5 Qs to ask your potential BIM partner
The importance of Building Information Modeling or BIM can no longer be overlooked due to the benefits that it brings to the table. In the USA in particular, it has been implemented in various key construction projects with Wisconsin being the first state to mandate the use of BIM on public projects. This was back in 2009 and within 10 years, many more firms are using the technology to achieve exceptional breakthroughs in the architecture, construction and engineering niche.
That being said, there’s a talent challenge here, especially for the small and mid-sized construction companies. It’s hard for them to hire, retain, and motive BIM resources. This is a strange situation for them. They know that their projects will do better with BIM. But they can’t leverage that power because they don’t have the inhouse skills.
Partners are an option. But truth be told. It’s an uphill task to find and engage a potential BIM partner, who can do a great job irrespective of the scope of the project. To make that choice easier, here are some questions such firms can ask their prospective BIM partner:
Do you have a presence in the USA?
While different countries have implemented BIM, the way how it works from region to region can vary to a great extent. One of the core obstacles in executing BIM in the USA-based projects with a partner is the latter’s know-how of the construction practices in the country. For instance, they should know about the latest trends and developments in terms of the materials, design methods, rules, and regulations, etc.
Likewise, it is also important that the BIM partner is located in the same country as this helps co-ordinate better for certain projects. There needs to be effective communication between all the stakeholders be it the clients, the in-house departments, and anyone who is directly or indirectly involved in the projects. This allows more room for transparency and instant responses. And when you along with the BIM partner work in the same time zone, there will be no room for agile decision-making. With a remotely located partner, the communication may not be as smooth. Therefore, hiring a BIM partner with a responsible presence close by will save you a lot of stress down the line.
Do you have end-to-end experience?
More often than not, it is important to find out whether the potential BIM partner has relevant experience in the specific areas that you require help in. BIM can play a role in the design, construction monitoring, renovation and refurbishment, and ongoing facilities management. And how BIM plays a role in each area could be different in subtle as well as profound ways. To get a better perspective, you can ask your prospective BIM partner for their detailed portfolio and understand the core areas in which they have hands-on experience. This will help you assess their skills such as – are they only restricted in carrying out the planning phase best or can also take up the maintenance, design and post-construction challenges? These questions are essential as a BIM partner with end-to-end experience will help get results across the entire project lifecycle.
What makes you stand apart?
No one wants to work with run-of-the-mill or superficial BIM partners, who will have nothing much to bring to the table. One of the ways to assess this is to check the firm’s relevant experience and skills in the niche, find out about all the projects they have handled so far, take into consideration the complexity of the projects and the standard practices they follow. Partners with experience of large projects will bring a level of expertise and experience that will help you grow your own skills as well. If this is in-sync with your requirements, go ahead with them.
Can you scale up/down?
Rarely do construction projects have a smooth growth phase. They may need scaling up or down from construction phase to construction phase and on a case-to-case basis too. For example, some projects require a more elaborate initial planning stage while others need more collaboration efforts. Either way, your firm may need more resources or expertise for a while and then may have to scale back. This is where you need a BIM partner who can take care of the scaling and handle any change in the initial plan in an agile fashion. It should be possible for them to ramp up and scale back without compromising on the quality of the resources. With this capability, they will be able to deliver the results within the stipulated timeframes responsively.
Do you implement strict quality control measures?
No one can neglect the quality aspect of the construction and development projects. Issues left unattended today can have massive implications later. And the plans and models that are made with BIM can have an impact on this area too. Some BIM service-providers without the richness of experience don’t necessarily implement the required quality control in their projects. Scratch below the surface to understand their quality focus. Ask them for details of their reviews, approvals, and rework processes. Talk to some of their senior folks to understand their viewpoints.
Off to work
These are some of the essential questions that will pave the way to helping you select the best BIM partner. Since it is an important decision that will affect your future projects, make sure that you do your research even before proceeding to contact them. The key is to select a partner who can embrace the ever-changing industry with a futuristic mindset. The aim is to implement tomorrow’s technology today and to keep moving forward!