5 Common Concerns

As firms consider their move to Building Information Modeling (BIM), these five typical concerns commonly arise. Let’s list and briefly address each concern.

1. Productivity suffers during the transition to BIM.

Yes, productivity can be expected to decrease by an average of 30% during the learning period and first project or two. However, these initial productivity declines are generally made up with productivity gains. I have helped well over 125 firms of various sizes make the BIM transition. In most cases, I’ve seen clients get back to parity by about four months into the transition. From there nearly half of my clients say they have experienced a 40% to 50% gain in productivity within a year. An additional 15% say they have experienced an 80% to 100% gain. These figures are in line with surveys Autodesk conducts on their overall client base

2. BIM tools are difficult to learn.

There are always matters of understanding the hows and whys of the way any tool works. When this is mixed with the anxiety that any change brings, learning these new tools can appear much more daunting than it usually is. BIM tools such as Revit are purpose built to help designers think about their buildings.

Rule #1 for any firm needs to be to get training and schedule it as close to the beginning of the chosen first project as possible. This will greatly increase retention for the design team.

Rule #2 is to check your AutoCAD knowledge at the door, and come to training with an open mind. Things will be much clearer and easier for you.

Rule #3 is to schedule several hours of follow up time with a knowledgeable mentor during the course of the first couple projects. This “in context” mentoring will make all the difference in your return on investment.

3. BIM disrupts established workflow.

The two dimensions to the concept of workflow are the progress of an activity as it moves through a company, as well as the rate at which this progress takes place.  Does BIM affect workflows?

Absolutely, BIM affects workflows—the progress as well as the rate.  But the reality is that the workflows it disrupts are inefficient ones, workflows that a firm is probably seeking to change if it is looking at BIM in the first place.  In a Revit implementation web survey conducted by Autodesk, 82% of the respondents noted their design process was changing as a result of using the Revit platform, and once they were past the training period, more than half the respondents experienced productivity gains of more than 50% due to those enhanced processes.

4. The benefits of BIM are not shared equally among the designers, contractors and owners.

By reducing the duplicated efforts of conventional drafting and coordination methods, BIM allows the design and engineering team to focus more on high-value design, understand more about the design earlier through analysis and visualization, and deliver as much value to the owner as possible.  The client gets better use of resources on the project and a more predictable outcome.  The contractor gets higher quality, more complete construction documents, making for a smoother, more predicable project delivery.

BIM is all about a highly intelligent process for design, construction and life cycle management. It sometimes takes a different business mind set as well as design process mind set to fully realize the across the board benefits.

5. BIM increases risk and exposure.

BIM provides a way to reduce the risk of errors occurring in the design process.  By extending coordination across the entire design team, even across disciplines in some workflows, a purpose-built BIM solution like the Revit platform can increase the likelihood that human errors will be caught and corrected during the design process.  With automatic document coordination and with clearer project communication based on consistent, computable information about a building project, BIM improves design decision making, predicting performance, cost-estimating and construction planning.

But does sharing a building information model increase the chances of mistakes and misunderstandings?  Does it increase a designer‘s risk of errors?

For design teams who are willing to collaborate that closely, sharing building information models can make BIM even more effective—but that choice is left entirely to the project team members. There are efficient process methods for which we can help firms plan which address a variety of comfort levels around risk management.

Next Part – Implementation and Transition Planning

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