In business, a decision based on incorrect information can have far-reaching consequences. This isn’t breaking news, of course, but consider: A recent Autodesk study on the repercussions of data errors in the construction industry shows that in a single year, "bad data may have caused $1.8 trillion in losses worldwide and may be responsible for 14% of avoidable rework, which amounts to $88 billion in costs."
With the market under more pressure than ever to deliver projects on time and on budget, the degree of financial loss is a stark reminder of the importance of up-to-date and accurate content. Good data is the essential information used by building information modeling (BIM) engineers to ensure that the virtual objects in a model behave just as they would in the real world. Bad content is like a malignancy: It spreads throughout an organization and infects all business processes that rely on accurate information. How can we plan, model, estimate, or fabricate if we aren’t certain that our foundation is solid?
The ability to utilize up-to-date content throughout the construction process is no longer a luxury; it has become a requisite and primary source of competitive advantage. When engineers and contractors utilize data content that is managed externally, they can focus on what they're good at — construction design and implementation.
Trimble’s RFA package for Revit includes content from more than 630 manufacturers and millions of brand and part-specific MEP objects, all updated throughout the year to ensure only current and purchasable objects.
Bad content, bad outcomes
Operating with bad content [read: garbage in] poses a significant risk that garbage will be the outcome. How a business leverages BIM content is directly correlated to the quality of its estimates, decision making, digital workflows, and project management capabilities.
Bad content is:
Inaccurate: Content was collected, but errors occurred along the way
Outdated: Content is now obsolete
Incomplete: Important content is absent
Irrelevant: Content cannot be used for its intended purpose
Redundant: Duplications are introduced and muddle the model
Can organizations afford to ignore these problems? The industry is competitive; shortfalls in BIM processes and outcomes make the difference between profit and loss.
A recent study by Dodge Data & Analytics found that for contractors, critical benefits — including improved client satisfaction and design quality, risk reduction through increased stakeholder buy-in, reduced errors and rework, and additional meaningful sustainability and operational efficiency benefits — are experienced to a much greater extent by those who implement precise BIM.
Businesses with precise and accurate BIM capabilities also experience improved win rates and an increased percentage of successful projects, a reduced number of issues onsite and defects at handover, as well as many other cost control, schedule, and safety benefits.
Furthermore, BIM issues caused by bad content can also damage a company’s reputation. For example, say a BIM detailer puts the wrong size fitting into their model because they don’t have access to the correct one. The error is only realized on-site and results in delays that domino outward. This is a bad look and the effect of a poor reputation is long-lasting — it takes 40 positive customer experiences to undo the damage done by a single negative assessment.
The Revit family (.rfa) representation of Zurn Siphon Jet Carrier Assembly
Design more, manage less
In an industry that is increasingly leveraging technology, content is everywhere, all the time. However, figuring out how best to organize, update, and most importantly maximize the numbers and insights called “content” generally only happens when something goes awry.
When problems arise, employees must manually research accurate items, dimensions, and prices, correct content, and remove any replications — using significant time and resources that could otherwise be spent on revenue-generating activities. The result is often a considerable deficit to a company’s bottom line. A managed option, then, seems like a no-brainer.
What would it take to compile the same depth and breadth of this resource? And how would you organize it to provide a clear, logical view of the data that improves accuracy, validity, and efficiency? What happens when the employee who created it leaves the company? Does anyone else understand the data the management processes needed to keep it relevant?
NIBCO elbows with associated sizes, pricing, status and labor values in the Trimble MEP content add-in.
Data is constantly changing
Another outcome of rapid technology adoption in the construction industry is the sheer volume of content generated throughout the project lifecycle and the velocity with which it changes. The right tools are critical for designers and detailers to be successful in their work, but sadly, the norm is that a substantial amount of content is unusable because changes occur constantly, and without someone managing the implications within a company’s database, it very quickly goes “bad."
Modelers are not hired to be content administrators, but they do need a safe source of project data that ensures the latest information is always available. After all, individual pieces of BIM content are necessary building blocks. Sadly, the truth is that even though the BIM industry is adopting technology at an unprecedented pace, most businesses still collect and manage their data using manual processes, and those are only addressed after repercussions from the use of bad content. According to CNBC, 88% of spreadsheets have errors, and those compound, given how quickly content can change. It can be disastrous.
Consistency is key
Despite the increase in data volume throughout the construction industry, significant challenges remain in the ability to easily access and manage content, from the office or in the field. Overcoming these challenges requires a crucial first step: Utilizing a single, common data environment (CDE). When access to project content is centrally located and when the content itself is consistent, efficiencies flourish, as does your bottom line.
This is why it is essential to use both managed content and integrated distribution tools in your modeling workflows; a vast, managed content library has no value if it can’t be shared effectively. The outcomes of this strategy are clear: Standardization across organizations, enhanced collaboration and efficiency, lower risk, improved decision making, and reduced re-work are all enjoyed when companies can leverage a single, dependable source of truth.
Trimble can help
Choosing technology that delivers managed, up-to-date content that is easy to understand and share will ensure that content isn’t only accessible, it’s actionable. This will deliver value — to both building processes and businesses themselves— for years to come.
We at Trimble stand ready to help you. Trimble Content includes data from more than 630 manufacturers and millions of brand and part-specific MEP objects, all updated throughout the year to ensure only current and purchasable objects.You can learn more here or contact MEPsales@trimble.com to schedule a demo.