MEP to the Front, Pt. 4 – Creating a BIM Process
Flashy is fun. Flashy is exciting. Unfortunately, generating a new process is not usually flashy, and it is rarely much fun. Yet, to move forward and achieve business success, sometimes you’ve got to generate new processes. If you’re in the MEP industry and haven’t embraced building information modeling yet, sooner or later that is likely to be one of your new processes. BIM adoption continues to increase, with almost 75% of companies surveyed using a BIM process by the end of 20181. Over half of them reported BIM shortened project delivery times, and 60% found it saved money.
If you’re not one of the adopters yet, how can you promote it within your company? In a recent AEC Disruptors Podcast, Corey Overton of Chick-Fil-A offered these suggestions:
- Develop a vision.
- Communicate that vision.
- Illustrate how business could look using a new BIM process.
- Explain how technology is the “fuel” to get you there.
- Be careful not to oversell. BIM is not magical – it takes work behind the scenes.
Before undertaking change, you’ve got to have a solid foundation to build upon. Design technology is best observed from a holistic point of view, considering all the pieces and parts of a design process. This could include everything from Revit to project management to facilities and asset management tools. To execute the BIM process well, a company needs a diverse team willing to embrace new ways of doing things. MEP contractors naturally need to be part of that diverse team.
Today’s design environment is all about information – the data. The better you can connect all the data, the bigger the difference to your design process and the better your end product. With BIM, it’s less about each stakeholder doing their isolated piece of the project effectively and more about integration – all the stakeholders working together to create and maintain a building. This focus on data has really taken off in the past six years, with the ability for true cloud-based collaboration developing quickly. There’s a tremendous amount of data to work with, and it’s growing exponentially – estimated at a compounded annual growth of 61%.2 Quoting from a recent article, Overton asserts, “The world’s most valuable resource today is not oil, but data.” He cautions against outsourcing data mining. Because project data is proprietary and important to your business success, it should remain internal to your company.
Keep in mind, Revit is not BIM, and BIM isn’t a separate “thing” in the quest to build a project. The BIM process integrates all the facets of producing the project. This is where Overton has suggested a “design thinking” mentality comes in handy. An ideal five-step process is:
- Define and understand the problem.
- Imagine possible solutions.
- Prototype the solutions.
- Evaluate/validate the solutions.
It’s tempting to skip a step, but the process will suffer if you do. Some designers describe what could be referred to as a BIM hangover. They sit back in their chair after eight hours of work and say, “What did I do today?” They get impatient to see a design develop the way it did when they used AutoCAD. This is a wall that Revit designers need to get past, but when they’re over the hump, it’s easier to see how the BIM process – though it takes discipline – is superior in the long run.
Are you ready to create your BIM process? Do you need to hone your skills with your existing BIM process? Contact Applied Software today and talk to a BIM, Revit or MEP expert. They can get you past the Revit wall and on to a successful implementation.
1 National BIM Report 2018, December 2018; NBS.com.
2 IDC: Expect 175 zettabytes of data worldwide by 2025, December 3, 2018; IDG NetworkWorld.com.