Factors that impact your decision in choosing right BIM Partner
Focus on getting the right BIM Partner:
BIM Services have become extremely popular these days and is very much in demand. However not everyone is willing to make shift to virtual construction modeling owing to additional investment, training, hiring cost and BIM Implementation process. These costs will actually be over and above all other costs that they are already incurring to keep the business up and running. Hence hiring BIM partners to fulfill your BIM requirement is the best option. As we all know BIM industry is growing and there are plenty of CAD and BIM companies’ worldwide providing extended support to Architectural firms, Construction Companies, MEP consultants and contractors etc.
There are some important factors that need to be kept in mind before you choose your BIM Partner. It is important that the partner you choose is able to fulfill your requirements in a proper manner without any additional effort from your end. There are some evaluation criteria’s that needs to be fulfilled prior to choosing a BIM Modelling company, since a wrong choice made can actually prove to be a major hassle later in terms of your reputation.
Experience and Market positioning: It is important to check the marketing position and the overall experience that the BIM Company possesses in total along with the diversity of projects handled. There are many BIM Engineers who post on multiple website for free-lance jobs, some companies have limited experience in executing large scale or Medium scale projects though they might have great examples on website that are posted.
Inspect what you expect: It is very important to outline your project scope of work and deliverable expectation very candidly to the potential BIM Modelling companies that you are considering. Once they present their strengths, sample work, resource skill sets and track record you can request for a pilot project. Also you can request them to present the source file (BIM Model) of the project image they have provided you. It is favorable to check the BIM Families used the template, standards and many other parameters that they have used. Also it is important to see the overall finesse and accuracy level after comparing the file with the input specification of any project. Such a detailed inspection of the model will give you a very clear picture whether the company is ideal to proceed further.
Ability to provide references: “Word of Mouth” is again an important aspect in Architectural & Engineering companies and Construction Companies. If the BIM Service Company that you are intending to associate is really an experienced one, they will have companies that can give you a reference of their work. If they are reluctant to provide references or are not having one then it is a red flag. You can prepare a reference check format which can be emailed to the client. You can discuss the issues they may have faced with the company and also probe further on the ability to deliver a project in a short turnaround time or in pressure. Also try to understand the strength of a company along with the challenges they may have faced.
Overall BIM Experience helps: It is also preferable that the BIM Service provider is an overall expert in all facets of BIM. It helps a client achieve a quick turnaround time and eases communication hazards. When you have one company expert in only BIM Modelling and BIM Coordination, you may have to look for another company which is expert in 4D or facility management. Transferring data or models from one company to another company again will increase the error index and project management time. It is also difficult to handle multiple companies and will not be profitable association.
Profitability: BIM Service Providers usually offer very low hourly rates for the services, however this certainly does not mean that this can save your overall cost with the help of this hourly rate. Do not select the BIM partner or company based on the low hourly rate. It is imperative to check the stability, the skill set and finally the capability to deliver the project within a quick turnaround time. Also it is important to ensure that your reputation is safe guarded and you do not end up doing lot of changes, mark ups and quality checks to ensure that the project is delivered with high quality. Certainly when you spend a lot of time checking, marking up and monitoring the project there is less profitability.
It is then better to hire your own staff and manage the project. Time is money, hence it is always better to ensure that as a client you choose the best company to work on. Saving overhead cost is one of the primary reasons of choosing an external company as a BIM partner. If you end up doing complete project management with the external partner too, you lose money.
Communication Skills and accessibility: Apart from project execution skills and management abilities it is important that you also have a good accessibility to the BIM Company that you are working with. Accessibility means a full time point of contact or a Project Manager who takes accountability of the projects. They should be available to talk and discuss critical issues, dispatch schedules, updates etc. Having a quick response time to your emails certainly is one of the key strengths you should look for. It makes a great difference in overall project management and helps timely delivery of projects. Also it gives a collaborative approach that makes communication crisp and interesting. Not having a quick response time can impact a project negatively causing lot of stress and unpleasant experience.
English communication is vital if you choose an outsourced BIM Partner. Countries like India have good ratio of English speaking Architects and Engineers however when you choose countries like China, English language can be challenging. With outsourcing BIM companies, time zone overlap can also be advantageous. Countries like India can offer excellent time zone overlaps and can give you a quick turnaround.
Company Strength is the key to a successful project. The company size and resource strength needs to be minimum of 25 to 30 Architects or Engineers. If the company has less technical staff it is very difficult to manage large scale or medium scale project. The BIM partner should be in a position to allocate resources keeping in mind the turnaround time. In case there is a need to add in more resources during the execution the company should be able to do that. Also it is important to have a good number of experienced BIM Architects and Engineers with ample expertise of working on Virtual Construction Modeling projects.
In case of emergencies, unplanned leaves or other issues of the staff, it is always better to have a staff back up that can seamlessly execute the project without any hiccups or errors. It is better to associate with a BIM Service provider with a good established hierarchy, a Project Manager with a mix of Senior and Junior Architects along with some trainees too. Trainees can be useful in executing some simple part of the projects that do not require much of experience.
Conclusion: Finally, when we evaluate a company based on all these criteria’s there are less chances of making a wrong decision. There are many BIM companies available that are willing to act as an extended arm to serve Architectural firms, Construction companies, MEP Contractors etc.
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