Maximising profit when delivering in BIM

As discussed within my previous blog, (READ: What is BIM?), Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an intelligent model-based process in which buildings are designed and delivered. It ensures that the design process is robust, efficient and relevant, allowing those involved to maximise profit margins.

As the market moves away from the traditional methods of delivery through the implementation of BIM software, it is important that companies stay current and embrace the change. As with all things new, businesses should take the time to reflect and assess how BIM differs from the traditional methods of design/delivery. It is essential to undertake in-house reviews of procedures and protocols to ensure that software capabilities are maximised, and as a result all potential profits are too.

Companies that decide to implement BIM software without updating their internal BIM standards and procedures will inevitably make less profit, if not a loss.

BIM model: Level of information and efforts required 

The extent of information required within a BIM model will depend on the LOD (Level Of Detail) stipulated by the client within the contract of agreement.

Although there are copious differences with the new software, in order to maximise on profit, the single most important aspect a company should observe is how much information is required within the models and at what time. This will ensure a solid understanding of what efforts should be prescribed during the different stages of a project, allowing BIM resource efficiency.

Maximising profit when delivering in BIM

As seen in the graph above (developed from the MacLeamy Curve, also known as The Effort Curve), in order to  use BIM to its full capacity, the efforts must come earlier than that of projects delivered using traditional methods.

The proactive approach

If companies do not resource accordingly at the early stages of a project, the initial set up of models will be compromised, resulting in inadequacies in the later stages when it is most crucial to extract information. It is widely understood across the industry that Revit deliverables can be produced much faster than traditional methods, and with less mistakes. This is correct. However, if models have not been correctly set up from the outset, it will actually take far longer than it should, as not only will the work have to be redone in parts but time for troubleshooting will need to be resourced. It is also difficult to extract information if the foundations to enable you to do so are not available within the model.

This all comes down to proactivity over reactivity. There will always be a need for flexibility to respond to the unexpected within our industry, however, you can only react as quickly as the software allows and that will be based on the proactive approach taken from the outset.

Below is a brief outline of good practice for in house BIM protocols and procedures (list not exhaustive):

  • BIM standards manuals should be used across all projects within the company and constantly reviewed to ensure they remain relevant and current. These manuals can be used to assist with project specific BIM implementation strategies
  • BIM Project Execution Plan Templates
  • Structured Family Libraries with pre-defined parameters covering all possible scenarios of a project.
  • Strict element naming protocols across models

It is important not to be shortsighted in the early stages of a project and to always keep in mind what the final outcome is. The BIM process should be used not only to improve information flow, but to use that information insightfully.

Time for change

Project Managers should understand the implications change has when working within BIM. You can see from the MacLeamy Curve graph above that the cost of change is quite low at the beginning of a project, because at this stage the time it takes to make changes is minimal due to the structure of the models being a lot simpler with less information. As the project continues through the detail stages the cost for change must increase to reflect the amount of work required.

The impact that change will have on a programme will vary depending on what stage the project is at. This should be understood by all involved so that clients understand the time frame in which change can be delivered.

BIM Manager

A lot of companies employ a BIM Manager to ensure efficient and accurate project delivery, however, companies should know what to look for when hiring a BIM Manger. A successful BIM Manager will play a huge part in securing as much profit as possible by driving strategies forward across the company.

To ensure efficiency on projects, a BIM Manager should be expected to do the following:

  • Drive BIM strategies
  • Produce and manage office BIM standards and procedures
  • Provide BIM software training
  • Assist with problems

All of the above relies on the experience and expertise of the BIM Manager and their familiarity with the industry, sector and discipline, so enabling them to anticipate the end result. If a BIM Manager is not familiar with the required final output, they will lack necessary expertise and insight to ensure models are set up in the most efficient manner.

If BIM Implementation Strategies are not developed correctly then not only could a business lose money but also deliver sub-quality information.

Those who have a lot of experience in the later delivery stages of a project as well as a developed and current understanding of BIM, both as a process and where it sits in the market, will be able to ensure that the initial set up is the most appropriate for the entire project delivery process (concept through to hand over)

Cutting corners

At the initial stages of a project it is common to find people cutting corners in the way that they are modelling elements. This may seem appropriate early on, however, it can cause a whole host of issues at the later stages. This in turn has a direct result on the delivery stage, costing the company in time and resources and therefore profit margins.

maximising-profit-when-delivering-in-bim-2

It is up to a BIM Manager/Team to manage this and ensure that any corners that are cut do not impact on output that may be required from the software at a later stage.

Previously I have worked on projects where a decision was taken to completely disregard the schematic design model and re-model it from scratch, as it is often much harder to fix inherited mistakes than it is to simply implement the correct procedure from the outset.

Who benefits from BIM?

This was touched upon within my last blog, where I discuss the benefits of BIM for Designers, Contractors and Project Sponsors. This blog is largely based around the design process, however, designing in BIM can help not just designers’ profits but the profits of all those involved. It allows contractors to plan the delivery more efficiently, reducing factors such as programme time, wasted information and mistakes on site, all of which are common issues with traditional methods of project delivery, due to a lack in information flow. It also allows End Users/Project Sponsors, to understand the design intent much earlier in the process, reducing the need for as many (if any) variation costs at the later stages and allowing them greater control over the process.

To summarise

At BSBG we have embraced the transition into designing and delivering projects through BIM and see ourselves as real contenders in the market. Although maintaining profits is of course important to the business, equally is the quality of service we provide to our valued clients. The two go hand in hand.

BSBG has a strong team of Senior UK MCIAT Chartered Architectural Technologists specialising in BIM and the detailed delivery stages of all project types. With a combined wealth of experience, the team works closely together to develop and maintain BIM standards, ensuring technical excellence throughout all project stages.

Sources:

BIM for Facility Managers – Hani Afendi – Facilities Show, 19 June 2014 from Protectionandmanagement