Jigsaw Solutions

What Does BIM Mean To You – “Follow The Leader” (Part 2 of 3)

BIM - Follow the leader

The Reaction

I’ll see if I can opt out of the BIM Coordination or just hire the General Contractor to handle it for me

This is the response from some contractors that want to participate and bid on large projects.  Typically the General Contractor on large projects and complicated renovations will require BIM Coordination to be performed by all sub-contractors.  Contractors that do not have this capability in-house or have a partner they can team with to provide BIM Coordination will often decide one of two things:

  1. Hire the General Contractor to handle BIM Coordination on their behalf
  2. Opt out of the coordination

The Reasoning

Contractors with this perspective typically view BIM Coordination as a necessary evil in order to participate in these large projects.  To this contractor, BIM Coordination is just another “hoop” that the General Contractor is requiring them to jump through.  There are some things to be mindful of when choosing to handle this requirement in the two ways listed above that the “Follow The Leader” contractor chooses.

  1. Hiring the General Contractor to handle BIM Coordination on your behalf
    The General Contractor has realized the benefit of BIM Coordination, which is why they insist on participation by all the trade contractors – even if they are coordinating for you.  The danger is, the General Contractor’s BIM Coordination Lead has their own agenda.  Their priority is delivering a “clash-free” model on schedule.  If they are responsible for modeling and coordinating your trade (HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Protection, etc) in addition to the work under the General Trades, where do you think you rank in the priority list?  Most likely the priorities go like this:  Project schedule, then General Trades, then the trades that are participating in the BIM Coordination every week, then YOU.  This is no fault of theirs.  You’ve chosen to take the back seat by not fully participating in the coordination effort.  The results will be a set of install drawings with routings of your trade that are not in-line with your company’s best practices.  Also, typically not with an efficient and cost-effective design in mind.
  2. Opt out of the coordination
    This is even a worse option.  If the contractor allows you to opt out of the coordination effort, think of what you are missing out on… Think of the conversation around the table about your trade throughout the weeks/months of coordination the other trades will be participating in.  Typically, you will be required to agree that you will work around in the field what the other trades have previously coordinated.  What response do you think you will receive from the General Contractor and other trades when you come to them with problems in the field following the coordination effort you chose not to participate in?

From these two scenarios, you no doubt recognize that neither of these options are in the best interest of the project, the client, or your bottom line as the trade contractor.

The Solution

The challenge for the “Follow The Leader” contractor is, how can I participate in the BIM Coordination effort?  The cost of hiring people, purchasing equipment, and the cost associated with software licensing and training can be intimidating to tackle this challenge.  At least on some pilot projects, team with a BIM Coordination partner.  Someone who has the required experience, reputation, hardware and software to sit at the table representing your trade with your best interest at heart.  The cost would most likely be less expensive than hiring the General Contractor to handle the coordination for you.  Partnering with a BIM Coordination Team (like Jigsaw Solutions) creates a team member working with you to achieve installation drawings with your trade’s benefit in mind.

Other posts in this series:
Introduction  |  Part 1 of 3 |  Part 3 of 3

You might find these blogs beneficial in choosing a good BIM Coordinator to partner with:
BIM Outsourcing helps…  |  Be A Team Player  |  Who Should Represent You…