Over the past several years, Building Information Modeling (BIM) has become the standard for forward-thinking architecture, engineering, and construction firms. It increases efficiency, drives timelines and budget savings, reduces conflict and rework, and improves project control.
Yet, despite the potential benefits, the use of BIM is often not carried forward into the construction phase of the project. The reasons for that are varied, and frequently come down to either budget or even contractual limitations. In some cases, however, the reason is that the outcome of implementation is uncertain. Many construction companies who implement BIM spend a lot of money and can’t fully realize the expected benefits.
We don’t think it should be that way.
In this article, we explore the the three big mistakes companies make with their BIM implementation strategy, and then we’ll show how you can realize its true benefits.
The Three Big Mistakes
- Your highly paid BIM manager is wasting time on routine tasks
- You’re not using BIM for handover
- You’re paying for BIM the wrong way
1. Wasting the BIM Manager’s Time
Paying a BIM Manager to grab a file off an FTP site, match it with another file, and jockey that information back and forth among members of the team is a bit like paying an engineer to take out the trash. Yet it happens all the time.
This usually arises from a lack of alignment on the project team in regard to two main points:
- The correct level of detail (LOD)
- Who’s responsible for providing which information
Planning and collaboration can address both of these problems. From the start of the project:
- Make sure that every team member understands and agrees up front to their responsibility and the LOD required at each specific stage.
- Choose software that makes that information available to everyone on the project team.
Taking these measures frees your BIM manager to focus on the tasks you hired them for. This includes the higher level objective of managing teams of people and matching members up with tasks they are best suited to doing, as well as organizing and implementing standards needed to be followed on a BIM project.
In short, BIM managers must ensure that all team members have access to the 3D information they need when (and where) they need it.
Above all, BIM managers must deliver a coherent communication tool that doesn’t merely consist of an uncoordinated list of drawings, but an intelligent one that understands the relationship between modeling and how that geometry translates to specific aspects of the project like room names, plumbing detail, etc. In short, BIM managers must ensure that all team members have access to the 3D information they need when (and where) they need it.
2. Not Using BIM for Handover
Many construction companies see the handover as the end of the project, their time to bow out and move on to the next project. Barring any significant problems with the quality of their work, they’re done.
For the property owner, however, a fully operational as-built 3D model of their asset would be invaluable. It’s an asset that lives for the next 100 or more years of the building’s life, containing highly detailed information on the underlying structures and build processes in 3D.
Being able to explore operations and maintenance questions via the model instead of through physical exploration can greatly reduce the cost of scheduled maintenance and necessary repairs, and help with energy consumption management. It can substantially reduce the cost of renovations and eliminates many potentially costly renovation mistakes.
But why should you, the GC, care?
Because its use during handover is a significant customer satisfaction tool, and when handled properly, is only a very small amount of extra work for your team. Start the project with the expectation that the 3D model you created will be used during handover, and when you’re done, it will be ready for the (delighted) owner.
In other words, a BIM operations model is a relatively inexpensive, yet powerful, business development tool for your organization. Not convinced? According to CMO, increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by between 25% and 95%.
Beyond the benefits of customer satisfaction and retention, giving the owner your 3D model at handover also protects you from unfair post-construction litigation. When problems arise, the as-built 3D model makes it easy to show that you’ve done your job right, and to identify where the problem may have occurred.
3. Not Collaborating
A properly executed BIM implementation strategy can allow team members to access valuable information and collaborate with the tap of a screen. Some companies make the mistake of limiting the number of BIM users too much and excessively throttling who can see and manipulate what. While proper user access controls are an important part of your BIM system, enabling access among trusted team members ensures you get the most out of the software’s collaboration features.
In construction today, there is often a gap between the plan and actual performance. When design teams create plans without input from the build team, oftentimes the plan fails to take into account site conditions, availability of materials, and other construction realities.
In a collaborative construction process, the design team and construction team work together to help match the plan to performance.
This can lead to construction rework when contractors and supervisors are forced to improvise in order to make the plan work in the field. As a result it takes more time and money to complete projects and margins go down.
In a collaborative construction process, the design team and construction team work together to help match the plan to performance. Together, they conduct constructability reviews, identifying potential problems and then collectively creating solutions.
Getting BIM Collaboration Right the 1st Time
Landmark Builders knows how easy it can be, when using the right tools. They leveraged BIM collaboration software with VR tech to improve constructability reviews, identifying problems before they occur. In fact, Landmark Builders gained so many productivity, efficiency and cost benefits by using BIM 360, that using it has become a competitive advantage and a selling point to potential clients.
Want to learn more about how BIM collaboration software can improve preconstruction workflows?