Alex Wall, Managing Director of WCEC Group Ltd discusses the benefits of BIM for SME’s and provides advice for new adopters.

Within the world of BIM there is a lot of jargon and a lot of discussion about revolutionising the process of design and construction. This in itself leads to anxiety and becomes a barrier to BIM adoption for many SMEs. With the government target of “Level 2 BIM” now less than 18 months away this is further increasing levels of anxiety, confusion and uncertainty.

My message is simple. Don’t panic. Focus on your business needs and how you can benefit from this technology. BIM technologies offer a much more efficient and effective tool to design with. You should adopt BIM technologies to increase your efficiency and give you competitive advantage.

I have repeatedly seen that the effective adoption of BIM software can increase design productivity by between 20 and 40%. I have seen this across multiple sectors and disciplines, at all stages of design and for all sizes of projects. Design information can be produced more quickly and more accurately with associated schedules both linked and automated.

Improved collaboration, coordination, project planning, procurement and cost control can be viewed as secondary benefits together with potential project tender requirements. Focus on your primary goal of design efficiency. The other benefits will follow.

I suggest a 5 point plan for easy cost effective pain free BIM adoption:

  • Start small – get one or two workstations set up and train a small number of staff;
  • On the job training – select and deliver a trial project using BIM;
  • Allow time – your first project will take longer and be less efficient. You get more efficient on every project;
  • Be structured – naming and data entry are important. Adopt industry standards such as the AEC (UK) BIM standards;
  • Get help – employ a consultant to help you learn how to use the software efficiently and understand the standards.

Don’t spend a lot on software and train people who are not ready to use BIM. To be effective, people need to work on real projects and be dedicated to getting the most out of the software. I would also suggest you don’t pay for expensive protocol documents to be written (they are probably only cut and pasted from the industry standards anyway).

The first project will be hard but don’t be put off. Levels of efficiency will continue to increase. Efficiency is derived from having good libraries of design components and comprehensive drawing and schedule templates. These will develop over time.

The potential of this technology is exciting so focus on how it can benefit your business. ■


Alex Wall

Managing Director

WCEC Group Ltd

Tel: 020 3388 0019


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