BIM was the subject of a panel discussion at the Strategic Development Council's meeting this month at Georgia Tech.
BIM was the subject of a panel discussion at the Strategic Development Council's meeting this month at Georgia Tech.

Masonry promoters often are often challenged in their efforts, especially when referring to concrete construction. Architects and owners often have a respect for both building systems. Many producers provide both products.  And many contractors have skilled craftpersons who can create quality structures in both systems.

But there’s no doubt of alliance when it comes to promoting against steel.  The proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, first recorded in a 4th century BC Sanskrit treatise on statecraft, rings true today Concrete and masonry promoters face an uphill battle in the new world of computer aided design. Steel all but dominates the intellectual domain of building design.

Structural engineers have begun to adopt computer aided construction technology, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), into their design and approval processes. Many large contractors have followed suit, incorporating software tools in their bidding and construction management procedures as well. And in time structure owners will view BIM procedures as the norm.

In recent months, the masonry industry has made great strides in united our own associations into a common action for BIM design. I urge to read David Biggs update on our website. But I urge even more involvement with our enemy’s enemy. Perhaps it’s time for some masonry leaders to become involved with the SDC’s BIM Accelerated Technology Implementation (ATI) team.

For the past six years, the Strategic Development Council, a unit of the ACI Foundation, has identified BIM as an Industry Critical Technology. Under Bob Risser’s leadership, the BIM Accelerated Technology Implementation (ATI) team has been working to identify obstacles to industry adoption of BIM, formulates strategies to address obstacles, and determines specific tasks to execute strategies.

They have been making significant gains. This was evident when Risser’s team hosted a session at last week’s Strategic Development Council’s meeting at Georgia Tech. Many of the same experts working with BIM-M presented status reports. (A highlight of the session was the lab visit at which design meets reality, about which I will soon report.)

Involvement at the stratrgic level could be could for both indutsries. Mark Perniconi, executive director of the Charles Pankow Foundation, provided a concise update how he sees the concrete and masonry’s industries’ response to these new technologies. (Notice I wrote, concrete and  masonry.)

Using terms only a software engineer could love, Perniconi emphasized that our industries need to work together to be sure that research grants are effective, and produce results that cause immediate effect, and payback. If I understand the status of things, researchers are close to developing a universal code that will enable collaboration between product systems and designs. And when you read Bigg’s report, you’ll learn that BIM-M’s future is very dependent on this code development.

SDC provides its members with a vehicle to form and participate in collaborative research and development efforts to accelerate acceptance of concrete systems and technologies. It has provided leadership and a strong voice for the concrete industry on issues involving the entire industry. It provides the objective voice that advocates improvements to industry efficiency and quality.

And if we are to have a successful implementation of BIM-M, it’s probably a good idea to join in with our enemy’s enemy on this key initiative. To learn more about SDC, contact Doug Sordyl, SDC’s  Managing Director by email at, or phone at 248-848-3757. SDC web site is