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The Contractors’ Guide to BIM

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March 25, 2015 Alisson Oliveira

The future of the design and construction industry is going to be driven by the use oftechnology. The best example emerging today is the use of three-dimensional, intelligentdesign information, commonly referred to as Building Information Modeling (BIM).BIM is expected to drive the construction industry towards a “Model Based” processand gradually move the industry away from a “2D Based” process. This “ModelBased” process where buildings will be built virtually before they get built out in thefield is also referred to as Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). This guide is forcontractors who recognize this future is coming and are looking for a way to start preparing themselves so that when the future arrives, they will be ready. This guide isintended to help contractors understand how to get started.

What does “getting started” mean? It could meanfinding a champion among your seniorcompany leadership to provide the encouragement and support that change requires.It could mean educating yourself and your champion on what is happening and whatother contractors are already doing. It could mean getting your champion and a fewkey people in your organization interested enough to at least start understanding whatthe software tools are and what they can do. It could mean appreciating the difference between receiving a “3D Design” versus “Converting” a 2D Design into 3D. It couldmean eitherfinding someone already on your payroll or hiring someone who is notintimidated by the software, but actually enjoys using it! It could mean all of thesethings or it could mean just understanding at a basic level what BIM and VDC standsfor, in which case you can stop here. If you are interested in doing more, AGC ofAmerica would like to help and this guide is offered as a place to start.

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Setting aside a couple of myths already spreading…

  • Myth #1:BIM is only for large projects with complex geometries
  • Fact:The benefits of using BIM on all projects, regardless of size andshape, are being proven by contractors using BIM today.
  • Myth #2:BIM is only for large contractors who can afford the investment.
  • Fact: The benefits of using BIM are being seen by contractors of all sizes.The level of investment and commitment is scalable.

The fact is that the construction industry is already beginning to go through what many predict will be a significant transformation. With all the press and related industrydiscussions, it can start to feel overwhelming.

This guide was prepared, in large part, by contractors who were where you are now,trying to sort it all out and determine where to start. Lessons based on their experienceswere used in preparing this guide. Though the process is evolving rapidly and theguidance offered here may be become dated quickly, it is hoped that the basic frameworkfor how to get started will be useful to all contractors.

This guide is version number one, and as fast as this area is evolving, it is expected thatupdates will be provided periodically

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