Vico Guest Blogger Series

How Do You Sell BIM to Owners?

Posted by Holly Allison on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 @ 09:17 AM


Some Owners want to use BIM on their projects because they want to use the latest building technology.  Others want to do BIM on their project because they want the latest building science to be incorporated on their site.  And other Owners believe that the GC who demonstrates their ease with the latest technology will be able to solve issues that arise on-site.


Some Owners still need to be sold on the benefits of BIM. 


A couple weeks ago, members of Team Vico worked on a Business Development opportunity with a CM group.  The project was/is a high tech data center.  We helped the CM create a demonstration which explained to the Owner how easy their life would be if they hired them over the others bidding on the work.  


In the bid we avoided what all of their competitors were saying:

• telling the owner that they, of course, have the best team,
• that they have done many, many projects like theirs before (interpreted as “your project is just like the rest”),
• spinning a 3D model on the screen (yawn), and
• talking a bit about clash detection but not offering to shorten the schedule.


Haven’t we all been guilty of pulling together this slide deck?


Instead, the presentation focused on what makes the Owner’s life easier.  Owners appreciate a well‐defined process for planning and managing the job, especially when the plan includes objective measurements and reporting.


The main points are:

• providing a process that offers more frequent and accurate updates,
• concise and consistent reporting,
• change management – both the schedule and the estimate are immediately updated after each design change,
• decision support with the 5D model.


We shared with them that the subs employed are going to be happy because of the way they were managed by production, rather than arbitrary short deadlines. There will be less risk on their project because the process employed truly exploits integrated 5D BIM, leveraging data with each step.  It's not about the shiny new BIM tools and cute screenshots (although we did add a few of these as well).  ;-) We also showed examples of cost-loaded schedules, location-based quantities, and the types of reports other Owners appreciate.


We are happy to report that the CM won the data center!


Our clients tell us all the time, "The 5D model made it possible to take what I saw so clearly in my head and let the Owner see it, too."


integrated BIM mode geometry quantities estimate cost plan item

Caption: Resisting the urge to simply spin a model on the screen to impress the Owner, the CM illustrated the integration between the 3D model geometry, the quantity takeoff, and the individual line item in the estimate.  The yellow highlighting of the concrete pad footings in the 3D model corresponds to the yellow highlighting of the same pad footings in its cost plan line item.


How do you approach Owners with your BIM skills?  How do you differentiate your firm from the other bidders?  What have you found that Owners appreciate seeing in a presentation?  Add your comments to our blog and see what is working with other GC firms.


One of the items we discussed in last week’s Fridays with Vico webinar about BIM Staffing Options was hiring a team of 5D Project Experts on Retainer to help you produce 5D models and presentation materials for your bids.  If you would like to learn more, we are here to help.


Here are some additional resources you might like to investigate:


Vico Services: Win the Deal

Webinar: BIM Staffing Strategies

Webinar: The CIO’s Role in the BIM Strategy

Blog: 5D BIM Versus 50-Yard-Line Tickets

Blog: Isn’t It Time to Walk-the Walk?

Blog: The Top 10 Reasons to Do 5D BIM


Tags: BIM for Owners, how to sell BIM to Owners, 5d model in bid presentations, business development presentations