5 November 2020
Key Traits of an Effective Architectural BIM Support Partnership
The movement has begun, and it looks unstoppable. Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology is here to stay, and there is a growing need for reliable residential BIM services as well as other BIM deliverables globally. There are a number of companies that provide services to enable BIM in residential construction, retail construction and commercial construction. Deliberation, research and face-to-face meetings must be part of the selections process for the right partner.
In the building design and construction industry, construction documentation forms an important phase between architectural drafting, design development and on-site construction administration. In scenarios where architectural practices decide to transition to object-oriented BIM modelling or there is a need to turn around more projects than can be executed by the internal team, firms decide to look for experienced architectural BIM services and modelling or Revit 3D modelling support partners. Whilst such collaboration models provide cost-effective and high-quality access to CAD and BIM expertise, issues can crop up if your support partner does not have appropriate processes and quality standards in place. As a result, to make the BIM outsourcing engagement work successfully for your architectural practice, there is a need to ensure that certain requirements are met.
Several offshore companies can offer construction firms a slew of BIM services. Identifying the best BIM services provider can be tricky.
With the potential to sustainably impact the building industry, BIM technology can be used by project owners, architects, engineers, contractors and other stakeholders in the residential, healthcare or commercial industries.
Some of the challenges that the adoption of BIM processes present are:
- Considerable investment in expensive software
- Shortage of trained and skilled BIM resources
- Modifications in infrastructure to support BIM technology
An effective way of dealing with these challenges is to invest in offshore BIM support services. This step needs to be taken with in-depth research to determine the credentials and competency levels of a BIM partner, so as to prevent losses in time, energy and costs later on. Factors to consider include the following:
A BIM company’s driving force is the skill of it human resources. Verify that the BIM architects and engineers have the requisite credentials. Meetings with company personnel can help determine their technical expertise, skills, knowledge, strengths and experience. The focus should be on quality and speed
Dedicated Point of Contact
A project manager serves as an integral link between a firm and its outsourcing partner. He/she liaises with the architectural firm’s representative (typically, the project’s chief architect or the design head) to gather and analyse in detail the project’s requirements, construction specifications, and CAD/BIM standards followed.
When checking the company’s credentials and portfolios, firms must look for years of stability, experience and project scope. The offshore firm must be able to substantiate its claims with experience that is well documented. Past projects on websites can be studied to see how successfully they were delivered, and a pilot project can be requested with clearly defined requirements. Firms can even check BIM families, standards and parameters that were used in the past.
Defined Project Flow
After a comprehensive needs’ analysis by the project manager, a clear process should be in place to break down the client’s 3D architectural modelling and construction documentation requirements into a tangible project scope. The scope then dictates the roles/responsibilities and the turnaround schedules of each of the senior team members, including team leader, senior BIM technicians, senior CAD technicians, BIM coordinators and draftsmen.
Production Planning Roadmap
Depending on the resources at hand, the project manager along with team leader should map out a timeline for documentation delivery. Traditional CAD-based processes necessitate clear guidelines pertaining to drawing scales, dimensions, symbols, targets, annotations and abbreviations. Modern BIM-enabled workflows also require establishment of protocols and standards for master model work-sharing, data exchange, library creation and model coordination.
Multi-tier Quality Checks
Rigorous quality check protocols are an integral part of delivering accurate standards-compliant architectural BIM modelling and construction documentation support to architectural practices. The first-tier entails draftsmen involved to cross-review their peers’ work followed by an inspection by the team leader on local models. The final tier of quality check phase requires the project manager to review the master model in detail. Once the central master model gets a go-ahead from the project manager, it is used to extract construction documents. Finally, the construction documents are reviewed to check whether they fulfil the construction specifications set by the client.
The success of an outsourcing partnership will also depend on the associate firm’s ability to hold regular update and doubt-solving virtual sessions. Focused meetings ensure that both the client and the outsourcing team are on the same page on the project’s progress. The outsourcing company should be using a project methodology that aligns with both the firm and industry standards.
Costs must reflect effort and quality, as BIM services require technically qualified labour that is dedicated and consistent. It’s important not to be lured by low costs alone. It is entirely possible for companies to deliver services that are delayed and of low quality while promising a lower cost.
The latest technology in terms of software and infrastructure is mandatory. An offshore BIM services support partner must be up to date with the latest technological advances and delivers high-quality services consistently.
Check and corroborate any claims with references, such as past and ongoing project partners. How the company functions, executes projects and whether they deliver on time and with consistent quality on time can be determined. It is possible to gauge the company’s strengths and any potential challenges that working with the company may present.
A BIM outsourcing partner must offer quality, deliveries, processes and collaboration that align with what the firm needs for BIM in residential construction or any other type of construction. Expectations, scope, schedules and deliverables must be defined in detail and early on, and it is imperative to ensure that the outsourcing BIM support services partner is well versed with the latest technology and software tools. As long as these boxes are satisfactorily ticked, the search for a reliable and experienced partner, who delivers residential BIM services on time, within budget and of consistently high quality, is over.
XS CAD has valuable experience providing residential BIM services and drawings for global housing firms. Our range of services for architectural firms, engineering firms, consultants and contractors across the world, include architectural design and drafting, architectural modelling, 3D rendering and walk-throughs. We create these models and drawings by using Revit, AutoCAD, ArchiCAD and BIM 360 Design for cloud collaboration.