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Thursday, March 14, 2013

BIM PairoDimes $hift

I hear my boss say all of the time that we don't charge our clients extra for BIM. Why should we charge more just to use a different program to create construction documents.

I always ask people what they think the differences are between CAD and BIM and what BIM really is in relation to CAD. Is it the 2D vs 3D? Is it the B, the I or the M? We've always had information available. On a printed out plan, you could measure a 10' x 10' room with a ruler, do the math and figure out that you have 100 SF. Wow. Big deal. You could read through the specifications and find out information about a piece of equipment. Door, window, wall and other schedules were manually created, but are automated in Revit.

So, although the information is there, and has always been there, even on cave drawings, it's about the ease of getting the information. That means, although we don't charge for BIM, modeling and 3D sections, we should be charging for the information extracted. You want COBie? Well, then pay for our time to generate the information and put all of the extra information into the model. Want us to design a mechanical room to make it easier for the facilities people to change the air filters. Well, then pay us for our time to be a consultant to the owner and FM people.

We need programmers, data extractors, people that can deal with interoperability, IDM and MDV (which if you don't know what they are, it's just more work and time needed to jump through more hoops).

So, while the owners may not need to pay the drafters and modelers more money, this BIM thing is becoming more about a database of information. There's huge value in that and I don't think it's right that there's not a cost to others for the right to use that information. Yeah, we can give anyone downstream the Revit, Navisworks or IFC model, but all of the big data contained within it should come at a price. Anyone can sketch out a building and stick walls wherever they want, but to turn that into a database for some CMMS program 2 years later should be an extra service.

Just my opinion.


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Brian Benton March 14, 2013 at 8:42 AM  

I happen to agree. We don't make drawings anymore. We create a data set that happens to be displayed as a traditional drawing. And that's only because others haven't adapted yet. Plus the "paper drawing" is a medium that is universally read and understood. I use Civil3D all day every day and I tell my Techs to stop thinking they make drawings. They create and manage data. Once they make that mental shift they find the software easier to use. Often times construction companies feel they don;t have to pay us to have our surveyors stake out the data we generate. They want us to hand over the "CAD Drawings" so they can use their own GPS and survey equipment. I recommend, in these cases, that a company charge for the data. What do you charge? Charge what it would cost to stake out the design. The data is our content and we generated it. Pay for it.

Jared Banks March 14, 2013 at 11:20 AM  

Well said. If the final output is the same as old methods then it makes sense that it costs the same (and we pocket the profits from spending less time). Which honestly is the case sometimes. Not all clients and projects are asking for extras beyond what the old ways gave us.

If the final output is bigger, ei COBie, more coordination meetings, FM data, integration with construction, etc, then it seems pretty obvious that we either give that away for free (dumb business move?) or make more money off more services.

Steve March 14, 2013 at 1:52 PM  

Visit the doctor, need an MRI? That's extra. Could he/she diagnose without it? Maybe. They had to before MRI existed. As technology improves our lot there is no reason to devalue the services we can provide because we are investing new tools.

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