inscribing such a charter preserving the artisanal gesture from the first years of the establishment of BIM would be the guarantee that the working environment adopts and develops such an ambition without restraint. But for that, as we know, everyone must move in the same direction and in collaboration. The working environment and a fortiori the companion environment will come up against BIM, however essential it may be, if it is not obvious that it must be a main player. Undergoing BIM will sign its non-recognition by the French working class, steeped in history and recognized by the UN as intangible heritage. It is essential that national know-how is not lost in single small punctual works and finally in the museum.

Ideally, BIM can and must be the engine of constructive quality that has made history in France, like cooking and an incredible number of crafts and trades. The construction professions recognize a very visible reduction in the quality of construction sites in our country, under the pretext of respecting standards and regulations. The good development that RT 2005 had contributed to is in sharp decline since the transition to RT 2012. The reason is the absence of novelty of this new version and the importance of exclusive respect for rules and standards which leaves no room for state of the art. Thus, the works are carried out at the edge of these regulations. And, like the bare hand climber who in certain disciplines will touch the goal to be reached with his hand and in other cases will have the satisfaction of standing on his own height on the summit he has just climbed and take the time to admire the surroundings. The effort is not exactly the same and neither is the result. This is about responding to the concept of satisfaction of the effort and ensuring that it is successful.

BIM cannot be the vehicle for ease; it is not his ambition and yet if we do not include the knowledge to work and the know-how in this BIM being written, he will become the spokesperson of this mediocrity. Twentieth century projects have already greatly reduced the attractiveness of beautiful work. What dazzles us today when we are at the foot of the Ark of Defense? beyond its symbolic and architectural opening, which makes us forget that the west facade was adorned with Carrara marble. An implementation that has been prohibited for more than 2000 years and that an apprentice tailor from Pierre taught me. This stone being charged with water to 200% in quarry it is frost-resistant and does not arise in thin thickness vertically and in facade exposed in addition. This knowledge is not lost, but it was put aside to meet the whim of a deceased architect before having completed his work and also because of the acceptance of a Company preferring to make a listed error and very known rather than losing a prestigious site. This example, among too many constructions, is undoubtedly one of the most representative of the degradation of our respect for knowledge. And we only have in our mouths the term Sustainable Development! But I insist; as long as we are in the gesture of development, no concrete decision will be taken. The current discourse is an illusion and the environmental policy nonexistent in our country.

But what are we going to be able to do when our leaders impose an ignorant vocabulary asking architects that we produce an “Architectural Gesture” rather than a Project referring to a defined architectural party and corresponding to a constructive party representative of the study. The cultural decline of our society gives obsolete orders.

To return to the first subject which concerns bio-based materials, here too a big word masks reality. A bio-based product comes from the biomass of the plant or animal environment. Basically, this makes us accept petroleum as a bio-based product…. The land, and only it has mastered its production. And yet the result of its exploitation is dramatic for terrestrial health (not for its economy). But above all, the use of natural products is not the cleanest either…. In reference to the various regulations which impose that these products are loaded with fire retardant, insecticide products and so on – products that we cannot manage to ban in our campaigns either. The result is there, for example; a wood joinery is mainly in glulam and includes chemical preservatives as well as a protective film of varnish type which makes it a heavy waste prohibited by our same regulations to be transformed into anything, or even into pellets for be burned. Clearly there is no real bio-based product that has not undergone such modifications that nature would not feel it without disaster, if it were to be returned.

Of course there is also recycling. On this subject we have immense progress to make. But unlike the recycling methods systematically used by our ancestors, the one we can put in place today has only a majority of poor quality products from the 20th century to use. As a reminder, the Hermione was rebuilt in over ten years with great complexity, whereas the original had been built in several months thanks to the dismantling of five other boats and to a yard where nearly four hundred workers were working. But the success was undoubtedly due to the presence of more than 10% of children on this site … this boat has fulfilled its functions very well since it is built with good materials. But today ; or reposition the “vintage” windows unable to meet the current thermal standard which is already, itself, so far below realistic environmental expectations?

BIM management of bio-based materials is not, in itself, a problem. It is true that their heterogeneous nature can generate complexities of systematic and digital recognition. But BIM does not need to manage everything by computer and automatically. Artificial intelligence must be able to leave room for human and artisanal intelligence, carrying the final gesture which alone will be able to dazzle and combat our loss of consciousness, almost chronic today

In summary, yes to BIM and technological development; but in respect of the knowledge and knowledge shared by the collaboration of all the construction professions. But let’s not hide the view, it will not solve anything that is really important if we permanently eliminate the attraction of a job well done and if we do not make the best place for the quality design that highlights foremost respect for sites and natural knowledge. For this, let us give priority to initial environmental programming as an inseparable vector for responses to the evolution of our climate. Above all, we are not satisfied with actions that are only noisy – but so useless.

To do well :

– Let us provoke and give the means to the journeymen so that they participate in the establishment of a charter integrating the craft act in French BIM.

– Let’s give priority to passive energy design for all buildings in the country (such as our Belgian, Austrian, German, Swedish, Dutch, etc. neighbors). Limiting the heating need to 15 Kw / m² / year being one of the best ways to reduce foul smelling consumption – therefore to provoke a real ambitious environmental act, ensuring real positive constructions with very high results (there too there is a lot to say about regulatory BEPOS results)

– Let us bring real methods and protocols to the pedagogy of the training centers in charge of the construction trades which mainly host school failures (of which I am a member). That the construction courses are carried out in decompartmentalization between trades with the aim that everyone is informed of the interventions upstream and downstream of their trade during acquisition. School failure no longer belongs only to college classes. More and more graduates are in reality masked academic failures who have been allowed to progress from class to class without convincing results and who have allowed them to access diplomas of great mediocrity by making them believe that they have market value. What is a decoy!

– Let’s renovate the image and status of the construction trades. Being a craftsman requires intelligence and a lot of culture. As proof, these famous school failures, become excellent entrepreneurs once their trade acquired. There is a part of society that does not support education as it is offered. The geometry of the orderly class in front of a teacher carrying out a program while completely forgetting the sensitive and artistic teaching cannot be suitable for the whole of society. And if the vocational training centers of the building struggle so much to ensure their enrollment each year, this is also due to the maintenance of the social scheme of this class that many students refused throughout their childhood – without omitting the social image of the worker considered a real pariah or a failure.

Let’s open our eyes to principals and legislators who, by their technical and ecological – but also artistic and manual – ignorance do not allow to program projects at the technical and environmental height of the expectations of our living environment.

The construction professions alone cannot impose the best of themselves if the programming does not allow them to fulfill the ambition of environmental responses. So much so that the schools of architecture have not yet integrated BIM and even less the obligation to train architects educated in building thermics – essential to plan intelligently. It is time to modify the way of projecting in France which favors the construction of the design rather than to impose to draw a construction.

Let us be the main players in this ecological revolution essential to the good life of our earth, and therefore of our children. And if it is a methodical action to carry out and that it is called BIM or otherwise whatever, let us privilege there!

The only result, being the objective to be achieved and that this result involves the acquisition of one or more trades combining mastery of skills and technical and digital progress – contemporary tools par excellence.

Rogna le 02/12/2020

Elie Bouche

Architecte D.P.L.G et compagnon charpentier des Devoirs du Tour de France.

Julie Vuillermet Architecte D.E.

Desecrate the BIM!