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21 September 2020
Ganesh Naikar

What Kind of Workflow Results When MEP BIM Services Are Outsourced?

It’s almost like diving into the unknown – except, it doesn’t have to be. When a Building Information Modelling (BIM) manager has to make the decision to outsource the BIM MEP services of his/her project, there may be several questions on the mind, but with just a little research, it is possible to make a safe, reliable and profitable choice on MEP outsourcing services. One of the foremost questions that may occur is how the workflow will translate while working with an offshore firm. Will there be communication challenges, time zone dilemmas, software issues, work-sharing options and can an offshore company be fully knowledgeable about local standards and codes?

The good thing about outsourcing MEP BIM services is that offshore companies using this technology can provide reliable solutions with flexibility. Contracts and solutions can be flexible, and the nature of outsourcing MEP BIM services provides a great degree of accessibility. There are several advantages with offshoring MEP BIM services, one of them being increased workflow flexibility.

Trusted offshore companies do not compromise on quality, either with their staff or with their services. Because of this trait, they are able to deliver a range of BIM solutions.

New technologies and innovative business ideas together with internet technology provide great opportunities for MEP BIM services and connectivity between firms and service providers in different countries. Offshore companies must stay updated with the latest technological advances, though, while they deliver high quality services.

There can be certain challenges while outsourcing MEP BIM services to offshore companies. A fundamental and common challenge is that of communication. For American and native English speakers from around the Western world, communicating with non-native English speakers can be awkward and confusing, arising from differences in syntax and pronunciation. Many times, vastly different accents add to the confusion, and non-native English speakers communicate with the sentence structure of their own language. Misunderstandings result due to this and because non-native English speakers are unfamiliar with the slang of Western natives.

How can communication be improved?

Well, in a word, process. Clear process is the key to successful communication. They can involve:

  • Regular meetings (daily or weekly) If members of both firms’ teams can meet daily or every week, it can go a long way in resolving communication hurdles, as each member becomes increasingly familiar with other team members and behaviour gradually becomes aligned.
  • A reliable online project management tool Such a tool can monitor and report bugs, tasks and queries. Establishing clear guidelines for the use of the online system can help create a routine and thus simplify communication.
  • Developing requirements To deliver required documents, a set of clear guidelines are needed. Any misunderstandings that crop up can be added to the guidelines.
  • Having a local presence If the offshore firm has a local presence, communication of ideas, concerns, questions and modifications becomes direct and the lingo is easy to recognise.

In addition to speaking with the offshore team regarding updates and software, it would be profitable to get to know the team members, so that ideas, goals and common interests can be discussed and desired project outcomes can be easily conveyed through video conferencing, chat or email.

Another point of concern in offshoring MEP BIM services is the time zone challenge, especially if the offshore destination is many miles away and thus in a different time zone. Different time zones could affect meetings, time management and work schedules due to different national and social holidays and communication.

Though different time zones may result in a few challenges, it may also present certain advantages, such as increased productivity.

  • A team that coordinates and works efficiently across time zones increases productivity.
  • The offshore team’s different time zone may help meet deadlines, as they may be working when those in other time zones are sleeping.
  • Western firms can spend more time creating, planning and managing new ideas, while MEP BIM services are being delivered by offshore teams.

Of course, for a streamlined workflow, it is important to treat the offshore team as an extension of the original team.

That brings up the question of work-sharing options. Cloud computing has been a boon for many businesses. Both MEP BIM consultants and other project stakeholders benefit from sharing and generating their work on the same platform. As the BIM environment by its nature involves extensive work-sharing opportunities, project workflows, especially dealing with the design and coordination of mechanical, electrical, fire and plumbing systems, can follow a seamless process, making life easier for all concerned, saving time and saving costs.

The BIM 360 Design tool facilitates workflows with Revit cloud work-sharing. Why is it preferred? Users can:

  • Upload Revit models to work on them simultaneously with other stakeholders
  • Save ongoing work in conjunction with others and allowing said work to be accessed by other users
  • Publish the entire model to BIM 360 platforms so that others can view, search for and collaborate on specific details of the model or choose sheets and views from the model to select, organise and share or consult

Similar to the processes in place for workflows, communication, managing time zones and work-sharing, an equally important process to be set in place for outsourcing MEP design services involves the offshore team familiarising itself with the local standards and codes of the region where the construction will eventually take place.

When a reliable, trusted and professional offshore firm sets out to deliver MEP or M&E design engineering services, the workflow will be streamlined and of high quality. Those firms with experience and expertise in delivering MEP BIM services and building services coordination at affordable rates can do so while maintaining local standards for global clients.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing MEP services, building services coordination and M&E (MEP) design engineering support for global building engineering firms. Our range of services for MEP consultants and contractors include MEP design, MEP drafting, MEP BIM modelling and MEP coordination.