June 23, 2015
Home builders have longed for a system that can prevent such profit-stealing construction flaws, and in recent years have heard that building information modeling (BIM) is the answer. According to the sales pitch, BIM will not only drastically reduce design flaws and change orders, but will also enable home builders to increase productivity in design and drafting, reduce overbuying of materials and estimate costs more precisely -all of which will significantly boost profit margins. Recent upgrades of leading BIM systems make them better suited to home building
BIM is commonly used in the design of major high-rise office towers, bridges, power plants and other complex projects with long time frames. Architects, engineers, construction management firms and owners have reported notable results in improved efficiency on commercial and public works projects, and BIM is on its way to becoming an industry staple. While many people define BIM as 3D design software, in order to get the most out of the technology, it is better to think of it as a system to manage a construction project from beginning to end. Specifics of BIM are discussed.
In an era when home builders have virtually no room for error, proponents of building information modeling software, like Warren Buffett, say now is the time for builders to adopt the technology.
A new home has risen in a fancy new development, but it contains a flaw that is embarrassing and aggravating for the home builder's project manager. A window intersects with a roof line - a formula for leaks into a second-story bedroom. It's the type of mistake that is all too common in the industry. The window must be moved, a costly fix.
During a period when profit margins are tighter than ever, this kind of error eats away at the bottom line. Builders have longed for a system that can prevent such profit-stealing construction flaws, and in recent years have heard that building information modeling (BIM) is the answer. According to the sales pitch, BIM will not only drastically reduce design flaws and change orders, but will also enable home builders to increase productivity in design and drafting, reduce overbuying of materials and estimate costs more precisely - all of which will significantly boost profit margins.
Already a success in commercial construction, BIM has not been widely adopted to date by home builders. Many feel that the technology hasn't been tailored for the challenges of home building's rapid scheduling. But that sentiment is beginning to change.
With recent upgrades of leading BIM systems, making them better suited to home building, is it time for the industry to get serious about BIM?
Some are saying "yes." Among them is Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the most successful investors in history. The Oracle of Omaha is so bullish on BIM that he acquired software developer and BIM service provider Simpad/Blackpoint Builder Services, now a subsidiary of one of his holdings, MiTek.
Buffett also authored a book touting BIM to home builders.
"We are making an investment in assisting a limited number of home-building companies to automate their CAD production and estimating processes," Buffett wrote in the book, which was distributed to CEOs of the nation's 50 largest home builders. "They will quickly realize the cost savings. The quality and accuracy of their design and construction process will be better than ever before, and they'll be delivered in a much shorter period of time."
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