21 August 2018
Outsourcing Now a Better Fit for UK Homebuilders
Whether it’s the home of your dreams or shelter from the elements, the housing industry in the United Kingdom has weathered its share of storms. Amid the inclement climate of Brexit, poor construction, scarcity in housing and accusations against big developers of benefiting through unfair advantages, UK homebuilders now have a ray of hope – outsourcing. Long perceived as an option fraught with risk, outsourcing is being considered with a fresh new view. Attitudes towards outsourcing are changing due to several factors, namely consistent delivery of quality output, competitive rates, growing technical and practical expertise with Western projects and the maturity and development of residential BIM modelling and collaboration technology.
The UK homebuilding sector is currently facing a series of challenges, starting with the effects of Brexit, resulting in inflation, the rate of house construction slowing considerably and buyers reneging on purchases due to job security fears and uncertainty. The slow rate of house construction led to fewer houses being built, and developers were releasing new homes at slower rates than required by home buyers, pushing up prices unfairly. Millions of people in England are reportedly living in inadequate accommodation and need more houses, but the housing market is not equipped for more construction. As a result of Brexit, immigration from the EU has reduced, thus reducing a sizeable number of labourers working in the industry, further slowing the pace of construction.
Other issues faced by the industry include poor construction. More than half of the buyers of new homes from a large UK real estate company reported major drawbacks with their homes. Many new home buyers countrywide complained of poor construction, unfinished fittings and faulty utilities. A government white paper on housing concluded that homebuilding is failing to support families due to the building of expensive, poor quality homes. Government reports also show that approximately 80 percent of working families are unable to afford a new home of average price, leading people to question the current process of building homes. Other issues include the following:
- According to Reuters Foundation, thousands of households could be living in bed and breakfast accommodation within a few years. Critical home shortages are driving people to temporary accommodation as property prices increase faster than wages.
- Further challenges are due to weak mortar, faulty drainage, unfinished fittings and non-compliance with fire safety rules in the construction of homes.
- Residents of new homes have complained of high internal temperatures during summers, leaking windows, windows that don’t open, bulky, inconvenient and faulty developer-provided air conditioning, exposed fuse boxes, live earth wires hanging from sinks, issues with external walls, water leakage on walls and the absence of fire stoppers.
Design and implementation of reliable architectural processes and M&E services seems to be a key area that requires improvement. As far as design, one possible solution to alleviate these challenges faced by UK’s AEC industry is to outsource some of the more technical design services associated with homebuilding within the context of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) process, such as architectural design drafting, freeing up time for other tasks and saving on costs. Construction firms can opt for reliable residential design drawings and other accurate architectural CAD outsourcing services provided by experienced Building Information Modelling companies (BIM services companies) overseas, helping to streamline the construction process and design reliable and effective architectural and M&E services.
It is widely acknowledged that using BIM takes more time compared to traditional 2D drawings. This is because the amount of detail and accuracy in a BIM model is far greater than traditional 2D drawings. As BIM models and drawings are more closely related to what will be built, a better and more complete set of construction documents will be derived using BIM. The compelling decision is therefore to use BIM to improve construction design data, drawings and information so that trades are better equipped with better, more accurate and more detailed drawings than ever before. This eliminates the need for site trades to make assumptions that may lead to errors and workarounds.
How can outsourcing residential drafting services and residential BIM modeling services today benefit the UK homebuilding industry? Long perceived with suspicion, UK firms are increasingly choosing to seek architectural design drafting solutions overseas for a range of reasons.
One of the reasons to outsource these services to countries such as India, for example, has to do with the growing maturity and development of BIM modelling and related technologies in these nations. What do we mean by this sort of maturity? Mature organisations have developed a better understanding of their clients’ business model and its challenges, both inherent and potential. Maturity in business involves working with greater collaboration than before and approaching teamwork with greater transparency and focus on efficient outcomes.
