Why are you not getting the most from your BIM investments?
Building Information Modeling. (BIM) is getting rapidly established as an innovative method to design virtually and manage structures. An AGC survey revealed that nearly 1 in 3 organizations see technology as an appropriate response to address the growing labor shortage by driving up productivity and improving planning.
A growing number of construction organizations have made the initial investments and are adopting the practice of including BIM in their projects. For those that came in late, Building Information Modelling or BIM is a method of working in the construction industry that helps firms plan better, execute faster, and manage resources optimally. The key benefits of BIM include:
· Faster and more effective processes
· Better design
· Better production quality
· Automated assembly
While adoption is growing, it’s, perhaps, fair to say that the rise of BIM has been slower than it should be.
Even as the crescendo builds around the benefits of BIM, it is still proving difficult for some organizations to quantify the value of the benefits it brings. Many organizations have implemented pilot projects with BIM. Quite a few have seen benefits too. But they have stopped short of rolling out the initiative across the organizations.
- Shortage of skilled tech talent
It’s no secret that the construction industry suffers severe worker shortages. In many ways, the situation is even direr for specialized skills like technology. The number of qualified tech people is quite low to start with. To add to that, attracting these folks to the construction business is proving hard in the face of more glamorous options in the tech sector. The problem is even more severe for the small and mid-sized tech companies located in the smaller towns and locations away from the major tech hubs. What’s the scalability of an enterprise-wide BIM initiative if you don’t have the people to make it run seamlessly for a sustained duration?
This is a challenge that can be addressed by partnering with a company that has the BIM expertise and the people available to scale up a BIM initiative. But is that enough?
- Cultural changes in the construction industry
The lack of experience of BIM within an industry as traditional as construction creates hindrances in the proper utilization of the software. This is not a comment on their inability to use the software properly. It’s more a commentary on the rigidity of current processes and ways of working. The introduction of advanced technologies and ideas in the workplace can be a daunting change. The implementation of BIM can benefit the company in the long run. However, such solutions increase demands for transparency, accountability, collaboration, and communications. In adopting these changes, employees may face problems. They may find it difficult to change their way of working. They may be apprehensive about the impact on their jobs. They may also worry about their ability to learn new solutions and be confused about how to utilize the BIM models in the context of their specific roles. Organizations and project managers need to consider the possible mitigation strategies to address these challenges before implementing BIM to overcome the hurdles. While introducing BIM to the employees, issues such as experience, culture, support, training, and education need to be clearly addressed. Therefore, companies must educate their employees and provide effective training to ensure everyone is on board.
So, apart from pulling in the BIM experts, what a construction company needs is hand-holding as the BIM adoption challenges work themselves out. The people in these companies need the ear and hand of someone who has “been there, done that” with BIM to show them the way and to drive home the positive impact BIM could deliver to their own performance. But what next?
- Return on Investment calculations
Adopting BIM can show a positive impact at all stages of the construction lifecycle from design and construction to maintenance. However, the perception of ROI is always shifting. Some impact is quite easily provable. For instance, the savings that can accrue because of better material estimates that the BIM model provides can be enumerated quite easily when compared to previous gut-feel estimates. But organizations that are unused to the technology sometimes struggle to quantify the impact in broader terms. For instance, schedule adherence may result but how much of that is down to BIM and how much just better execution?
It’s true that many organizations that incorporated BIM in their projects reported a positive ROI. Organizations that invest more in training and in the full adoption of BIM also see a positive effect. It seems that BIM helps organizations to construct better structures and increase profitability. But how can that be measured for the CFO? An organization implementing BIM could find it difficult to define the financial models that show the impact BIM is having. Many of these assessments are driven by experience. At such times, turning to a partner who has that experience could help drive more reasoned assessments of the ROI.
It’s in situations like this that small and mid-sized construction firms across the USA partner with Excelize. We are BIM specialists with an unbeatable mix of modeling and demonstrating expertise and knowledge of building codes and standards. Our experienced consultants have knowledge of BIM and have seen a large number of BIM-driven projects, including some of the largest and most complex projects out there. Being located in the USA helps them provide better support to organizations too as they look to kick off their own BIM initiatives. That may be the easiest way for you to get the most out of your own BIM initiative.