Archive for category Adoption
“We now have the time and inclination to do things right,” this phrase was uttered by a client of ours, a construction manager, after the 2008 economic implosion of the real estate sector. The time portion was meant ‘unfortunately’ as few of us were as busy as we wanted, but what he was referring to was his firms move to Revit/BIM. It just did not make sense from a coordination or phasing point of view to work in CAD anymore because he saw the savings and potential advantages for his firm to move to Revit.
Now according the latest Smart Market Report from McGraw Hill BIM Adoption in North America has reached 71%; that’s up roughly 300% from 2007 when it was 28%. Give or take a few percentage points.
“I think there’s going to be a huge shakeout. Those who practice the old way are soon going to find themselves without work. Either change, get with this program or go out of business.” -Patrick MacLeamy, CEO HOK
Strong words, and I can’t say that the legacy tail of 2D is not a long one but the benefits of BIM are real, and if the reasoning for a firm not to make the move is simply, well we’ve always done it this way. It may be time to initiate a new planning regimen. Also in this report is information provided by JC Cannistraro, a MEP Constractor in Watertown, MA wqhich saw change orders drop from 18.42% when working with 2D CAD, to 2.68% with collaborative BIM, that’s as a percentage of total cost, and very real money.
Is there ever a good time to adopt a new technology or business practice? No. Yes. Today. First, ask yourself these questions, “Will it make me or our organization more profitable? Will it lead to new business opportunities?” One broad way to measure profitability is ROI in the investment. How much will it cost to introduce a new technology or business practice, what costs are involved, how quick is the pay back. Are there metrics in place to measure this? One can argue during downtime or between large projects is the best time to invest so they can be incorporated from the beginning of the next project. Cost center issues get caught up with the CFO or whatever other gate keeper that is out there because they cannot be assigned or passed on to a client. Why is this an argument? It might not be said out right, but this type of accounting is just easier and no one ever gets in trouble going with the flow. You were not the one who approved such expenditures so it can be pinned on you. Be an evangelist. Things need to get done. If there is a better way to do it. Do it. You know eventually your competition is going to and will either be A) more profitable B) more efficient or both and start making money at a lower cost than you are. You’re an artist, and it’s always worked this way. Okay, maybe, but that doesn’t scale. The organization is you. And maybe that’s okay but I don’t know how you hire and keep talented people. People like to solve problems and they want the tools to solve them. You have to build a house. Tough to argue for the hammer over the nail gun.
One business proverb always comes to mind when dwelling on this issue.
“If you don’t like new technology you’ll like obsolescence even less.”
Next Time: “It’s all Organization Behavior”
To reduce costs for any project or product, look at the inputs; can they be improved? Break out the Cost of Goods Sold, or Cost of Sales. In construction the Cost of Sales (which will include material and labor) is at a whopping 84%. This leaves leaving only a 16% gross margin for everything else. To put this in perspective Walmart operates at around a 25% Gross Margin. So is it any wonder the need to lock down costs and reduce waste is more extreme in this industry than most? Compare it to its aligned industry the AE (Architecture Engineering) industry whose gross margin is 3 times as high and there is good reason that BIM was initially more widely adopted and implemented by the construction trades. Any advantage in reducing costs, improving margins or making a firm more competitive in the marketplace will find a receptive audience in construction.
Cost saving were first realized with BIMs starting with the 3D coordination of the digital model, clash detection and then scheduling(the 4th D) of construction and the reduction of the cost of labor. Downtime for crews due to change orders or having material unavailable was reduced. Now we are starting to see more firms focus on the cost of materials and how they can be managed and best integrated into a project.
RIB Software , based in Stuttgart Germany is a leading provider of technical ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software solutions for the construction industry recently announced the acquistiono of MC2 one of the leaders in cost estimation software for the construction industry or the 5th D of BIM. In the official press release RIB stated ‘Major step taken in the US market for 5D-BIM technology’. In July Trimble acquired WinEstimator another leader in cost estimation in the United States.
Recently released report from Pike Research suggests that the BIM market for software and services to grow from $1.8 Billion to $6.5 Billion, or a compounded annual growth rate of 17%+. 2D CAD Market as reported by TechNavio is to grow at 7% annually through 2015. So if I were racing… I’d chose the car that’s more than twice as fast.
As reported on the CIMCIG (Certified Institute of Marketing – Construction Industry Group) blog, yes I’ve been to the site. The Government Chief Construction Advisor Paul Morrell described BIM adoption as “unstoppable” . This took place at the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group Chairman’s debate. No one at the meeting disagreed with him but rather focused on the practicalities of its implementation.
The choice of software system is one risk. Mike Sheehan of WSP pointed out that there is still much work to be done developing BIM compliant software that is genuinely fit for purpose and no-one wants to be the organisation supporting the Betamax of the BIM world.
Interesting point there when couched in that language, which technologies will be the VCR and which ones will be the Betamax? Remember the old saying “you never get fired for choosing IBM” This is part of the FUD (Fear Uncertainity and Doubt) Marketing principle which might prevent the buyer from considering anything else than the market leader. So makes it very important to be the market leader, but I’m getting off point. Point being that the BIM tide is rolling.
Ultimately, the decision to embrace BIM will be leap of faith for each organisation. In answer to a question about proving the business case for implementation, Paul Morrell reflected: “Can I be bothered to do the business case? I remember when we voted on whether we wanted to move to email. The investment required to so at the time was about £4m and the immediate cost saving was to our post bill – about £100k. But we knew it was the future: unstoppable.”