Maturity in this sense is evaluated by certain features, such as:
1. Precise descriptions of services, terms and conditions, pricing and processes involved in BIM solutions for homebuilding
2. Clearly articulated workflow structure and service responsibilities for BIM modelling and other services
3. Monitoring of performance, task completion, improvement and innovation by the outsourced firm
4. Development of reliability and trust, by ensuring that tasks and responsibilities are clearly defined for each team member in the BIM process
BIM services companies in India offer high levels of process maturity because they made an early entry into the market. India is a mature BIM services destination also because of:
- Time Zones – Services can be delivered within a fast turnaround time, because of a convenient time zone difference between the UK and India.
- Language Advantages – India is one of the largest English-speaking nations in the world, plus it has technical resources with advanced skills. Communication with these skilled resources can lead to flawless execution.
- Large Cache of Talent – More than 3 million graduates are reportedly available in India’s annual workforce, many of them in the IT industry, making it a favoured destination for businesses internationally.
- Confidentiality – Strict data security and confidentiality practices make Indian BIM services companies reliable.
Other compelling reasons why outsourcing to India could benefit the UK homebuilding industry include:
A range of BIM services offered by countries, such as India, are, first and foremost, affordable. Once these services are taken care of, homebuilding firms can budget for other requirements, such as labour resources, specialised equipment or state-of-the-art technologies. Recruitment costs are also saved, reducing HR and payroll costs.
Large numbers of technically qualified personnel have years of experience in the field, since Indian outsourcing companies entered the global homebuilding arena early in the game. Many have been involved in extensive homebuilding projects in the United States and others have branched out to the UK, Australia and Canada.
Outsourcing residential design services permits the focus of activities at Western firms to shift to areas of customer satisfaction, thus improving productivity.
Vast pools of skilled and technically qualified team members overseas ensure that BIM modelling and drafting services are completed efficiently and on time. Different people with different skills and levels of experience can be accessed. The level of expertise extends to teams that are regularly updated on global industry best practices, rules and technological innovations. The difficulties in hiring qualified staff for individual projects can be avoided.
Outsourced companies offering residential design services work with the latest software, providing customised project solutions. Indian outsourcing companies typically use Revit software to deliver architectural and M&E services as well as coordination. Navisworks is also widely used for clash detection.
One person can be contacted for all queries, support and collaboration, simplifying the entire process and retaining control at all times. The workflow is clearly defined for all stakeholders in the preparation of Schematic Design (SD), Design Development (DD) and Construction Documentation (CD) sets and other tasks. The project’s scope is analysed, and after tasks are assigned, there are turnaround times set for each member.
Outsourcing can lead to a more expansive range of business experiences and thus insight for future business ideas. The advantages of dealing with different processes, such as BIM residential design services, can contribute to fresh workflow ideas for future projects.
Risks can be efficiently managed by developing suitable BIM processes. With a well-honed quality control and quality assurance process, BIM experts can identify and prevent potential conflicts.
Outsourced BIM services companies are dedicated to understanding their clients’ business needs and work hard to fulfil those needs. They strive to continue a successful business relationship, working towards client goals and may one day become a partner. It is easier to discontinue the services of a resource such as an outsourced firm than an in-house department.
Regular Updates and Feedback
Residential design may and probably does change regularly throughout a project’s lifecycle. Constant and effective communication is effective in maintaining good working relationships, leading to increased productivity, quality of the output and the overall relationship. This communication is effectively managed globally during the BIM process used by many outsourced firms.
As a result of the above advantages, the delivery of BIM services for UK homebuilders through Indian outsourcing companies is fast, reliable and technically advanced. India has been delivering services of high quality and reduced cost for quite some time, now firmly established in the global residential design services outsourcing environment.
Equally relevant for small and large UK homebuilding firms, obvious gains in capital, back-office costs and revenues result from outsourcing. Reduction of risks, streamlined workflows, flexibility and effective processes that cater particularly to the homebuilding industry in the UK are added bonuses.