Never discuss politics, religion or BIM at the dinner table

BIM show live

Lee Mullin, Construction Specialist for software provider Autodesk, describes his role as multi-faceted as he increasingly finds himself in an advisory position to help define and establish workflows on client projects. His expertise has many functions but please don’t actually call him an “expert”!

BIM show liveLee is due to present at BIM Show Live 2018 on Wednesday 28 February in his seminar entitled No one likes an expert: Why Michael Gove was right about BIM. Here, Lee gives us an exclusive preview of what we can expect in his strategy-based seminar and why “experts” are frowned upon, but yet essential in project delivery.

Dinner conversation etiquette suggests you shouldn’t discuss health conditions, religion and, most importantly, politics. It’s been hard to resist over the last few years with Brexit and Trump at the top of many people’s concerns, comparing something to political life has the danger of splitting up friendships, families and relationships. It’s also fair to say you shouldn’t turn up to a conference full of industry experts and tell them they’re wrong.

When I turn up to BIM Show Live in Newcastle this month, I’ll be combining the two, and there’s a real danger that an angry mob may chase me down Bigg Market with pitchforks and my head may appear on a spike before the end of Day One.

However, I’m hoping that in the peaceful surroundings of the Boiler Shop that many of you will join me to understand what lessons we can learn from Michael Gove, a man who courts strong opinions whenever his name is mentioned. I’ll be exploring his infamous comment “people in this country have had enough of experts” that did its part in steering the UK into a very different path and why it shouldn’t be ignored by anyone looking to win over colleagues and clients, whatever their political persuasion.

Whatever you think of Michael Gove, or his views on experts, now is a good time to look at why this comment resonated with so many, and why it should force us to consider how we apply ourselves in our work, communicate out on social media or in public forums. When we look at our own workplaces, we can talk about BIM adoption, accreditation and all the advantages it brings, but what is the real mood on the ground and can we change it?

My favourite project recently has been the Vamma Hydroelectric Dam in Norway. It’s adoption of cutting-edge workflows is something that the building and infrastructure industries can learn from. However, its rigid stance on a 2D drawing and paper-free site shows us where the industry can get to and how far 3D modelling really has come, especially in places you may not expect a natural fit. That’s why I’m very encouraged by the evolution of how construction is viewing digital. It’s gone from being viewed as a necessary evil to improve productivity to a way of getting better data to make better decisions, changing the mindset of contractors from firefighting and risk mitigation to a way to identify new opportunities.

So, please leave your pitchforks at home and join me in Newcastle to take back control of BIM in our workplace and make these amazing BIM practices work on all projects, not just a select few.

See the full BIM Show Live 2018 programme or Wednesday 28 February and Thursday 1 March.


BIM Show Live is best known as the construction industry conference that delivers advanced technologies in the built environment and is taking place on Wednesday 28 February and Thursday 1 March, at the Boiler Shop in Newcastle’s Stephenson’s Quarter.


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