Soft costs. Used to be that 20% of any one project was the yardstick for soft costs, design, engineering, etc. And it always seemed like it was the money that owners/developers loathe to spend. Think about it ‘soft costs’ even the term makes you want to get rid of it or squash it. But we are getting closer to full BIM embrace and a recent post on the Building Design Construction Web Site which highlighted some of Suffolk Construction’s experience using BIM. Says Peter Campot, President of the Healthcare/Science and Technology division of New England’s Suffolk Construction
We need to transition from design as you go to a design and construction process. We reinvent the wheel everyday right now. Would you ride in an airplane that was a prototype? Buildings are the same way, each is a one-off, but if you build it virtually you’ll build it right. Value-engineering, I would argue, is neither. If we get the construction model right there ARE no RFIs. Higher quality is what I care about. I’m in a reference business. We need a paradigm shift. We need to restructure and transform the industry. Owners have to be willing to spend more upfront. It does come back to them in the end.
Jeff Yoder’s on his post goes on to state that Suffolk uses BIM on every project over $10M. They use clash detection on every BIM project and recommend full BIM on any project over $50M. They also purchased ipads for all their full time employees and use over 50 BIM related technologies and software.
What would be interesting to know is to see a costs schedule of building the ‘typical’ way and then using virtual construction methods. For example, how much did a fully realized BIM model cost vs. 2D CD (Construction Doc) package, and then see the costs savings layered on top that. Let’s get to apples v. apples, dollars v. dollars comparison, but I can’t believe there is any doubt that BIM saves you money, and maybe owners would be willing to split the difference in ‘savings’ or maybe there is a carrot out there the industry can adopt to share the ‘BIM’ winnings.