Know your BIM: Key elements of a good BIM outsourcing
So, we’ve already gone over the challenges that the precast concrete industry faces and what the BIM methodology can do to help: from faster turnaround times and total control over every aspect of the project through the use of a virtual model, to staying on budget and on schedule. All of this using a streamlined design process that ensures any clashes between elements are caught early on and corrected in due time, before costly workarounds are needed.
Every designer and manufacturer’s dream, right? In this article, we’ll cover the basics of the type of solid BIM workflow you should demand from your service provider.
Why outsource BIM services
Thinking about adopting an in-house team of BIM specialists along with the necessary technological venture would be unthinkable for most companies—they should rather be focusing on refining their designs or improving manufacturing quality. Plus, it takes quite a lot to master the methodology. Its learning curve implies a major investment in terms of time, energy and money to get a good grasp of the theoretical aspects, becoming proficient in the software, and smoothing out the rough edges for a fluent interaction with the client.
Over the years, we have defined a series of steps that allow us to see our projects through to completion with a high degree of success.
The BIM workflow @ Biminglabs
1. Defining the standards
When a client comes to us, we ask them about any standards used so we can adopt them in our project. It is very important that we go over this before starting work—failure to do so may lead to errors and rework. Some of the standards relate to the type of information they receive from other vendors and the formats they use, so can be best prepared to handle them.
Many precast concrete companies buy off-the-shelf elements because it is faster and cheaper than having them custom-made. It is important that we know which manufacturers they work with ahead of time, and of any elements or accessories to be embedded within the concrete, so we can plan accordingly.
2. Gathering information [CG1]
The next step in the process is asking the client for all the digital information they have. We need to be able to go over any available files so we can study the characteristics of the building or components we’ll be dealing with. CAD files (either 2D or 3D) will give us a good grasp of the geometry, context and interactions—the big picture. Files with the IFC extension establish the standards for importing and exporting building objects along with their properties, allowing us to exchange information, while PDF files offer other contextual information, as they are usually accompanied by texts, schemes and images.
3. Establishing a schedule [CG2]
After studying the available files, and once we have scoped out the project, we agree on a timeline. We need to be on the same page with the client regarding the schedule and deliverables so we know what to expect from one another. The submission comprises three consecutive stages:
- Preliminary: We model the geometry and coordinate with the various disciplines that come together in the project. Through a back-and-forth of RFIs (Requests for Information), we ask the client the necessary questions that allow us to move forward. This phase usually ends with the Preliminary General Arrangement—a key stage in the process that implies a high degree of coordination with all the parties involved. After feedback from the client (the precast company), we can see if any changes are needed or if they give us the green light to move onto the next stage.
- Issued for Approval (IFA): Once all RFIs are resolved and all the information has been successfully exchanged, we send the client the entire project for approval.
- Issued for Construction (IFC): After incorporating the comments from the IFA stage, we send out shop drawings in order to begin construction.
Biminglabs has acquired expert status in the BIM methodology through countless commissions in Australia, the US and Canada. Our team of architects and engineers are passionate about details and continually strive to obtain faster and more efficient results. Our methodology is effective and fail-proof, but it is essential that all the steps above are followed in order to ensure that we can provide the best possible service—one that is specifically tailored to your needs. An effective and fluent interaction with all the parties involved in the project is critical, so we strive to establish successful communication practices from the very beginning. Reach out to us with any questions regarding our time-tested methodology, our past experiences, and how we can best serve your current needs.