Why should you Invite BIM over Coffee for next Retail Construction Project?


Talking about Starbucks coffee is too main stream; talk about its construction standards and regional curve in it and you may invite an EPC firm’s chief building design engineer for a never ending conversation or maybe a billion dollar business. Mention any novel technology – BIM and/or Virtual Reality – Starbucks has it. In essence, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that there is as much to learn from the retailer’s construction practices and technology adoption as from its brand value.

Inviting BIM for coffee, that is to say, brining BIM on board for retail design construction projects helps maintain the crux of standardized designs for all locations, especially for retail chains. The major challenge that general contractors and EPC firms face in retail design construction is extreme competition; and to keep growing, they need to account for regional likes and dislikes in designs and interiors. A key factor that spells success for these retailers is how rapidly can they get in to business and yet stick to construction budgets. Various BIM platforms provide to be a valued proposition for the construction business.

The coffee house giant, in Japan, grabbed this thought and dived right in to the usage of Autodesk’s Revit, a BIM platform, with each design engineer and architect working in their ways of designing. Initially when they began, it was all ruckuses and not a single process was defined since designs were imported from headquarters back in the USA. However, gradually, chief design engineers realized that they need to be more organized, regional specific and collaborative. They had realized that it would be a chaotic situation for them, otherwise.

Specialty coffee retailer invited BIM; so should you

To escape this torturous situation, contractors on board were insistent on training the staff and get acquainted with the BIM platform and tools within. The collection of 3D modeling of building elements was made to collaborate so that each element can be studied extensively in detail.

Common Data Environment (CDE) of BIM practically arranges meetings to essentially narrow down the requirement of each discipline and yet maintain the design intent. The feedback from federated BIM model lays a foundation that all the designs are set properly. It ensures that design requirements of engineering, architecture and MEP are met to some set basic level according to the geographical location.

Besides, the exceptional modeling and sketching tools enable parametric 3D modeling to maintain the accuracy of drawings while migrating from 2D to 3D. While designing in 3D, the digital prototype of buildings will bring about a great deal of information at a very initial stage which can be tweaked with regional requirements. Particularly, built models will give information about smallest of the component without any extra efforts even during estimation.

It enables visualizing space interiors and accommodates every detail as asked by the facility owner very efficiently. Detailed as-built models with the information of lamination, paint, carving, drawers, wall covering etc. will be applied to each material object, ensuring accurate materials cost along with the cost of local construction. Additionally, BIM ensures tabulation of every area - whether leasable or unutilized – very clearly to give the facility owner an edge over taking informed decisions.

This, however, is the plan for designing from scratch. While retrofitting such a retail shop of chain business, the access to previously built 3D models gives significant paybacks. Access to 3D data makes it easier by leaps and bounds to carry on with the business operations of explaining the new design intent, and purpose of each element within. It ramps up the pace of construction firm in entire designing process and fetches a considerable saving on cost and time.

Do a bit of value addition by collaborating VR with BIM

Designs of building, from scratch or renovation, can be visualized and can be explained well if there are sets of graphical information. In the era of virtual reality, explaining building designs and interiors has not remained a challenge. 3D visualization in BIM and combining virtual reality aspects like height of the counter, [say a coffee counter] its width views of customers sitting area, designs of chairs and tables can be viewed and explained easily. Sharing ideas and experiences with virtual reality has essentially changed AEC industry’s course of reaching design consensus.

Try a coffee with BIM real soon

For a fact, the coffee retailer - Starbucks, when opened its first shop outside the USA, had its designs provided by headquarter in Seattle. However, times have changed today. As the coffee brand grew, it adopted BIM to become independent during construction and design for regional touch and be more creative. BIM has sufficed every need of retail building developers to grow by assisting in designs all the way from concept through construction and beyond.

When contractors and EPC firms first start using BIM independently, it may hinder pace at which the firm progresses. But why should they restrict themselves from inviting BIM for the first coffee over retail design construction project looking at the edge it gives?

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