What do you do when you need BIM models and all you have are paper manufacturing drawings, especially if you don’t have sophisticated in-house resources capable of performing the manufacturing drawing to BIM conversion, so the task becomes finding an outsource service capable of doing it for you.  If you have many paper manufacturing drawings needing to be converted into 3D CAD models, it will take a company that can handle the job with the precision that the building industry you supply requires.

The process of converting paper manufacturing drawings starts with accurate scanning.   The 2D CAD drawings that will be produced from the scanning process needed to contain real lines, arcs, circles and text as text.   They must have the appropriate level of layers — usually, at a minimum; each drawing is produced with 3-7 layers (levels) and colors.  And, the 2D CAD drawings must be created in a file format that can accurately, easily and quickly be converted into 3D CAD models.

Therefore, you should look for a BIM conversion firm that is able to ramp up quickly and begin converting your drawings immediately.

Finding a BIM Outsource Partner

With an eye to both economics and growth, many manufacturers have found that it’s beneficial to take advantage of some opportunities to outsource work. BIM conversion is one project that nearly pays for itself by outsourcing.

When outsourcing BIM model building it’s important to find out where you can get the talent that you need.  Saving money is only one goal.  Having access to a pool of BIM conversion talent is something only outsourcing can provide.   It’s incredibly inefficient to do BIM conversion for manufacturing in-house.

However, it’s imperative that the outsource team and you agree upon solutions for checking errors and maintenance of a communications system that ensures coordination between design, architectural, structural, MEP and other construction processes. Minor errors of an even ½ inch in the dimension can prove to be costly.

However, finding a BIM outsource company with enough knowledge, expertise and communication skills to provide accurate BIM Services can be a quite a challenge.  Because communication is such a critical component of BIM modeling, we tend to shy away from offshore outsourcing.  Sometimes even the most explicit directions can be lost in the subtleties of translation from one language to another, and those subtleties can cost thousands of dollars if they result in a construction error.

So, assuming you find a firm with whom you can communicate, how do you ensure that they have the BIM technical expertise?  With Autodesk and other companies providing expert training, it’s fair to ask what kind of certifications the team you’ll be using has.  You should also ask for a client list and for a reference to job types for

which the firm has successfully compiled BIM models.

Determine what the workflow is.  Will you be providing CAD drawings with all details of the parts and components you manufacture?  Often this is a good way to begin a relationship with a BIM outsources firm.  Submit a small number of drawings initially and then review the models the outsource service provides.

With the BIM model, look for all of the important geometrical aspects such as angles, dimensions, and so forth.   Manufacture a test run of a part or two to ensure that the BIM model is accurate.  Once you’re satisfied that you have a BIM outsource company that you can work with, then it’s time to start rolling on your BIM for manufacturing conversion.

You’ll be glad you’ve made the change to BIM, because construction companies, building owners, and contractors want to work with suppliers that make their own BIM requirements as seamless as possible.  By providing BIM ready data for the products you manufacture, your chances of having your products specified for projects increases substantially.  Moreover, BIM is rapidly becoming a requirement, not just something that can make your preferred provider, so it’s important to ensure that you create and supply the correct content to maintain the potential to supply BIM-based projects.


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