Builders are getting trained up in BIM, delving into the Data and interrogating the Consultants models for all their worth.
When the whole BIM revolution started to get momentum in the AEC industry around 2010, we thought that even though it was difficult, it was going to take off like wildfire. I say momentum, because the Revit and Navisworks jobs advertised were not only for the apparent Guru’s, but were instead asking for a switch in the staff skills by employing general Revit and Navisworks users, while internally training up staff. We soon realised that the difficulty of BIM meant that the greater building Industry avoided implementation and stuck to known practices. Also, if BIM were to take hold and change the AEC Industry as was hoped, then there would need to be a Government mandate, or that the Builders take on the available Data inside BIM themselves. Late last year I was involved in training Hansen Yuncken as they wanted to make that same switch in their staff skill base. We are witnessing the same transformation in our work processes to incorporate BIM into construction as drafting did back in 2010.
Hansen Yuncken Course Intention:
Hansen Yuncken has already worked on BIM Projects, the intention of the training was to provide the necessary basic knowledge to several Hansen Yuncken state teams. Not to become a designer or modeller, but to have knowledge of what Data is hidden and how to capitalise on the BIM in Revit models through 3 main points.
- Modelling for Change – It was never the intention to show them how to model a complete building, but rather to give Hansen Yuncken the understanding of how to model elements in a building. Therefore, having a clearer understanding of what information is required when modelling and how the Hansen Yuncken team can capitalise on this information, by knowing if changes are difficult to make within Revit when working with Consultants.
- Revit is a Database – This opened up the BIM to the Hansen Yuncken team to all the Data within Revit that is deeper than a PDF. Knowing that Revit is a Database reinforces the last point, where good modelling means simpler changes and more accurate information downstream that Hansen Yuncken can utilise. The team learnt that they could add additional information to the Consultants models to understand the challenges and how to overcome them easier and more accurately on site with BIM.
- Interrogating the Consultants Model – With good Workflows, the teams will be able to understand the Project quicker and more accurately than they had in the past with only PDF drawings. By using a “Federated Revit Model” Setup (similar to Navisworks Federated concept), the Hansen Yuncken team learnt quick workflows to break down the Consultants model(s) and how to manipulate the visual settings with the Data stored in the objects.
Builder Training review.
Teaching Builders has been one of the most interesting aspects of training. We were able to dig straight down into BIM to understand how it could improve construction productivity and it became very clear what BIM means to consultants is very different to builders. The training was well received, and with an ongoing Company strategic plan for BIM, Hansen Yuncken will gain improvements due to their understanding of the Data within BIM. The Adelaide team were able to pick up the BIM workflows quickly due to their time working on BIM Projects, including Royal Adelaide Hospital and the UniSA Health Innovation Building from the lessons learnt on site and our training to how they could improve construction by:
- Minimising miscommunication
- Scrutinising Consultants models to the point that models form part of the building process.
- Incorporate BIM as part of their decision making that includes; Tendering, Planning and Sequencing.
Ultimately I found that the teams were open to the idea of BIM as they want to improve their daily processes and make Construction easier. They understand that Data is one of the ways to reach this goal.
What now for consultants?
Generally speaking, the Builders are playing BIM catch-up. However, drawing presentation will not be their focus, so playing catch up will not take that long. Our advice is to stop worrying about how the drawing looks, the data enriched mode is becoming of equal importance as the PDF output. Besides, I am sure that the Subby on site can read your drawings just fine. Take more time and effort with how you model, how good is the Data? Design for change. Most importantly, think of the downstream workflows that your model will be contributing to, because we are educating the Builders and they are interrogating your models.
Where to for builders?
Hansen Yuncken is taking BIM seriously, from their Website “The adoption of BIM forms part of Hansen Yuncken’s broader business strategy. Involving SmartSystems, we capture project intelligence using our integrated management platform Hyway, to inform us better and drive behavioural change across the organisation.” to their classroom and site involvement. They are being strategic and not going in guns blazing, if we have learnt anything from new technologies, it’s best to wade carefully into the waters. So what is your Building Companies BIM strategy? Hopefully, it’s not waiting for others to pave your way? There are smart ways to find the Data, to understand the ever more complex buildings that the AEC Industry create. Reduce uncertainty, communicate on the same level as the Consultants, incorporate BIM Data into the current Data workflows. Above all, stay competitive in an industry that is looking for a Builder that can ensure a good product will be delivered properly and on time. BIM is not the winged keel for construction, but it’s becoming the differentiator on projects won.