You only have to mention the term “BIM” to a building product manufacturer and you will be certain to elicit a response. That’s the great thing about them; they keep up with what’s going on. The responses however will differ quite substantially.
For some, this is the opportunity they have been looking for to differentiate their offer, for others it’s just another distraction from what they want to be doing. Still others see it as a necessary evil or an avoidable fad which will have its day just like so many others before it.
So the main question is, How do we decide which is the right response? And then, having decided that, the other questions come in thick and fast:
- What does it all mean?
- What level of resource will it take?
- When is the right time to make the move?
- What do we need to produce?
- Aren’t we in the VHS-Betamax situation?
- Why isn’t there a consensus on what Specifiers and Contractors want?
That’s another thing about Building Product Manufacturers, they ask great questions!
That is where the BIM4M2 education working group comes in. It is a group of manufacturers and consultants who are honestly trying to wrestle with these questions. We have some great discussions, sometimes heated, because we don’t always agree!!
We have given ourselves the task of answering three basic questions:
- Is BIM right for us?
- How do we learn more?
- What should we do about it?
On the back of these questions at BIM4M2 we are in the process of launching some tools which manufacturers can use to get on the journey.
The first tool addresses the most basic question – Do we need to respond to the BIM challenge? This is an evidence based tool and looks at a number of areas to work out the likelihood of a manufacturer needing to respond. These areas include:
- Level of business in different Market Segments
- The type of product which is manufactured
- The route to market that is pursued
- The level of requests for BIM content
In all there are eight areas and the manufacturer is encouraged to use this tool as part of a workshop which allows for a consensus to be developed. The tool provides a “likelihood of need to respond” score and also evidence based response notes for each of the areas. This has proved very useful to provide direction and also to gain initial buy-in from board members who may not yet have grounding in the BIM arena. The tool also asks if the manufacturer would like to gain an insight into the financial risks of not responding to BIM. This risk is based on actual turnover and also the answers to the eight questions. The results pick up on survey data to provide a phased level of risk over a five year period. Much of the evidence based data is from the BIM Adoption Survey of Manufacturers carried out during the second half of 2014 by the BIM4M2 Promotions working group. The tool will be launched in March and will be available from the BIM4M2 website.
The other two tools are being worked on. There is one which will allow the manufacturer who wants to learn more to find resources which will help. One of the things we hear most from manufacturers is that they feel many of the BIM providers are speaking from a place of self-interest and so we will make sure that these resources will have been checked for accuracy and independence.
The other main tool will be an outline for how to put together an implementation plan for BIM development. This will include sections on Business Planning, Implementation and Review processes.
The aim of these tools will be to educate, inform and encourage action. In short to put manufacturers back in the driving seat as they look at how they should respond to the BIM challenge.
Howitt Consulting offer Training, Development and Consultancy to Building, Mechanical and Electrical Manufacturers
BIM4M2 has a vision – For the UK construction product manufacturing sector to be recognised as a world leader in the integration of BIM and manufacturing technologies to supply the products and solutions for a sustainable built environment.