I think most people understand that we have just scratched the surface with BIM but it is becoming to compelling to ignore or to argue for doing things the same way anymore.
As reported in the Korea Times GS Engineering & Construction has teamed up with DPR Construction. DPR, a top 50 Contractor, has fully incorporated BIM, IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) and VDC (Virutal Design and Construction) into their methodology. They both worked on the NC Soft Building in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province.
“Though Korean builders are doing very good overseas, the level of construction technology and labor productivity still remains lower than those of other advanced nations,” a GS spokesman said. “By adding the high-tech IT technology to construction projects, we’ll try to become one of the top-tier builders in the world.” He said both companies have already used the BIM process in building an R&D center of NCsoft, a top online video game company in Korea, in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, and they will further expand bilateral BIM collaboration in the years to come.
Also reported in the article and unknown to me at the time is that BIM is required on all goverment projects over 50 billion Won, which at today’s rates would be USD $4,502,700….tasty
So off business wire the other day I read that Gehry Technologies has teamed up with Autodesk to offer ” to transform business and design workflows with Autodesk BIM solutions.” Now there Digital Project built on DSS’s Catia Engine is a competitor to Revit, No? However, Gehry Technologies sells technology, services and consulting to firms wanting to implement BIM. And now they are offering Revit as a platform. That’ some feather in the cap for Autodesk. “This new business relationship with Autodesk is a key element of our growth strategy,” added Dayne Myers, CEO of Gehry Technologies. And there you have it, Revit equals growth, Revit equals the future. I am not saying that some BIM 2.0 Platform might come along and knock everyone off their feet, but for now Revit’s got the lead and its pulling away.
Oct. 19, 2011, 9:30 a.m. EDT
There are more discussion threads on what BIM is then I care to mention or dive into. Usually it turn’s into a bowl of alphabet soup with VDC (Virtual Design and Construction) and IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) etc. and the fact is it means different things to different people. So I put up a poll on the website, and I feel fine about the argument that the people who A) come to my web site and B) respond to the poll are industry professionals with a vested interest in BIM and all it entails, otherwise, really how would you get here? Certainly not by googling, “Jersey Shore” or “Justin Bieber”.
My interest here was not to put a stake in the ground and define BIM. It was to see how the market defines it, and the market defines it as a ‘process’ that they understand that the ‘I’ (Information) is more than lip service but more interestingly, at least to me, is that Revit comes in second, even before “It’s a technology”. What impact does that have? For developers, I think a large one. If you are developing software for a BIM platform, and as much as we want open standards, seamless cross platform migration, etc, the fact is until is there is an open source BIM Engine / BIM authoring tool you have to choose, and if you are a developer it makes more and more sense to choose Revit, at least at first. Now all you Revit haters, let’s hear it ArchiCAD people, I don’t care what you think is superior technology, the world is littered with “superior” technology has beens never was. For my purposes I follow what’s market driven. The history of what technology takes off and why is more interesting, a’la the VHS vs. Betamax war, and why many people thought Sony lost with superior technology.
Why you chose what technology you chose, is entirely up to you and your process. I’m just the messenger.
So on the heels of Tekla’s announcement that BIMSight will be free to use for BIM coordination, clash detection and the like, the next Press Release is that Trimble will be a ‘preferred’ distributor, what preferred connotates is anyone’s guess, however, the business model of Trimble corporate carrying Tekla software is different. Now I know plenty of hardware resellers carry Leica and then are a VAR for Autodesk because they see the crossover but that’s not at the corporate level. Corporate level commitment, that’s different. Now I have heard people from Autodesk state, ‘we don’t do hardware’ meaning that their play is not to merge the worlds, however, Trimble and Tekla, different matter. Trying to rattle the Autodesk hegemony, not sure, but one thing is sure and it’s that this BIM thing is a big tent, from design to energy modeling, to CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) etc. and that going BIM to Field is going to get bigger. In fact, you can get Tekla’s software on Trimble’s Web site, BIMtoField.com –
“a Trimble Website dedicated to helping building owners, contractors, and engineers better understand the potential of solutions that allow the transfer of Building Information Modeling (BIM) data to field level systems for increased productivity and cost savings.”
A lot of people streaming into the Big BIM tent.
Interesting news that Tekla announces a new product for BIM communication, BIMsight, how this differs from Navisworks? well it’s free, and if you’ve seen people line up for free stuff at conventions, carnivals, playgrounds, sporting events, etc. you have to understand that ‘free’ gets people excited, but free is not necessarily good. I don’t doubt that Tekla put together an excellent product but the true value of the product comes from the people using it, trained on it, understanding and leveraging it, however, dropping the initial price hurdle to well, zero can’t hurt. It seems that it works like Navisworks in that BIM information is brought in for clash detection and project communication, I also wonder how the data is dealt with and stored; since I believe who ever has the data wins. That is, your in the Autodesk camp using their products, storing info in the cloud through them, barriers to exit start rising, you start using BIMsight to communicate with your clients/subs/etc. your then living in Tekla’s world. None of this necessarily a bad thing as standardization brings a lot of good and a lot of productivity gains, ask anyone who develops products for Windows.
However, begs the question, what’s the business model? As we used to see firms with their core product and developing/purchasing products to surround/extend their offering, and normally charge for it. In this case, give it away for free. Does this bring more people to Tekla Structure? Is there something else at work? Why do I ask these questions? Probably too much coffee or detective novels when I was kid. Maltese Falcon by the way, great book and great movie.