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Are We Marketing BIM to our Design Staff?

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In the last few months, I have had the privilege of doing some Building Information Modeling (BIM) Marketing Presentations for TME. As I was gathering my marketing materials after of one of those presentations, I received an email from one of our modelers who was very frustrated with the BIM procedures and processes. I contacted that person and let them vent for a while about some of the issues they were having. This particular person just happens to be very good at modeling and designing in BIM, so I knew their issues were valid issues.

In the last few months, I have had the privilege of doing some Building Information Modeling (BIM) Marketing Presentations for TME. As I was gathering my marketing materials after of one of those presentations, I received an email from one of our modelers who was very frustrated with the BIM procedures and processes. I contacted that person and let them vent for a while about some of the issues they were having. This particular person just happens to be very good at modeling and designing in BIM, so I knew their issues were valid issues.

On the plane ride home, I could not get that conversation out of my head. I began thinking that while I had been heavily marketing BIM and all the wonderful things BIM can do for our external clients, I had failed to really market the overall BIM process to our modelers. While the modelers had the understanding and knowledge to produce quality BIM models, I had really failed to get the “Why” message across. Why are we modeling to such great detail when our old process worked just fine? Why are we adding all of this information when we never did before? Why do I feel that my design is not the same quality as before? Why do I feel more pressure to produce? WHY, WHY, WHY!

These are the people who can make or break our firm, and they are the individuals who really need to understand BIM the most. I knew that our Modeling Team understood why we are using BIM and all of the BIM tools. However, had I really helped them truly understand the overall BIM process or were they just going through the motions of preparing BIM documents and BIM models? Naturally I grew concerned as this could have a huge effect on the quality of our models and our design. I needed a game plan quickly.

BIM has been a huge thought process change for the MEP industry. It requires a different way of thinking. I believe that this is why the MEP industry has been slow to adopt BIM. The key to success with BIM is having your design staff understand the concept of BIM. We need to market to our staff the values and advantages the BIM model brings to our clients and to our design. Sometimes we seem too focused on getting the message out to the external world about BIM, and we to forget to look at the “inside”. We may think that our staff globally understands BIM, but it can be really frustrating for them if they don’t understand the full importance of BIM. A frustrated staff member can strain a project. With today/'s tight budget numbers, we can/'t afford frustrated designers on projects.

Do some fun things with your staff where BIM in concerned. Use BIM to create Rapid Prototypes, so that your staff can see their accomplishments. Upgrade their computers and monitors, and you will see their eyes light up. Just changing the size of a monitor can really decrease the frustration level of a designer and increase that designer’s productivity. Spend one on one time talking to your staff about BIM and why your company decided to implement BIM. You might be surprised at what you might find out. Listen to their complaints. Most of the time, they contain valid issues that need to be addressed. Taking some simple steps can really add to a positive atmosphere in the BIM world. With BIM implementation, there can be frustration, but these frustrations can be mitigated by talking to your staff and marketing internally. You will be amazed at the results if you do.

An example of a rapid prototype that we made:

BIM rapid prototype

by Mark Mergenschroer

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