Some architects praise it as something they can't live without. Other professionals are avoiding it as long as they can. According to the AIA, half of architecture firms are now using it. Whether for or against, it seems most architects have an opinion on building information modeling (BIM) and its current and future place in the AECOO industry.
For starters, there are still differing perceptions on what the term "BIM" actually means.
The National Institute of Building Sciences' definition emphasizes that BIM "serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its lifecycle from inception onward." Other professionals still view BIM as simply a 3D model of a proposed project.
Here are three areas that are already being impacted by BIM adoption that you should consider as you ponder the future of BIM and how it will affect your firm:
Competition for Talent
As BIM standards begin cropping up around the world (it's already happened in the U.K. and Singapore), new graduates and junior designers will look to join firms that provide the best training opportunities. Firms that have started integrating BIM into at least some of their projects will be able to provide the on-the-job training these new graduates are looking for.
If your firm has already made a full or partial leap to the BIM platform, another factor in attracting top talent is having the most up-to-date version of BIM software. Hedging against the rapidly changing technology can be accomplished by enlisting the help of a BIM consultant.
Improving Efficiency in Non-Design Departments
Architects can reap great rewards with just the design benefits that BIM can offer. Enterprising architects, however, can tap into BIM capabilities that benefit non-design activities as well.
For example, your firm's BIM platform can serve as a powerful link between a project's architects, engineers and construction contractors when paired up with your choice of an automated software package that manages your document storage and sharing needs.
The accounting function also benefits from operating in tandem with a BIM platform through more accurate financial forecasts. Mistakes made during the initial design process can be caught and change orders requested much earlier during the project's timeline and at a lower cost.
Some firms have found the magic formula for implementing BIM and seeing a positive return on their investment within the first year. According to a recent McGraw Hill Construction report, 75% of contractors using BIM globally have seen a positive ROI on their investments.
The report also points out that contractors are also expected to make significant BIM investments in the years to come.
So if you're considering putting of your initial BIM adoption, consider that firms which have already done so are seeing a return on their investment and are planning to beef up their BIM platform even more.
Your initial foray into BIM may very well be stressful and require a significant capital outlay, but various firms have proven that if done correctly, BIM adoption can improve your firm's profitability and be an attraction for the next generation of AECOO industry workers who want to work with cutting-edge technology.