Joanna Mulgrew, Operations Director for Integro Construction Software, considers how small businesses figure in the BIM environment.
How large does a construction business need to be to use BIM? Is there a rule of thumb that says you should have X number of people to make it work? Is there a scale of project that makes BIM viable?
I’ll respond to these often-asked questions with another question. Do you want to make your building projects more streamlined and efficient from start to finish? All of it – the planning, design, estimating, construction and management? If the answer is yes, then you’re big enough.
Size isn’t everything
OK, larger companies have the benefit of lots of resources, like an IT department and training programmes. But to be honest, if you have the right software and it comes with robust customer support and an affordable subscription model then you don’t need anything else. It really can be that simple and straightforward. In fact there’s a school of thought that smaller firms working on smaller projects have more to gain from BIM than larger firms working on larger projects…
Far-reaching benefits of a BIM approach
We’re too small for the type of projects that specifically require BIM? Public sector work shouldn’t be the domain of larger construction firms alone. And the right software solution can change that. And on the subject of public sector work, whilst government projects and local council jobs DO need to operate using BIM, why shouldn’t every other type of project follow the same process? Every self-funded property development and investor-backed block of apartments, deserve improved efficiency, the sharing of information, lower costs and faster delivery in equal measure. The opportunity to combine the efforts of people, process and technology should be there for everyone.
And that’s really where we come into the small versus large debate. Our sister company HBXL Building Software already leads the UK market for single-purchase software for domestic construction, and Integro Construction Software wanted to take the same award-winning thinking to another level.
Time for a fully-integrated construction software platform
So welcome to BuildingWorks, the new kid on the block. And not just new but unique. It’s a fully-integrated, subscription-based construction software platform for new builds, extensions, conversions and refurbs. No prizes for who this is aimed at!
Our own building experts worked with specialists from the University of the West of England to employ the practical aspects of BIM that promote a disciplined way of working and enable construction firms and property developers, focused on domestic projects, to have access to an easy-to-use holistic process for getting a project completed on time and on budget.
BuildingWorks provides a new way of working. As you draw using simple CAD tools, the estimate builds live on screen and the build program appears dynamically – whilst simultaneously showing you the cost of the materials, the labour involved, rates, energy performance and much more. In other words, a 3D model, a full Bill of Quantities (New Rules of Measurement) and detailed costings as you go.
Thousands of products full of valuable data
There are no imports and exports. It’s all there. You can choose from thousands of products, each one rich in information. Intelligent BIM products of real materials and objects, all priced. You can swap elements in and out and see the impact on cost and performance in an instant. It auto suggests rates too with associated resources which you can also swap in and out.
And cost-wise it’s a highly affordable arrangement, starting at just £30 per month.
A welcome boost for the smaller business
With BuildingWorks we can literally help boost smaller businesses and if you want those public sector projects, fast becoming the preserve of the big boys, well now you can take them on too.
The design and estimate modules, which are in the process of being launched nationwide, have already been trialed to great acclaim. The Health & Safety, Contracts, Project Management and Energy Performance modules will follow later in the year.
No more trying to (unsuccessfully) dovetail management software with disparate estimating software and disparate CAD software. It’s a seamless suite of software.
Ultimately, BIM should not be defined by the number of people on a project team. Nor the size of the project’s budget or square meterage. But, by its potential to help all ambitious businesses grow and succeed.