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How Product Manufacturers Benefit from BIM

How Product Manufacturers Benefit from BIM

For a long time, it has been standard for, building product manufacturers to provide CAD-based libraries for their product lines, in order to make it easier for designers to use their products in their CAD designs.  Enter BIM…

As BIM has become the standard for building design, designers have begun to add more detail (both graphics and non-graphic )to their building information models and that information tends to be included earlier in the design process, aiding in design visualization, energy analysis and costing data.   As a result, building product manufacturers are now as inclined to include BIM-based libraries for their product lines as they once were to include CAD libraries.

Building product manufacturers view this as a beneficial strategy for increasing the specification of their products by making it easier to incorporate their products in the BIM.  With some studies reporting as much as 70% of the new design being done in BIM, this means that manufacturers are now supporting designers (architects, contractors, and interior designers) by allowing them to incorporate their products in their building information models easily and early.

While BIM software typically has included libraries of generic components, such as doors, walls, kitchen cabinetry and stairs, it has not provided specific manufacturers components.  The advantage of using manufacturer-specific libraries is that there is the ability to add information specific to the product the designer has chosen, such as product number, performance etc.

The advantages of using more detailed BIM models include:

  • Better conveyance of ideas
  • More accurate energy analysis
  • The inclusion of specific product performance evaluations within specific design contexts
  • Earlier cost estimation information and specification applications
  • Detailed and specific 3D visualizations throughout the design process
  • Collaboration between the AEC industry and manufacturers to increase efficiency in the design, procurement, construction, maintenance, and operation.

When manufacturers make it easier for the build/design firms to specify their products in a design, by providing BIM models, they become involved in the early stages of the design, making it more likely that their products will be used.  In this way, manufacturer-provided BIM models can aid not only in securing customers but can also aid the manufacturers in designing better products.  Manufacturers need to embrace this opportunity and offer components in digital format to let early adopters of BIM maximize the potential of their products.

How Can Manufacturers Create a BIM Product Library?

One easy way for product manufacturers to offer BIM models of their products is by outsourcing the development of a complete BIM library, and offering a link to the BIM library on their website and through their distribution channels.   This kind of content, developed for and distributed by the manufacturer is the most reliable way of providing manufacturer-specific product data.

Because there are many different BIM software programs that are used by architects and designers, manufacturers should offer their BIM models in several different formats, and also may want to offer a link to a service that can translate from one BIM software to another.  The easier those manufacturers make it for designers to specify their products, the more likely they are to be used.

How Manufacturers Benefit by Offering a BIM Library

Using a BIM outsource service that can host and maintain your BIM library for you, keep it up to date, and provide the BIM models in any software required,  will go a long way toward making your products the “go-to” products for design/build firms.    Providing BIM models will help to (1) differentiate you from your competitors; (2) reduce custom design inquiries, while increasing sales; (3) market your products through BIM online catalogs; (4) increase after sales through readily available BIM information.

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