Vico Guest Blogger Series

5 Pieces of Advice to GCs Considering BIM

Posted by Holly Allison on Mon, Jan 03, 2011 @ 12:21 PM


Contractors from all over the world turn to Vico for advice about getting started with 5D BIM.  Many of us started our careers with a tool belt, so we know what GCs need to successfully implement BIM within their organizations.  Stephen Strickland, one of our onsite project managers, recently offered his recommendations for contractors who are considering the impact of BIM on their ability to win new projects and perform them profitably.  Stephen began his career in law, but got the construction bug watching buildings go up in Detroit.  He quickly became involved with BIM while working for a large General Contractor where he served as a project BIM manager and helped outline new implementation processes.


Here is his advice for those GCs who are getting started utilizing BIM and developing their own BIM practices and procedures:


Listen to Coach Wooden:

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden always told his players “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” – I think contractors should always keep this phrase in mind when making decisions about BIM.  When you combine the rampant inefficiency that has plagued the construction industry with the advent of modern technology, the shift toward BIM as the hub of project information is not a matter of IF, but rather a matter of when and how.  If you have not already started building an infrastructure to develop the knowledge, skills, and workflows required for BIM implementation, then you are preparing to fail.


Every Project is an Opportunity:

There is no excuse for failing to utilize BIM in some way on every project you perform.  Even if you pick one BIM use and apply it on a single floor or area of a building, you will gain practical knowledge and experience that will benefit your company in the long run.  While each individual pilot implementation may only seem like a small step, the accumulated value of the knowledge and experience gained from such exercises will be exponential when applied across your entire organization.   


Involve Everyone:

The phrase “lonely BIM” was coined to describe parties utilizing BIM in isolation on a project, but the same tendency should be avoided when you are implementing BIM within your own company.  The development of an effective BIM strategy requires personnel from all parts of your organization to contribute the information and feedback necessary to shape the integration of BIM into standard workflows.  At a minimum, at least one person from each operational unit should participate in some manner to guide your BIM strategy – don’t just leave it all up to “the BIM guy.”


Master Your Information:

If you want to fully leverage the power of BIM, you must develop an organized and systematic approach for classifying building elements and data.  While BIM provides the platform for efficiently integrating and analyzing huge amounts of project information, the output will only be useful if the proper relationships are established between data and objects within the model.  Investing the time and resources necessary to thoroughly understand and organize all the data your company utilizes throughout the project lifecycle will enable you to map this data to objects and unlock the full capabilities of BIM.


BIM is not a Volunteer Activity:

For BIM initiatives beyond the project level, the prevailing mindset is to leave it up to “internal champions” to take up BIM as a personal cause and lead the charge for awareness and change within the organization.  While such people are essential to the success of BIM, even the most passionate individuals cannot succeed unless they are provided with dedicated time within work hours.  BIM is far too important to be developed only by volunteers in their spare time – if you want to make BIM a priority, find the right people within your company and find a way to incorporate BIM into their weekly job responsibilities.


smiling architects


Do you have what it takes to make BIM a strategic initiative in your firm?  Are you ready to start winning new business with BIM, performing effectively and profitably, and offering the Owner a better experience?  Vico can help. 


During the last five years, Vico’s customers proved for themselves what we know to be true about the benefits of BIM.  Innovation was what drove new project wins, our customers exploited 3D modeling, clash detection, model-based coordination, rigorous content planning, multi-model management, change management, and model-derived block drawings.  Some went further into 5D with model-derived quantity takeoff, cost estimating, and location-based scheduling.  It is no exaggeration to say that the Vico customers who “went the deepest” are the same companies who reaped the most benefit from the technology.  They literally picked the jobs they wanted to win, developed the best plans, recruited the best teams, executed more effectively in the field, and delivered a new and exciting owner experience.


If you're interested in this topic, you'll also want to research:

Blog: The BIM Washers Versus the Real Deal

Blog: Talk the Talk AND Walk the Walk with BIM

Blog: Differentiating Your Firm with 5D BIM

Blog: BIM Doesn't Come in a Box

Blog: 5D BIM Versus 50-Yard Line Tickets

Webpage: The D's of BIM


Vico has put together a collection of resources to help your firm learn more about 5D BIM.  Take a look, share the materials, and get in touch with us with your questions.


If you have 15 minutes…

Watch 5D BIM for Dummies.  This video shows how 4D scheduling and 5D estimating work hand-in-hand with Vico Office.


If you have 30 minutes…

Watch BIM-Based Estimating for Dummies.  This video highlights what changes in an Estimator’s workflow when s/he starts receiving BIM models.


If you have an afternoon for research…

Watch one of our webinar series like The BIM Master Class or Getting from Zero to 5D BIM.  Both these series show the progression from 3D models to coordination to estimating and scheduling.  The former examines the theory; the latter highlights practice with Vico Office.


If you have a week…

Consider walking through the Vico Office Training Videos.  The series progresses on our website with additional commentary, or you can choose to download the videos and watch them at your convenience.  Think of this series as your video user manual.


If you have 30 days…

Consider our Structured Evaluation Program.  We walk you and your colleagues through the Vico Office Suite with training, exercises, and even homework. 

Tags: bim manager, 5D BIM, construction, general contractors