Last we got a call from one of our long time customers. He had finally quit the grind of his corporate job after 20 years. After knowing them for several years both as one of Voyansi's production team members, then later in a commercial role, I knew this would not be retirement! There is an allure to architects to be able to pick and choose what you work on. As an architect myself, I know this feeling, it's experiential and almost indescribable. However, tempering that, the ability to pick and choose comes with the need for industry standard tools and workflows.
If you've worked on a system implementation before, you are probably starting to think that this could be a challenge. I've been through it myself when much of our team made the shift from CAD to BIM years ago at Voyansi due to industry demands. Even new workflows, and other internal tools have need for training, configuration, tailoring, and loading with content. BIM may seem incredibly complex to get right, but the truth is that even small scale organizations or sole proprietorships can leverage BIM.
I got the call pretty quickly. A few months in, there was a particularly interesting housing project he was interested in working on. He had brought in another 2 team members to prepare a joint bid. The problem was, on their own they had mostly been using CAD and even on bigger corporate projects had never used Revit of BIM360. The biggest worry for small and mid-size businesses is cost. That was the first question:
"What is my ballpark pricetag for this?"
"Oh really?" That's less than I thought.
It's actually really simple. We've done this a handful of times, as small and mid size firms are an important part of our business. Their needs resonate with us because while we now employ almost 200 people worldwide, we were once there ourselves. I get asked about this relatively frequently, so wanted to share my secret sauce with you:
Getting Started - Be purposeful
Implementations share a common goal regardless of the tool you are rolling out: get people to use the new system and work more efficiently. Our team has implemented BIM for organizations ranging from one-man firms to global industrial manufacturers and silicon valley tech companies. Regardless of your size, it's important to start first by keeping the end in mind: what is the project's purpose?
In this case, it was pretty clear. Deliver the projects that they wanted to work on. The best place we decided was to get hands-on and start training. We took our internal training standards and tailored them to include information on the design of the company's new workflows. This tailored rather than custom approach had a myriad of benefits:
- Better than out-of-the-box training, but without the associated cost of completely custom training.
- Take those being trained beyond just Revit content to include BIM office concepts to empower the team to be able to manage, develop, and direct comprehensive BIM projects.
- Restructuring of current workflows to be more efficient and make the most out of the new tools available
- Consideration of the company's entire data ecosystem that goes beyond just Revit.
Our best practice, along with every other implementation partner will be to have a pilot before deploying to the full team. In the case of small organizations, independent pilots are often not possible. In this case, our approach was to choose one project, then work side by side with our customer. This way the team can put learning into real practice saving time while having a BIM guide solve day-to-day challenges side by side with our help.
My parting thought, if you are a small organization that is looking to implement BIM, you can think of it as a cooking class. Your guide can help you by preparing the meal one step ahead of you while the class follows. In the end, it all comes together with a perfectly prepared dish of BIM for all!
Want to chat with me about implementing BIM in your company? Contact one of our BIM experts!