How to implement BIM the right way.
You may already know that Building Information Modeling or Management (BIM) is one of the most promising recent developments in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry.
The result of this process, known as incorporating a Building Information Model in the existing design and engineering process, can be vastly beneficial and is often used throughout the entire building lifecycle from planning, design, construction, facility management, and renovation.
Its benefits are already proven in the last 10 years to save time, cost, and improve quality for all project types and sizes.
But these benefits don’t come without challenges and hurdles.
Most of the time, you may be asking various questions when trying to implement BIM and hoping to become BIM-capable:
What part of BIM comes first? Is it software, process or training?
If it is software, which BIM platform is most beneficial for my type of practice?
Then if I purchase new BIM software, does that mean I have to change my hardware too?
What type of cloud solutions we should have to collaborate with other stakeholders?
How do I know what is the right BIM process for our practice?
How do I train my team to know the right amount of BIM?
How can I measure my return on BIM investment?
How do I even know if I’m using BIM correctly?
Typically, to get the answers to these questions, you will invest in a lot of your own time researching how BIM can impact your practice.
Alternatively, you will also seek advice and answers from colleagues and other professionals in the same industry specifically those who have already implemented BIM and are BIM-capable. At the end of the day, perhaps you think the best approach is getting someone on the team who knows how BIM works.
In reality, these are all the exact right things for you should do when it comes to implementing a new process:
1. Research, research, and research.
More often than not, most experienced professionals would rather only know the concepts and will just simply rely on finding someone familiar with the BIM process and get them to take charge of implementing BIM.
This is one of the biggest mistakes business owners, managers, or project leaders can make when deciding if BIM is the right approach. All stakeholders must have a basic understanding of what BIM can do, how it can impact your workflows, and what fundamental benefits and challenges it will bring to your practice. Someone who is not in your position will not be able to understand your specific criteria and it will be difficult to make the right decisions on what specific path to follow.
The solution is to find out as much as you can on the process of BIM. Understand the importance of your workflows and this will help to determine which part of BIM to implement first - software, process, or training, etc. Consider taking on fundamental BIM training courses locally or online for how BIM is used with a specific focus on your type of business - the more focused the better.
2. Speak to those who have already done it.
When it comes to implementing something new, there is no better approach than to learn from those who have already done it.
The lesson learned is probably the most valuable advice you can have because you will want to make sure you do not make the same mistakes. Most professionals will be more than happy to share what they’ve done right and what was done wrong.
Fundamentally, as people, we all love to share information because when we share, we feel an emotional connection with others. It makes us feel good bout ourselves, especially if it helps the other person to avoid the challenges which you’ve already faced.
The solution is to seek advice from colleagues that are close to you, the closer the connection, the more candid the advice.
3. Seek that Champion.
As business owners, managers, or team leaders, it is your job to make sure that BIM is implemented properly for your team or practice.
To make sure the process is done properly and carry through, you will need someone who is fully dedicated and focus on the implementation of BIM for you. We refer to this person as a BIM Champion.
Sometimes a BIM champion is discovered and grown from the bottom-up and sometimes, top-down. It is critical to make sure the BIM Champion is the one team member that is the most passionate about the various aspects of BIM. The BIM Champion will make sure the process is done thoroughly and comprehensively.
Even though most likely, there will be trials and tribulations, but at least you know that there is someone who is always focused on making sure that BIM eventually will get implemented.
As a BIM consultant company,
we are always looking for ways to deliver the best solutions and add value to our clients and sometimes that solution doesn’t necessarily involve us.
If the project is small enough to handle, the resources are there, and the team is more than capable, then we will advise our clients to implement BIM on their own. Certainly, we can become their BIM Champion and support with minimal effort or simply make sure it gets done properly. Often it is better to keep things simple and work internally as a team than to have external parties complicating the process.
However, many clients already know what they want and have already determined the essential value that an external BIM consultancy service team can provide. Then the support of an external party is the ideal scenario. We refer to this party as a “Value-added BIM Delivery Partner”.
Since 2013, we have been a “Value-added BIM Delivery Partner” for some of the biggest AEC companies in the world. We have completed projects of various sizes in 12 different countries and have seen the good and the bad side of implementing BIM at many levels. Sometimes, we are the ideal partner and frankly, there are times when we aren’t. This has to do with many issues from communication amongst team members to the understanding or misunderstanding of what is the desired outcome.
The usual cause for conflict is the level of expectations of all parties. As a consultant, you expect the client to be insightful in the process and effectively communicate the objective. While as a client, you expect the consultant to know the objectives and deliver them in the most optimal way possible.
However, if the outcomes and expectations are clearly defined and agreed upon, then this will always be the ideal case for having a “Value-added BIM Delivery Partner” as part of the project team.
The three fundamental value-added items which an experienced BIM delivery partner can offer which addresses the issues mentioned earlier when it comes to implementing a new process:
Help with your research: Provide education and training courses the team on an ideal process and workflow for their specific type of practice.
Be the advice-giver: Provide the lesson-learned method especially and only if the BIM Delivery Partner has years of experience locally and internationally.
Be the Champion: Assign a dedicated leader or team to create and manage an easy to understand BIM implementation process and follow through to make sure it is done effectively and efficiently.
BIM is not new anymore,
but to the majority, BIM is still considered as uncharted territory and we all know it will eventually become the standard for our AEC industry for the foreseeable future. Therefore, our industry must make sure those who are just discovering BIM and looking to implement BIM right now, are implementing it properly and effectively from the beginning.
If you want to know more about how we can support your team to implement BIM on a specific project or for the team to become BIM-capable, feel free to reach out to us at any time. We are always here to make sure that everyone - client or not - should implement BIM the right way.