BIM disciples make a virtue of the efficiencies that 3D modelling brings about in project delivery.
This is of course true, but as an SME consulting engineer it is also driving efficiencies within our own business.
BIM has taken out all the laborious steps of producing reams of 2D drawings – often repeating them many times over – and has given engineers back the time on projects to be able to think and provide intelligent engineering design solutions for our clients.
Our engineers need creative time to produce designs of superior quality that meet our clients’ requirements.
BIM is enabling us to save time that our engineers use to deliver the design engineering solutions upon which Crofton has built its reputation.
We want our engineers to put their professional qualifications to better use on interesting projects, which means they are more motivated to think outside the box, innovate and deliver greater value to clients for the same level of fee.
Having made a significant investment in the technology, our approach to BIM is that it is an integral part of the design process and is deployed throughout the business so that it is adopted by all engineers – rather than having a small separate BIM team providing a 3D drawing package, which can often lead to bottleneck situations and delays.
“We say to clients that if you force us to do it in 2D CAD we will charge you a premium because it doesn’t fit our workflows”
As a result, we have recalibrated our workflows in the office to such a degree that the way we go about developing design engineering solutions now in the BIM environment is totally different from the traditional environment in which we operated just three years ago.
The efficiencies come by spending and investing heavily in the customisation of our BIM environment, which supports the creation of added value for our clients and enhances collaboration with the supply chain.
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Of course, while BIM comes with huge benefits, it also comes with inevitable requirements to continuously upskill staff, maintain and upgrade IT infrastructure and software, and invest time to encourage the supply chain to adopt BIM.
On the latter point: universal standards mean the consistency achieved through BIM can drive greater value to customers if the whole supply chain has integrated digital technologies into their workflows.
Not at our core
There are those businesses that, for their own reasons, have decided to outsource the BIM function – and that approach may well support their business model.
But outsourcing is not aligned with our core values of fully embracing digital technology to evolve our business model and achieve greater client satisfaction.
Yes, we are BIM disciples, but that’s because we are now seeing significant productivity improvements in our own business, which have a direct impact on the bottom line.
In fact, we are so passionate about it that when a client asks how much extra we will charge them to do the project in BIM, we say we won’t charge you extra – but if you force us to do it in 2D CAD we will charge you a premium, because it doesn’t fit our workflows.
Steve Hale is managing director of Crofton Design