How BIM Services Help Contractors and Building Owners
When your company decides to implement BIM (Building Information Models), it’s important to realize that the implementation is not about the technology, it’s about changing your entire organization. In order to successfully convert your blueprints and drawings business to BIM, you need to educate your employees and redesign your processes. The technology is the easy part. Changing people and processes are much more difficult. Sometimes managing the change with the help of a BIM services firm can make the adaptation faster, easier, and less painful all the way around. Adoption of BIM is a sea change – a major transformation of the way you do business. In keeping with our ocean-going metaphor — it’s like bringing a large ship into port. It’s difficult to maneuver that big bulky vessel, so tugboats are called in to help guide the ship into port. Your business is like that big bulky vessel – difficult to maneuver when changing direction and BIM is the port you need to pull into if you’re going to continue to be successful. A qualified BIM services firm can act as your personal tugboat, to help you maneuver your firm into the new direction of BIM.
One way to start the change is by finding one executive within your company who is willing to champion the BIM transformation. He should invest in understanding enough about BIM to conduct interviews with BIM service organizations who can aid in your company’s transformation. Essentially, the BIM Service company will serve as your initial structure for transforming your processes.
At this point, it’s essential to invest enough time and research in finding a BIM Service company who has the experience not only in the technology but in the processes that must be created around the technology. Working with your internal executive, the BIM service company you choose should review your current processes and make recommendations for adapting these processes for doing business with BIM. Because BIM is such a big change, affecting every aspect of what a company does, it’s important to work out all of the kinks before you plunge whole-heartedly into BIM. By working through this trial and error process with an outside firm, you’re able to make the necessary adjustments outside of your regular working environment, so that once you’re ready to bring BIM in-house, the transformation will run much more smoothly.
Part of the trial and error process will be assigned one or two projects to the BIM services firm so that they can run the BIM portions of the project in their external environment. You will want to run the same projects internally using the old processes. This dual effort gives you the opportunity to make sure that nothing has been missed and, in all probability, will also show the efficiencies and resulting cost-savings that BIM will bring to your projects. Now, you have something concrete to show the rest of your staff.
This may all seem like over-kill, after all, you’ve got new software before, but the experts will all tell you that it’s better for organizations to start slowly with BIM adoption to ensure the best chance of success. Once you’ve gotten the processes ironed out and a couple of successful BIM projects in hand via the outside BIM service company, it’s time to bring BIM in-house, starting with just a few handpicked projects, that will give team members a taste. It’s not time to dismiss the BIM service company just yet. Keep them on hand for training, consulting and general hand-holding through these first few projects. If done well, others will want to take part in the BIM project successes and BIM will expand in a positive fashion throughout your organization. It’s important that the adoption of BIM is scaled to your company. The BIM transformation isn’t a one-size-fits-all change.
Even once you’re up and fully operational in BIM, you will likely want to maintain a relationship with the BIM services company. BIM is an evolving technology that requires a level of commitment to stay current. Unfortunately, most companies don’t anticipate this. There may be new governance issues, hierarchies that need to change, new industry requirements that may come into play. A reliable BIM services company will stay on top of these changes and can guide you and your team through future changes.
In addition, many building owners and construction firms find that once they get on the BIM bandwagon, business improves, sometimes causing unavoidable delays in new project starts because of the BIM adoption learning curve. The BIM outsource firm has helped you get your sea-legs in BIM, they know your processes and how you work, so they are the experts that you can turn to when you need to temporarily expand your staff to accommodate new projects or new technology.
Finally, as your BIM adoption becomes more ingrained in your firm, it will evolve into Facilities Management (FM). The BIM model that you used for design and construction can also help the building owner maintain and manage the building and the people within the building. As you expand BIM usage into FM, the BIM services firm can provide FM expertise that you may decide eventually to bring in-house, or that you may continue to use on an outsource basis.
This slow and easy BIM adoption effort pays off in the long run, as does the ongoing relationship with the BIM services firm that you choose. For most organizations, the positive results of BIM and BIM services speak for themselves.