Implementing BIM (building information modelling) process and technology brings a number of benefits to the construction industry. However, a bad start when venturing into the system due to inefficient deployment may force the company to put the software back on the shelf, missing out on the opportunity to transform its business.
To secure the full benefits of BIM, a ‘major business programme’ approach is needed. Unlike adopting a new technology in isolation. BIM implementation has to be undertaken in stages. This requires proper planning, patience and full commitment at all levels of the business.
The first step is to understand the current status of the business, both in terms of existing systems and available skills. An effective way of achieving this is to undertake an audit that can best be described as a ‘health check’. This will determine the level of change required, how best to achieve that change, how long it will take and how much it will cost – all essential steps in ascertaining the critical ‘return on investment’ on which sound business decisions are based.
This health check has two major component parts – business and skills:
Business health check: The first step is to identify and analyse existing business systems and processes (both internal and external) and ‘map’ those within a BIM framework. This is possible because BIM is still in a relatively new phase of development and can often be manipulated and customised to suit the specific needs.
Skills health check: Central to any business implementation is training of staff, where it is not just enough to know ‘how to use software tools’. Understanding the BIM process and how it affects current work practice is essential. Assessment and benchmarking the capabilities of staff at an early stage of the implementation process is crucial. This identifies the best people for training and deployment of BIM within the business who will together form the best team to undertake a first ‘pilot’ project.
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