Practical ‘BIM’ for the SME builder sector

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Joanna Mulgrew, Marketing & Product Development Director, HBXL Building Software outlines how SMEs can embrace BIM… 

BIM has been around for quite some time shaping some of the biggest building and industrial projects in the country. 

Forming part of the government’s Construction Strategy to make the sector more efficient, it is already well established amongst big firms, with the government wanting to move the whole industry over to this way of working within the next few years. 

However, for some SME builders and developers, adapting the way they operate in line with this new way of working might appear a bit beyond their remit. 

For a small building firm, collaboration between the builders, subcontractors, and client is a more simplistic task, as opposed to projects that have hundreds or thousands of personnel. BIM technology may, therefore, be viewed as overkill or unaffordable when considering its merits. 

However HBXL, the construction software specialists, has for many years offered an affordable and practical BIM alternative for house builders, developers, architects, and designers. 

Through its software, the design stage, the estimate, material scheduling, labour scheduling, project management, contractual information and all the health and safety documentation can all be achieved in one process. 

In summary, from the design, all other information flows. 

BIM made easy 

Typically the construction industry would keep all the different functions of a project very separate, and relied on architects and designers to produce 2D plans and elevations. 

The builder or QS would then do a take-off to provide the estimate, followed by the health and safety documentation being produced by a H&S consultant or CDM Coordinator (now Principal Designer). The project gets planned separately, and the materials and labourers or subcontractors are all scheduled by the Site Manager.

Often it can be difficult for the client, designer or even the builder to get the answers they need fast, and on-site problems occur because of miscommunications or a lack of understanding – the result being costly to all parties involved. 

However, HBXL’s software technology allows builders and developers to incorporate BIM-like practices into their own day-to-day schedules. 

Adrian Wild, founder and managing director of HBXL explains: “BIM is all about process management of the data involved in a building project. 

“The reality with building is that there are a lot of pieces of information to manage and doing it without software is hard work and complicated. 

“Using software is a natural step and at HBXL Building Software we have been providing integrated software solutions for many years for SME builders. 

“What we do at HBXL is provide the tools to allow builders and developers to transfer automatically building management information between CAD, estimating, health and safety management, contract and accountancy systems. 

“The result is that many building firms are already doing “BIM” without really knowing it. In many senses, several thousand SMEs are therefore actually ahead of the BIM curve with our existing software suite. 

“Crucially because the systems have been developed by the same software development team, no data is lost between the packages. This is one of the key elements to successful BIM practice. 

“We’ve found that lots of other software providers focus on just one area, for example, developers of just CAD software, estimating or accountancy software. As a result, many products don’t ‘talk’ to each other very well, if at all, and means BIM falls at the first hurdle. 

“Currently, BIM software solutions are beyond the budget and the expertise of many SME builders, but by providing a complete end-to-end BIM toolkit, will increase their ability to tender for public sector projects that require BIM level two capability. 

“Our interconnected software technology – sometimes called proprietary BIM – incorporates all a project’s information into one place giving all the benefits the major players are looking for in a compact, easy to understand and affordable package that’s ideal for builders and property developers.” 

Adrian now hopes HBXL’s software will boost the SME construction sector, enabling businesses to compete for contracts arising from government projects requiring BIM, as well as responding to the many changes in construction health and safety legislation and building regulations. 

He added: “In essence it is one software platform for builders, developers, designers and QSs working either standalone or as part of a connected construction team. Project data can be easily shared across multidisciplinary teams – even if the team is just one person supercharged with an incredibly powerful software tool.” 

For further information visit www.hbxl.co.uk or call 0117 916 7898

 

Joanna Mulgrew

Marketing & Product Development Director

HBXL Building Software

Tel: 0117 916 7898

sales@hbxl.co.uk

www.hbxl.co.uk/cdm2015

www.hbxl.co.uk/principaldesigners

www.twitter.com/HBXL

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