For many working within the MEP sector, the benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) are keenly felt. It’s easy to see how BIM is changing the construction industry, having already transformed the way in which many projects are delivered out on site. From enhanced coordination between project teams and greater levels of accuracy and productivity – felt throughout a construction project, not just the design phase – the advantages of BIM are numerous.
Despite this, there are still many M&E companies that are yet to digitise their workflows with the adoption of BIM. If this sounds familiar, read on as we explore how you can ‘make the case for BIM’, convincing your management to join the digital transformation.
Don’t fall behind
BIM implementation and adoption is far more involved and thorough than just a simple upgrade to the latest software. Instead, it should be viewed as a process improvement tool, one that spreads throughout all arms and levels of a business. BIM can truly transform the way a company operates, from its workflows and information exchange to its relationship with clients and the services it can offer.
If your company is slow or reluctant to adopt these new digital workflows, there is the very real risk that you may fall behind as the rest of the industry modernises around you. The MEP sector is also a famously competitive market, making it critical that your company can improve and maintain the competitiveness of services offered to clients.
As more clients and asset owners expect their supply chains to operate in line with the new BIM processes, failing to upskill and adopt BIM may have major repercussions on your ability to win new work and contend against competitors.
“We’ve always done it this way”
As with all technology, however, there will always be challenges and obstacles standing in the way of its adoption. The construction industry in particular is famed for being reluctant to change, with the phrase “but this is always the way we’ve done it” being an especially dangerous mindset when it comes to the adoption of new technology.
As such, perhaps a primary challenge is to first work to try to change people’s deep-rooted perspectives and attitudes. A great way of doing this is to showcase the real value and benefits of BIM on both the MEP-specific and wider-construction workflows. Consider speaking to your industry colleagues who are perhaps more digitally advanced, or looking at case studies and customer ‘success stories’.
Tackling the fear
Another misconception is that BIM model construction is something reserved for the larger and more established companies only, with the fear that a smaller company may simply be overwhelmed by the transition. This is not the case – the adoption of BIM strategies and similar technology will always be manageable, regardless of your company size.
As with anything, it is a constant learning and evaluation process, seeing what works for you, your company and your clients and adapting it to suit. BIM is for everyone, not just for the big consultancy firms; all companies and all construction projects stand to benefit from digital workflows.
Similar to this is the fear of friction when attempting to integrate new technologies into your workflow, whether arising from individuals or existing processes. An important thing to remember is that BIM implementation is not done overnight; it is a gradual process, led by you. By working closely with a software provider, you can arrange a BIM execution plan and strategy designed to roll it out gradually across the company, introducing the new digital workflows department by department and team by team.
Don’t forget that training, guidance and support will always be made available by your chosen software provider too.
“We’re too busy for BIM”
This is a statement that can be heard a lot whenever adopting and learning a new process is proposed: “we don’t have time”. In this case, it is important to remember that BIM and other similar technologies stand to deliver significant benefits for your company in the long-term; benefits that shouldn’t be discounted or dismissed because of short term concerns.
As we have already discussed, the adoption of BIM is not an overnight process. The transition can be gradual and guided, carried out in stages to avoid disruption and downtime. It is also difficult not to see the irony of the previous statement, with the very thing they are reluctant to adopt because it will take too long having the power to deliver immense time savings.
In fact, the digital, coordinated and streamlined workflow that BIM offers will free up your teams’ time to tackle more work, making the delivery of jobs and projects quicker, easier and more efficient.
If you or your management still needs some convincing, keeping up with technology changes can be a great way of encouraging new talent into the company, especially those from the younger, more ‘digitally savvy’ generation.
So, what’s next?
Once you’ve gained executive support and come up with a rough strategy or BIM implementation plan, you need to choose the design and construction software that you wish to use. Make sure to do your research of all the features available on the market so you can choose the right software for your company and your clients.
When choosing a digital modelling software for example, it’s important to ensure it’s suitable for both your current and future workflows, ready to grow as your company grows with it, and can be customised depending on your workload.
Looking for more advice on what to look out for when it comes to choosing a MEP Design & Detailing software? Read our e-book here, for the seven key capabilities you should be looking out for.