Large national and international architecture design studios routinely use BIM tools in their mega projects. However, even small architecture firms stand to gain a lot by using BIM in their design processes for projects of any size.
Autodesk Australia lists out six of the top benefits of BIM for small businesses and how it can help them at nearly every stage from starting a project and better managing it to looking for the next one.
1. Gain the Client’s Trust.
Gaining the trust of clients is a critical step in building and maintaining any business. A strong relationship based on trust can lead to repeat business, confidence in the firm’s advice, patience when challenges arise, and new client referrals. BIM can help small firms build this trust by showing in realistic 3D exactly how the project will turn out and ensuring everyone is on the same page about project goals, changes and progress.
Lionel Scharly of Scharly Designer Studio explains that BIM ensures the client has all the information about the project at any point; better understanding of the project by the client will only increase the trust they have in the firm. Additionally, BIM tools are ideal for communicating information about the project to clients who may not have a background in architecture or an understanding of 2D blueprints.
2. Getting to Yes.
BIM’s visualisations and renderings help convey the designer’s ideas to the client and offer an excellent tool for getting a positive reaction. According to Geoffrey Tears of Mohle Design, being able to walk into a meeting with 3D renderings and walk-throughs rather than 2D drawings and space plans changes the way they’re perceived by the client for the better.
3. Project Planning Accuracy.
The model will help the designer get a more nuanced understanding of the work ahead, allowing them to budget accordingly and make sure all project costs are as predicted. Tears explains that one of the major advantages of BIM is its ability to calculate and schedule key items within the design, which helps when accounting for cost/budgeting and design factors, such as area calculations and occupancy loads.
4. Work More Efficiently.
A BIM tool dramatically increases the efficiency of multi-tasking small firms by preventing rework. Since BIM automatically updates the entire model whenever a design change occurs, rework is significantly reduced, increasing overall efficiency.
5. Go Mobile.
Architects and designers constantly need to move between the client site and their office. Instead of worrying about whether the construction drawings were carried to the site, they can use the BIM with the cloud to get seamless access to the model and latest project details from anywhere, on any device.
According to Scharly, with a cloud-based platform such as Autodesk A360, all his project details are accessible from his iPad, and he can also make corrections and annotations from the job site if required. Getting everyone on board with the new plan and changes goes a long way to building trust with the client, he added.
6. Market Yourself More Effectively.
The ability to create powerful visualisations with BIM will very likely assist the firm land the next project.
In Scharly’s case, he posted samples of his work on Houzz.com, an online community for home remodelling and design that brings homeowners and home professionals together. A developer viewed his profile on Houzz and contacted him directly through the website to ask him to be a part of a $2 million contract for a luxury home in Florida.
That’s the power of visualisation.
Image courtesy of Geoffrey Tears