Opinion

Simplified, Cost-Effective BIM without the Expense of True Professional Expression

 

The advent of computer technology promised to simplify our lives, not complicate them. It was hailed as the moment mankind would become free to enjoy a life of leisure and creativity but reality has proven to be vastly different.

In the building industry, the potential is Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology and its unprecedented capacity to facilitate iterative design processes and cross-disciplinary collaboration, as well as improve operational efficiencies.  But in reality the result of implementing BIM has created an incessant drive from design and construction firms towards specialisation which is costing a fee-stagnated industry more than ever in initial and retraining costs, as well as tech-savvy related losses.

Add to this the cross-professional knowledge required for successful completion of projects and you have an impossible level of knowledge being required at the expense of true professional expression.

So how can an industry in which BIM has created so much promise for project-life and long-term cost reduction tap into such potential? Can it be done without compromising the professional merit that is so vital to the industry? And finally, can a final product advancement save the industry from its own competitive stranglehold?

COSTS

Until now the cost of software has ranged from around of $6,000 for the basic BIM suite all the way to $8,000+ for a premium suite three-year subscription, a substantial outlay for even the largest of firms.

Training a staff member in the use of BIM fundamentals costs an additional $1,000 and add to this the lost productivity while the employee is undergoing training and the price per employee begins to far exceed the staffing budget of most small to medium sized firms.

This has made software specialisation hot property in the job market as firms seek ready skilled employees to take up jobs at the expense of those with more design experience, simply to prevent themselves from going under in the training phase.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

It is clear that the industry is moving towards an ever-greater reliance on BIM software. This is not a fad and it is only going to get bigger as more and more firms use it to its full productivity-based potential. The question is; how can firms implement the use of this software and its obvious benefits without the periods of unproductiveness and massive outlay costs?

The latest contender in the market appears to offer the answer.

PlusSpec for SketchUp by RubySketch:

For those of you who have never used SketchUp, it is the most popular free-form 3D modeling software in the world. The problem with SketchUp is that even though it is used by the vast majority of design professionals, it is often derided for being too simple (and lacking those much needed BIM features). It is more often than not deemed to be a great concept design and visualization tool, which is put into a similar category as Photoshop: nice to have, but not essential.

PlusSpec plugs into SketchUp, and has turned SketchUp into a full implementation (from concept to construction) BIM solution that will finally provide Architects and designers with the tool that they have been waiting for. It has been created so that you can design, document and prepare feasibility studies or estimates faster and smarter. You have the best of BIM technology and parametric modeling (PlusSpec), as well as free-form modeling (SketchUp), which provides you with total design freedom.

The startup cost of this software amounts to roughly half of competitor entry point options, making it affordable for firms of all sizes, and licenses come with all regular upgrades at no extra charge.

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