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Some say BIM is unstoppable...

What will Building Information Modelling mean for construction marketers when it finally arrives?

There’s been much in the media lately about BIM being an unstoppable force. Much of the latest discussions have been sparked by the recent CIMCIG chairman’s debate, held at IMechE, which posed the question ‘What are the barriers to companies adopting BIM?’.

Some panel members suggested that it was up to the clients to drive the demand because they would benefit the most from the savings in terms of costs, time and wastage.

Others argued that the driver should come from the consultants and contractors who were responsible for design and build and would benefit from the efficiency.

At this point if you work for a product manufacturer you may well be asking, “Why all the fuss? Your lot have been designing and modelling in 3D for years so it’s no big deal.”  

Part of the problem for the rest of us is that we are creatures of habit and can’t even agree on what it is we need to catch up on, or what modelling tools we should be using.

No-one wants to invest in what looks like promising software only to find that the rest of the industry has moved on. In the words of one of the panellists, Mike Sheehan, ‘no-one wants to find they’ve been backing Betamax’.

However, in the not too distant future, industry players will wake up to the realisation that they will either have to use it (BIM) or lose it (business). In the meantime the construction marketers can prepare for what is surely coming.

According to the panel, BIM will change the way the design and build team works on projects and will bring benefits up and down the supply chain.

Those companies that can demonstrate they are working with BIM and can bring those benefits to their clients will win the work.

Increasingly BIM will be prerequisite just to be considered for a place on a supplier framework. As construction marketers we will have an important part to play in communicating the importance of BIM capabilities and educating the market to get buy-in.

It may also be down to us to get the internal client engaged so that they see the value of investing in BIM.

For those of you who are already there (and apparently it’s the SMEs that are leading the way) make sure you promote the benefits to your clients.

Don’t keep it to yourself. Make a feature of it in case studies, online, in brochures and tender documents – anywhere where you can educate potential clients and suppliers.

Once the dust settles down over the software issues, and the other barriers disappear, the larger companies will wade in, so SMEs need to get ahead of the game while they can.

Promote the idea of BIM as the tool to increase efficiency, save costs, time and wastage, and it could be winning you work. Wait until everyone else is on the bandwagon and it may be too late.

Deborah Rowe, principal consultant of Sheba Marketing (, is a member of the organising committee for the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG)


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