Small Business Owners – How BIM Can Give you the Edge over Competitors

Small Business Owners – How BIM Can Give you the Edge over Competitors

03rd June 2016

BIM (Building Information Modelling) is a way to create value through collaboration throughout the lifecycle of an asset via the exchange of shared 3D models with structured data attached.  BIM is actually a way of working in a team environment in order to provide all team members with a way of making informed decisions that lead to better outcomes for everybody involved.  We’ve already taken a look at BIM which became mandatory for all public sector construction projects over £5 million since last month. 

However, according to industry experts there is a real fear that by making BIM compulsory the government has created a technological divide within the industry which will result in smaller construction companies missing out on the benefits to be derived from computer modelling. 

Traditionally, the construction industry has been a late adopter of new technologies and this is also the case when it comes to 3D modelling which has been used by the automotive and aerospace industries for more than 20 years.    

Because BIM is not yet a mandatory requirement on smaller level projects (although it is voluntary), smaller companies have been understandably slow to adopt the new technology.  After all, change can be challenging so avoiding the use of new technology and the investment in training and equipment that will be necessary for its adoption could seem as if it’s just not worth the hassle.  This is a pretty short sighted point of view, however.  The smaller companies that take the time and trouble to adopt BIM and train staff in using the new technology are the ones that will be at the cutting edge and enjoy an advantage over their competitors in the future. 

There’s no way of holding back progress and there will come a time when BIM is a requirement on all projects.  The smaller companies that adopt BIM now are the ones that will survive in the future while others that haven’t had the foresight to do so will be left behind when it comes to tendering for projects, large or small.  Here in the UK SMEs make up 99% of all businesses but figures show that a massive 62% of smaller construction companies don’t think that BIM is the future of project information. 

There are changes involved with adopting BIM and the process will require a certain amount of planning and capital outlay.  However, there are schemes available that are specifically targeted at small businesses that will enable them to get up to speed with using BIM in a simple and cost-effective manner.  There are software packages available to cater to the needs of smaller construction companies and most of these offer ongoing support once the product has been purchased. 

While there is currently no pressure for smaller construction companies to adopt BIM technology, there are significant benefits to be enjoyed by those that do so.  Securing work is the major benefit as BIM will enable you to enter a proposal for a job with the added attraction of being able to show the prospective client what the end product will look like.  The fact that you will be able to easily coordinate with the client and update everybody involved in the project will add value that could mean the difference between winning and losing a tender for work.