Quick Links - Also see the menu above and more choices on the right side of the blog (too much, but all good stuff)

\/ ...and now BIMbuilder.com Blog Posts... \/

Sunday, February 7, 2010

BIM for Contractors - A reason to drink

I was reminded tonight during a Superbowl beer commercial of a saying of mine by my wife.  She was flying to Jacksonville 2 weeks ago for a Hurricane Windstorm Insurance conference and was sitting next to the brother of another attorney who was attending.  He works for a large liquor wholesale company.

My wife said to him that I always say that liquor companies are recession proof.  When things are good, everybody drinks.  When things are bad, everybody drinks even more.  He said absolutely.  He's never been busier.  He did say the only distinction is that when things are good, people drink at bars and when things are bad, people drink at home.

I looked at her and was happy that I was right about my saying.  I then said, "there's a blog post in that."  I'm now sitting here writing this and have to relate BIM to liquor sales.

When I meet with general contractors who are looking to get started in BIM, one of the biggest pain points I give them is that because of the recession, the quality of construction documents has gotten even worse.

As architecture firms began losing business and their pipeline, the layoffs started with the more expensive salaried staff going first.  Typically, they were the project managers who did more management, coordination and redline instead of the lesser paid CAD operators.  They were also the more construction knowledgeable people in the firm.  Of course the same thing has happened at engineering firms as well. 

Add to that, longer hours, pay cuts, more pressure and more competition for projects from firms that bid on project types they didn't typically do and reduced fees add to the pile.  So, if all of this is true, then discrpencies, clashes, errors and omissions on the plans, leads to even more paperwork, RFIs, jobsite visits and even more money losing projects.  No, this isn't the reason to drink more, unless you're a contractor of course. 

This is one of the reasons that contractors are buying Revit and Navisworks, converting AutoCAD drawings into Revit 3D models and doing clash detection with their subcontractors.  When things are bad, contractors use BIM.  Of course, for the contractors with a lot of business, converting CAD to BIM makes them much more efficient and able to compete for more work and profits, so when things are good, contractors use BIM.  There's my liquor company analogy.

As I'm the only general contractor running an Autodesk dealership, the above story makes me very happy.  My company, CADD Centers of Florida has been swamped with work from contractors and subcontractors.  I found while doing research for my Autodesk University class, BIM Bids Only, that just about every other reseller doesn't have the experience to implement BIM for contractors and there's not a lot of information available out there because contractors are keeping their BIM process a secret from their competition. There isn't very much technical support from Autodesk techs because they've spent the last 27 years focusing on architects and engineers, not contractors.

We've just updated our BIM Implementation Guide (BIG), the document to get any contractor or subcontractor set up for BIM and it's amazing how complex it is to for a GC to start using Revit and BIM and engage their subcontractors. 

Here's an example.  A GC takes the permit set of drawings, converts the entire project into a model, finds some discrepancies and submits RFIs to the architect.  Should he include the model, 3D views of the model or just a description of the problem?  How will the architect react to the 3D model if given to him if he did the job in AutoCAD.  Is the BIM file a part of the legal documents?  What if the architect refuses to look at the model?  What are the steps involved in this new process? 

This is just a sample of what we've included in our BIM Implementation Guide and what questions need to be asked and answered before you start.  It's a massive undertaking, but I love every minute of it.  It's what makes my Autodesk dealership different from every other reseller.  Well, that's the whole blog post.  BIM is the champagne of the AEC world and I'll drink to that. 

Now, for you architects out there who haven't switched to Revit yet, DON"T!  Keep doing what you're doing.  Don't change a thing.  Keep using AutoCAD 2004, don't go on subscription, Keep telling your reseller that you only do 2D and don't need Revit.  Don't tell your engineers to get Revit either.  Since you think it doesn't matter what software you use, this will just help the contractors get more business and become design builders.  It really doesn't matter how great of an artist you are or what fonts you use on your blueprints.  That doesn't get buildings built and at the end of the day, it's what the owner is looking for.  The art of architecture is no match for the business of BIM and the costs of clashes. 


  © Blogger template ProBlogger Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP  

[Valid Atom 1.0]