8 reasons residential builders are Implementing 3D BIM and VDC software

8 reasons residential builders are Implementing 3D BIM and VDC software

What are the benefits to the residential industry when it comes to Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC)?

  1. Plan interpretation:
  2. waste reduction 30%
  3. collaboration communication: Clients, trades, management, suppliers, engineers
  4. time saving 50%
  5. client interpretation 70%
  6. problem solving at concept stage 50%
  7. estimating from a model
  8. on going maintenance


To date it has been the tier one builders who have actively been pursuing the BIM path, larger companies have the budget and resources to be able to afford the down time, research, training and software costs that can be associated with BIMplimenttaion. It is understandable that the residential industry has not followed in the traditional implementation methods.

So how does a residential builder or designer get involved without taking 9 months off work learning complex software.

Well first it needs to be ascertained if BIM or VDC is the correct path to go down. If and architect or designer has no intention of sharing a model then teh answer is more likely a no. SOm eof the rela benefits of BIM and VDC is the ability for all to understand design intent, structure, product selection. I am a big believer of INtegrated Project deliver as the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Sure there need to be different contracts in place and the industry or the actual participants need to agree on the best path forward ( I will touch on contract is another post) yet the liability to the designer woudl surely be reduced. the best thing about having early interaction with a builder and an engineer is they cna quickly comment form experience or make suggestions that aid the designer in creating a project that is more buildable and as a side effect feasible.

Not all designers and or architects like to have their work comment on at an early stage yet we have to take a pragmatic approach in this instance. Over the 24 years I have been in construction teh #1 reason for a job not to go ahead is wholly and solely comes down to cost. This is not the archietcts faulat, many customers want a palace for the price of the servants quarters that they also cna not afford.  I have seen it time and time again, where the client requested a 5 bedroom 4 bathroom home with cinema , play room, office  and two living areas and they have calculated the cost on a floor place square ratio. The truth is that it is not possible to calculate the price of any dwelling at this rate other than say a deck or a concrete slab on flat ground.

This is where BIM and VDC really start to come into play especially when IPD is the chosen design construction method. From my experience I have been able to tell client on the first day  of design that their requests are not realistic. 9 out of 10 client thank me and reduce the size or complexity of the design and we move forward. 1 out of 10 think that I am too expensive and then go and se another designer or builder for a second opinion. I actually have a client now who though this was the best way forward and cma back some 18 months later after wasting countless monts of builders and esigners time trying to get blood out of a bone.

So what is about BIM , VDc that actullay saves teh cost. It has been sia dthat 1 in every $3 is thrown in the bin and when you look at it in depth you cna quickly see why. Architects and designers ar enot builders or engineers, sur ethy aunderstand the basic principles that are related to logic yet they have no concept of how far a joust will span or hwo par a rafter cna canterlever. I have seen some brilliant deisgns comee across my desl that woudl never in a amillion year fit the clients budget. Howver tehy woudl lokk great on teh architects forn t page of tehir website. ATthe end of teh dya it was simply wa ste of time. So can modern day software allow a uswr to draw and point out areas where money can be saved. The anser mostly yes, I think that teh engineering side is less likely yet quantities, clash detatection and communictaion cater for this down fall 10 times over.  By now most know that I created PlusSpec and yes I hav ebeen testing it real tim enow for over 8 years. I like the ability to know where I am at at concept stage and the ability to go back and make changes when I see the costs strting to encrouch budget. I am fortunate to have the experience of building and problem solving an dseeing where costs blow out. I have  absic understanding of teh capcity of structural ellements and I ususally put in compoenets that I have woudl think woudl b eadeqaute. This is where sharing teh modle is invaluable. Ihave never specified a steel beam with out running it pats teh engineer. Thi sis is a cost saving in itself, teh engineer no longer has to decipher my 2d plans as I simoly steer him or her to teh loctaion of concern. I add in a parmatric beam and ask teh engineer to change the size according to his claculation. If teh beam is too large fr teh earea and is creating a bulkhead I will change mydesign to suit the span of teh beam so to achiev eth desired design out come. Mostly I deisgn to suit materials as I do not like to change hours or day sof design work and 3D software allows me to amke suggestions.  I can not tell  how many times I have come across issues on a plan by drawing teh architects plan in 3D. I woudl have easily saved over 10 million dollars in waste and mistakes.  I beilve that plan interpretation via a 3d model is the number one reason to use VDC BIM and 3d modelling. In sayin that that is not the only way these methids save money. I tell this story regularly as it comes up a lot. Good quality bricklayers are hard to come by, when you find one make sure you look after him. The hardware must be onsite ontime, teh portable toilet must be clean and the quantity of bricks and sand must be correct.  I di hve a bricklayer that I use and look after he is a smart guy and always is nervous when he gets toward the en of a job. He regulalry calls me to ask if there are enough bricks onsite. I can check very quickly using my model and i can cross check the delevery records that are supplied by  teh manuafcturer. many jobs that I have done in the past have had as little as 30 bricks left over. This si is  abig cost saver to any builder, it is a common occurance that builders over order in the efforst to keep jobs running on time an keeping valuable trades happy. The prbelm with over ordering is ususally teh builder pays teh bricklayer acording to the amount of bricks they had delivered and it is not un common to either have to throw the left overs in a skip bin or ven have to pick them up and use them on teh next job. zthe cost of doin this is a 100% dead loss never mind paying the bricklayer for bricks that they did not lay.

SO waste plays a big part in savings yet materila waste is not the prime reason for 1 in 3 waste. Design time aproval time redraw time , plan interpretation time in it self plays a big part. I am not sure if you have had teh displeasure of sifting through a set of plans on large project? I have and I must say it is a real pain in teh arse. Corss referencing plans and ellevetaion and tehn associating them to teh engineers plans is a recipy for disater. It takes an experinced person to do this well. I cnanot sau how much of an advanatge it is to everyone involved to look the through a modle designed with PlsuSPec. being able to turn all o fth pretty parts off in one click and interogating a model is easy. Seeing how rooves work toether and where water will flow is a huge advatage. odering teh correct flashing and guttering form a modle instread of driving to site to measur is another huge saving. Communictaing with clients with having them come to em or me going to tehm save weeks on a job in manhours alone. communictaing with trades via a 3d model is invlauable. time is where we all lose money an dthat time coudl be better spent on new jobs and futire projects.

I talk with many building companies large and small. one in particular had me come to their office and do a demonstrtaion on what PlusSPec does. As I looked up half way through y presentation I coudl se ethat half of teh room were smiling with excitment. I could hear tehir toes wriggling in their shoes with glee, yet the disapointing thing was that teh other hals of teh room were looking with fear in teir eyes, this is not the firts time I have encountered this. So what wa sthe problem? the problem was is that many larger residential construction companuies invest in staff to do all of teh jobs that PlusSPec has just atomated. Estimators look at plusspleec and quickly bury their heads in the sand. It is an understandbale reaction as we all nee dto a job to put food on teh table yetthe fears are not foundered. When henry ford create dthe first constrcution line, did blacksmoths all starve? the answer is no. blacksmiths became mechanics and teh world moved on..  When I finished my talk I always give plenty of time to ask questions, in this case the firts person to pipe up was teh estimator and he did his best to discredit PlusSpec. he was worried about losing his job. the reality is if the company can do things more effieicnty with tless staff they woudl be crazy to put them off instead they shoudl look at taking on more work. Doing more work more efficiently raises profits and goves a competitive edge. In a perfect world this should relay to apy rises for teh workers, is this happening I am sur eit is yet I am yet to get an email thanking me for aiding a pay rise. I will not hold my breath.


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