With the concept of BIM gaining momentum throughout the landscaping industry, there is a question we get asked a lot; “Is BIM relevant for everyone?” Speaking to members of the landscaping community, the answer varies but Mike Shilton, chair of the Landscape Institute BIM Working Group in the UK explains the concept of Lonely BIM and how everyone can benefit from even a basic level of BIM implementation.
As a landscape architect that has been working with BIM related objects for over 15 years (yes, BIM is not a new concept!) Mike suggests there are great possibilities to apply some of the techniques and processes even to the smallest of operations. BIM is relevant for all projects where spatial coordination is required and you need to consider the implications of alternative solutions. It can also help identify and avoid potential clashes between elements in the landscape and can provide quantity take-off for more accurate costings.
For a sole practitioner the idea of information sharing may seem unnecessary. Lonely BIM seeks to encourage the idea of sharing with partners, suppliers and stakeholders to reveal the information that they require, releasing the full benefits of a collaborative BIM environment. Working within a BIM environment can enable you to be more productive and open up opportunities to work with larger design teams and new clients. While Lonely BIM does not harness the full power of BIM, for a sole practitioner, or small business, it’s effect can be more immediate and provide a way to stay up to date with a fast paced industry, and the competition.
Is BIM for me?
The most common reason that small companies avoid BIM is the anticipated costs. From initial outlay, to process changes and training needs. However, as a small business working on tight margins, isn’t the idea to improve systems and processes, make changes and develop staff? If you see the benefits of any process that can improve customer engagement, staff retention and the bottom line, would you not invest in it? If so, why would BIM be any different?
Despite what some software vendors would have you believe, BIM is a concept, not a product, and therefore can be as inexpensive as you wish it to be. There is no single software product, or solution that “does BIM” or make you BIM compliant. Yes, software can help streamline data exchange and some of the process but it does not provide the overall solution.
Collaboration is one of the central ideas of BIM, and there are many pieces of software out there that can help you share drawings more easily or design in 2D and 3D. The fact remains that you still need to be able to create the drawings yourself to have the ability to share them with any design partners you may have. Just by adopting a consistent format to deliver your project data, you are already on your way to being BIM compliant. As you see, these are not expensive tasks to accomplish for anyone, including a sole practitioner.
As technology improves, options are emerging that allow you to publish your model securely to the cloud. This will allow you and your client to fly through your 3D landscape and link to videos and other websites that show how to construct or maintain a feature within your proposals. Who knows what new technologies, such as augmented reality, will offer us in the future?
They say BIM is a game changer. I believe it is. But, like all games, you need to start at the beginning, know the end goal, have a path to follow and enjoy the journey.
Why not give us a call and speak to us to discuss how your small business can improve its business proposition by implementing a BIM solution.
T: UK 03451 30 30 40 US 844-430-3040