3 Ways to Raise your BIM-iQ

What are the three key ingredients for success in starting your company’s digital transformation journey? Digital transformation isn’t a technology by itself; it’s a business strategy that combines technology (what is being done to perform the work), processes (how things are done) and people (company culture, skillsets) to be successful.

Let’s discuss how these three pillars can raise your BIM-iQ as it relates to True 5D BIM.

First, we need to ask, what is 5D BIM? How is it used in the construction industry? 5D is a multi-dimensional way of showing the physical and functional aspects of any project. 5D adds the element of cost to the already existing time management and common data environment components of information sharing in construction.

When performed correctly, 5D BIM can optimize a project and impact schedule and cost and ultimately save margins. However, most solutions today are not purpose built for 5D and instead are a collection of data and products that only give a snapshot of scheduling and cost, ultimately a misrepresentation of reality.

TRUE 5D BIM: How it will Help the Construction Industry
According to a McKinsey & Company study, 75% of companies that have started using 5D BIM have found a positive return on investment. True 5D maintains model fidelity and integrity which enables more people to be involved in the conversation from the onset instead of working in isolation, waiting to provide information about their piece.

Technology allows automation of quantities to be processed quicker, provides more accurate data and allows the estimator to explore new ways of providing efficient designs, performance and costs.
• This contrasts most 5D workflows and Processes today that are laden with data translation, outdated information and a lack of real-time estimation.
• True 5D BIM aids in all aspects of the construction industry, but the People who get the most benefit of this extra dimension are the project managers and estimators. They are in a unique position to drive greater project integrity by providing true insights into the project scheduling and cost.

More owners are looking to achieve this level of delivery from their general contractors because of its benefits, and it’s simply just smart business. So, it follows that many projects that are using a “traditional” 5D BIM workflow are typically a conglomerate of model-based data, estimating spreadsheets and field updates (blueprints) taken at intermittent times during a project lifecycle.

Research undertaken by Cisco Systems and Momentum Research Group looked at the order in which IT investments were made. The research focused on the differences between internal improvement projects centered on the implementation of specific software first – before adjusting internal business processes – compared to changing internal business process first, before implementing new software applications.

The research concluded that the order of implementation had a significant impact on overall cost efficiencies. For those organizations who changed the business processes before introducing new applications or technologies, the final project results yielded an average cost savings of 20 to 30%. For those organizations that implemented new software technology before updating established business processes, their costs increased an average of 6 to 9%.

The research also concluded that by focusing the organization to change its business processes first, the net result actually improved the way the organization operated, was more quickly ‘institutionalized’ within the business and actually achieved a successful implementation outcome before the introduction and rollout of new applications to projects.

In contrast, implementing new software first imposed significant pressure within the organization. In many cases, the business process change was lost or required additional work process and workarounds to be introduced because newly implemented applications hadn’t been fully adopted by users and assimilated within the organization.

Applying these three pillars of BIM to your organization will provide a path to pursue your digital transformation journey. Technology by itself will not improve BIM outcomes, although it is a driving factor combined with the other two pillars. Organizations have to change their processes to adopt BIM workflows for successful adoption.

A culture shift must occur so that people will adopt and implement BIM to drive the digital transformation. These positive changes allow companies to “lean out” their underlying business processes to eliminate the non-value-add steps, thus making it easier to drive change.

Contact Hexagon today to learn more about our BIM-iQ Assessment to measure where you are in your digital transformation journey. Look for our next BIM-iQ blog topic where we will talk about “The Biggest Issue Affecting Your BIM-iQ.”


Brian Moura
Brian is an experienced corporate marketing, sales, consulting services and engineering professional with more than 39 years working with engineering systems supporting the AEC industry. He has worked on design teams for wastewater treatment, petrochemical, fossil fuel and nuclear power plant, product design and manufacturing facilities, utilities, biotech, pharmaceutical and government lab facilities and the transportation industry. He is degreed in computer aided drafting and design, graduating Suma Cum Laude from Johnson and Wales University and is also certified in mechanical engineering technology, graduating Suma Cum Laude from Sawyer School. He has served on a variety of software advisory boards such as AGC BIM Forum and ASHRAE TC1.5.

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