You’ve decided to make the move to BIM – you have (nearly) everybody on board. So where do you begin? Making such a shift in process, and probably software, can be very daunting. Thankfully you don’t have to jump in with both feet to begin with, but here are some suggested tips to help you get started on the right track to ensure success.
Get the proper training
Training is key to success with BIM. Not only will your team experience a change in process – but they will also, more than likely, experience a change in software. Interestingly enough – the latter seems to cause the most angst. Making the move from AutoCAD to Revit can be very daunting for some of your strongest CAD users, and a good training class can go a long way in helping alleviate that stress.
Training can come in many flavors – I am a fan of Instructor-Led training – and your reseller or local Autodesk Training Center should be able to help you out here. I also recommend you take this training outside of the office in an effort to minimize distractions. Your team’s entire focus during training should be on learning the software (and not on attending staff meetings).
You can also take online courses if instructor-Led Training isn’t an option. Global eTraining and CAD Learning both offer online classes on Autodesk Revit. Global eTraining even offers courses on BIM.
Of course, you or your team can try to learn the software on your own – but will you learn to use it the proper way to maximize the results? Highly unlikely. You will more than likely develop bad habits without proper instruction which ultimately can lengthen the time it takes to transition to BIM.
Timing is key
Training should be taken closely to the time that actual implementation will take place. If your team takes training 6 months before they get a chance to use their knowledge, then you have just wasted your money. Your team needs to come back to some limited practice time followed by an actual project. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen training go to waste because too much time transpired between training and actual showtime!
Find the right project
Your first pilot project can also be key to your success. If you select something too difficult or complex – then your team can become frustrated and long for their comfortable CAD days. Selecting a simple project without an aggressive time schedule will set your team up for success rather than failure. Your pilot project should be something you are already quite familiar with and capable of completing. Let’s not kickstart your first BIM experience with your town’s newest skyscraper!
Select or hire your BIM Champion
You are going to need a BIM cheerleader (trust me here.) Perhaps you already have someone on your team you can utilize – perhaps you will need to go outside and find somebody, but you are really going to need someone to rally the troops! The BIM Champion is focused on a successful BIM Implementation. He/She has an assortment of BIM skills already under their belt and will help the others down the path of BIM happiness. They will be so vested in the success of your first BIM project that they will be willing to answer endless questions, troubleshoot software issues and lead the team down the BIM yellow brick road to the Emerald City of success. There will be naysayers, and speedbumps on the way to the completion of your first BIM project – your BIM Champion will be the key in avoiding a mutiny.
Make a plan
You are going to need a serious plan for success. Since BIM requires a change in process – you aren’t going to be able to do things they way you’ve done them in the past. There are some major changes that are going to need to happen – and thankfully you aren’t the first to go through this. There are many BIM Execution Plan templates out there for you work from – below are some points of reference for you to start with:
- GSA BIM Execution Plan: https://www.gsa.gov/real-estate/design-construction/3d4d-building-information-modeling/guidelines-for-bim-software/document-guides/bim-execution-plan
- Penn State BIM Execution Plan (very popular): https://www.bim.psu.edu/
- Deploying BIM, Autodesk: https://www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/bim-workbook
- BIM Forum BIM Execution Planning Guide: https://bimforum.org/bxp/
When all is said and done – remember that it will take you and your team time to see a positive ROI in BIM. Like anything – we get better and faster the more we work on a new skill. You will find yourself spending more time upfront – on the design/modeling phase and less (hopefully much less) on the drafting or construction document phase. This frontloading of your BIM projects can make the process seem longer that it actually is (especially if you have BIM Naysayers on our team).
You have made the right decision in making the move to BIM. Over time – your team (all of them) will start to see the main benefits a robust, intelligent model can provide to valuable decision making, improved communication and saving (many) budget dollars. And your team members will have an invaluable new skill to add to their resume (and who doesn’t want that?) Don’t be afraid – the list of successful transitions to BIM is a long one…You’ve got this!