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How we grew BIM organically

Small firm sees all-round benefits

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Companies need to adopt and develop a BIM strategy that is right for them, says Anthony Harte, director at Staffordshire-based architectural consultant James & Ward.

Our entrance into the world of BIM came in 2008, initially driven by a private sector client, Walmart’s UK subsidiary Asda, stipulating we use Autodesk’s Revit. As a small practice we were more nimble than some larger practices and were able to act swiftly, albeit with some initial teething issues.

BIM is a huge financial commitment, especially for small practices and it’s a large chunk of money to come off your company’s bottom line. We decided the investment should be part of our longer-term business strategy and therefore didn’t add a premium to offset the investment, which is something a lot of other companies tend to do.

This investment has enabled the business to grow organically, increasing our output and expanding our customer base. We make more profit and get a better return on all our projects. One of the clearest advantages of using BIM is that it has enabled us to eradicate inefficiencies within our own practice.

Although more widespread than it was in 2008, BIM is a minefield for firms attempting to get on board today. There’s an abundance of resources, websites, training events and conferences available, all at varying costs. The challenge is knowing which ones provide value for money and credibility.

Based on our experience, it is important to have a clear understanding of the benefits BIM can bring to your practice, and identifying the additional services and opportunities it can open up for business growth will help inform which resources will be of most benefit.

The explosion of standards produced over the last few years must be incredibly complex for those entering into the journey as the industry shifts to a digital environment, and keeping up with the changes is a task in itself. Just make sure that you see the benefits within your own business, and if you have to charge more just for carrying out the same services in BIM ask yourself why you’ve not found the benefits internally. After all, there will be somebody waiting to value engineer that additional cost out without realising the benefits it brings.

James and Ward is currently supporting Asda with its BIM strategy. This large private sector client is a completely different scale to our company and as such is approaching BIM adoption in its own way. The key, no matter what your scale, is to adopt a BIM strategy that is appropriate for the needs of your business.

Anthony Harte will be expanding on these themes during his presentation at BIM Show Live 2017, which takes place on the 1 and 2 February in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

This investment has enabled the business to grow organically, increasing our output and expanding our customer base. One of the clearest advantages of using BIM is that it has enabled us to eradicate inefficiencies within our own practice.– Anthony Harte, James & Ward