BIMBeing: The Journey #36
#36 – Everything BIM, if it’s free…
Photo by Maitree Rimthong from Pexels.
Investment is an entirely unavoidable part of innovation, growth and development of any subject in any sector; real progress is never free. The story is exactly the same with BIM; it’s undoubtedly the most significant reason that our progress, as an industry, is so painfully slow. To see the real benefits of BIM implementation and overall digitisation, you need money – this is a simple fact.
Many a time I’ve spoken to companies that will say, or even boast, that they’re doing “absolutely everything in BIM”. Not only does this sentence make little-to-no sense, but more often than not, this turns out to be nothing more than the casual parade of a Peacock with stolen feathers – it’s all smoke and mirrors, it’s just not really the case. Typically, the sentence should be adjusted as this: “we’re doing everything in BIM, if it’s free”. So many companies, even in this age of thoroughly proven benefits, are reluctant to properly invest in BIM and digital transformation. These are the same companies and individuals that “can’t really see the benefit”. Well, I wonder why that could be?
As you know, I don’t formally endorse anyone or anything and I have never, and will never, be asked or paid to endorse anything. Any company, product or service that I mention is entirely of my own accord – this keeps me 100% impartial. With that in mind, I recently read a publication by Deltek, a company that I admittedly had no prior knowledge of. The publication is Digital Transformation in AEC; 5 Steps to Success – you can download it from here. I’d strongly recommend that you download and read this document, the 5 steps are a very useful guide. However, for the purpose of this post, one of the most interesting parts of this document is actually not one of the ‘5 steps’ at all. In the information that precedes, figures quoted are that the average company IT expenditure across all industries is around 3.3% of revenue – if you think about it, that’s quite substantial. However, the average IT expenditure of Construction companies is just 1.5% of revenue – less than half of the average figure. This speaks volumes; we are all under investing.
I’m not suggesting that the solution to anything is just throwing money at it, but targeted investment is necessary if you want to inflict real change. When it comes to improvements in BIM and company digitisation, this investment falls into 3 main categories:
You have to invest in people, always. This may be employing new people to bring expertise into the business, or it may be training and up-skilling existing members of staff (or more than likely it is both of these options). BIM is about people, processes and technology – having the right people comes first, they’ll make the processes and technology happen. With people, you typically get what you pay for. If you’re looking for an experienced BIM Lead, don’t go out there offering the salary of a BIM Technician – employing the wrong people will get you nowhere at all. DBE.Careers share some very useful tools when it comes to seeking the right people and finding the right skills:
- Follow this link for the BIM Competency Assessment, detailing the required capabilities within each BIM role
- Follow this link for the BIM Salary Guides, very important if you’re actively seeking new members of staff or looking to retain existing staff with the right salary
Software and Tools
This is important, because technology matters. Investing in the right software and digital tools is absolutely necessary if you want to embrace BIM and drive efficiencies throughout the company. Whether this means having the right number of software licences for the team or investing in the latest cloud-based collaborative platform, you will need these tools to progress and you’ll need money to pay for them. A critical part of this is finding the right tools for the job. Remember that there are an awful lot of sales men and women out there that will be more than happy to tell you just how perfect their tools are – but is this really the right tool for you? Never jump straight in with a handful of cash and a hopeful mind. Make full use of trial periods, thoroughly test new platforms and create a process with the tool that works for you. All of the best software in the world will not make your company any more efficient without robust processes and practical implementation to go with them.
Hardware is often overlooked, and almost always underfunded. Almost every consultant that I have ever worked with have been stuck using completely inadequate PC’s for their production of information, with management claiming that they cannot justify purchasing new high-powered machines. This is spectacularly short sighted! A new PC capable of running the most demanding software packages may well set you back a few thousand pounds, but how much lost time could be saved? Currently, the majority of companies I know are paying offices full of staff to sit and watch a spinning wheel for hours, every single day – the loss of productivity and crippling effect on motivation far outweigh the cost of a new machine. The lack of investment here is one of the most obvious in our industry, and it’s seriously hurting companies. Whether it’s buying new PC’s or investing in new mobile technology to take BIM to site, you need to spend money here.
I don’t generally believe in the “nothing worth having is free” opinion, but equally, I don’t believe that you can progress in this field without money. Targeted investment is the key and currently it is severely lacking, by more than 50% compared to the average of other industries. This simply has to change. As a BIM team member it’s never easy to secure investment, especially where you require the buy-in of the most senior company executives. This goes back to the overall upskilling of our industry, the need to increase that awareness and being able to stand and confidently demonstrate the direct benefits of the investment you might be seeking. Investment is nearly always top-down; you must win over those at the top of the company tree in order to get the investment you need to make positive changes.
Scroll down the page to leave a comment, or drop me an email to discuss this or any other previous post.