There is no doubt that BIM is rapidly becoming part of the design process. Manufacturers need to be aware of it and make developing BIM objects for their product range a priority.
At the launch of the Construction Strategy on 2nd July this year Peter Hansford made it clear that BIM is, and will remain, a central element of the government’s procurement policy. This has been supported by leading representatives of the design and contracting fraternity, and our recently completed report Adoption of BIM 2013 suggests that the value of UK construction projects using BIM will increase by a factor of 14 between now and 2016 as it is widely adopted.
Proportion of project designed with BIM
One cultural change will be the early involvement of the contractor in the design process, with BIM acting as the enabler. This has already been reflected in the 2013 edition of the RIBA Plan of Works written to respond to the introduction of BIM. This allows for input from specialist sub-contractors at Stage 3; Developed Design. While there is some concern that this could lead to a downgrading of product performance to save money, it is to be hoped that the debate about value and performance will involve the whole team at an earlier stage, rather than being a case of spec switching for short term gain once the contractor is on site.
Manufacturers who make BIM objects available will be helping architects with the design process, confirming product benefits and the value they represent. By providing off-the-shelf designs they will help ensure compatibility with other systems, saving the architect time.
By making it easy to specify they will improve the chances of their products being included, as more than half of architects who use BIM say they would give preference to products supported with BIM objects. This will provide early confirmation of design intent and achieve product visibility, making it more likely to be referenced during procurement and less likely to be value engineered out at a later stage.
Why Architects Design with BIM
BIM will become an important sales tool and manufacturers need to ensure they are using it to maximum advantage in the same way that they use other items in their toolkit like literature, samples or CPD seminars. There are also emotional benefits associated with offering BIM, creating a perception of a quality company which is up to speed with current standards and practices. Even if your 2014 budget cannot run to developing BIM objects, you should be monitoring your competitors’ offering closely and preparing a strategy to implement BIM in the future. And if you are concerned about how to justify it to the Finance Director, invest in the Competitive Advantage report Adoption of BIM 2013 which will also give you advice on how to use BIM to maximum effect.
Chris is founder of Competitive Advantage Consultancy which specialises in market research and training for the construction industry. He is a specialist in specification selling, a member of the Green Construction Board Promotional Working Group and serves on the organising committee for CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group.
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