Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

BIM Visualizes the “How,” Unlocks the “Why” and Provides a Relationship Value-Add

Last week, I mentioned a partnership I’ve fostered with WP2DC, the company who designed and implemented a cloud-based application for Stewart Perry. We’ve managed to get all our internal information into an easily accessible virtual file cabinet. As a result we’ve cut out a lot of duplicated efforts.

Using a Building Information Modeling (BIM) is our next goal for being more efficient and a better resource. The American Institute of Architects defines it as a “model-based technology linked with a database of project information.”  Basically, BIM catalogues a structure throughout its lifecycle in real time 3D. All the details—from design, to functionality, to construction, to operation—are accessible from one file. We had a project T’d up using BIM and because of the Recession the project was delayed. We believe that BIM will be a huge value-add for our customer relationships. That’s because, for us, BIM will:

  • improve project visualization
  • improve productivity with easy retrieval of information
  • increase coordination of construction documents
  • isolate and define scope of work
  • increase delivery speed
  • reduce errors
  • reduce costs

BIM will allow us to harness technology to drive long-term improvement in project delivery. It’s a soup to nuts philosophy. If problems come up down the road, building owners can look at how a facility was designed, engineered and built. They can address problems with a holistic approach, often saving them tons of time and effort trying to track down the unknown.

BIM is a huge tool for establishing and continuing relationships. However, I won’t recommend BIM without a word of warning. Adaptation means you’ll have to change the way you look at building phases. There’s a lot less alpha and omega and a lot more ebb and flow. Architects, engineers, contractors and other stakeholders will be sharing more information than they’re used to. It’s more effort up front, but in the end, BIM bridges the information loss often associated with handing a project from design team to construction to owner/operator.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.