- MEP to the Front, Pt. 2: MEP in Project Planning – Does it Matter?
- MEP to the Front, Pt. 3: Doing Things Right vs. Fast
Make sure you’re going in the right direction before you put effort behind getting there quickly. This was the advice from Corey Overton of Chick-Fil-A in the recent AEC Disruptors Podcast about the direction the architecture industry is moving. As the overarching processes of the AEC industry continue to be repositioned toward building information modeling for designing and creating buildings, Overton suggested worrying less about doing things fast and more about doing them right. Once a quality process is established, firms can then concentrate on becoming more efficient. Technology is not a solution in and of itself, rather, it enhances solutions. “If your fundamental process isn’t right . . . if you’re not answering the right questions, then the technology doesn’t matter,” Overton stressed.
BIM does not entail merely adding a software tool to a company’s existing stable of technology products. It is an entirely new process from the very beginning. How does the BIM process change the entire design-build process?
From an owner’s perspective, construction contracts have always been based on production and output. It’s traditionally been about scale, value and repeatability. The process of building what you want using a specific set of tools is what makes the process scalable. But the true business value is in honing a process to the point where you can repeat it efficiently. Technology, particularly Autodesk Revit, enables the BIM process to be repeatable.
According to CareerExplorer online, architects are “obligated to protect the health, welfare and safety of a building’s occupants, and that is accomplished through construction knowledge.” It’s been that way since 1857. These days, the AEC industry is experiencing a transition in the role of architect to add involvement in building information modeling – expanding the upstream design-build process to include “Revit users.” Companies need to reevaluate the traditional idea of what an architect is.
In the BIM process, the developer needs to be part of the collaborative team. This not only grants an advantage to the collaborative process, it pretty much guarantees a disadvantage if s/he is not involved. A company’s inhouse development department (or a strong partnership with the developer) is essential.
Since Revit came on the scene, the job of “drafter” has gone out of style, replaced by “designer.” A designer has more responsibility and far more data to work with and make use of in a design. The data embedded in the design during the BIM process produces genuine value, which remains long after the project is built. Designers focus their effort and time resources on pieces of the design – much of which resides in the background as embedded data – and, as opposed to the continuous feedback a traditional drafter historically had, designers don’t necessarily see something taking shape each day as they work. Oftentimes, a collaborative team does not see the benefits or value of the BIM process until the project is nearly finished.
As the AEC industry evolves toward more and more BIM-centric processes, companies that want to remain competitive will need to rethink design-build and the way different teams work within that process.
If your firm is ready to establish a BIM process for your next project, but you want to make sure you’ve got a good fundamental process, contact Applied Software today to talk to a BIM expert. Applied will help you make sure you’re going in the right direction before your team begins putting effort into adopting BIM.