BIM offers a solution following the crisis, for medium-sized engineering firms as well

BIM (which is the abbreviation for Building Information Modelling) is a working method which enables all the parties involved to work together on a construction project. Although this sounds obvious, this improvement in efficiency was, for a long time, unachievable for medium-sized engineering firms. The reason for this is that a significant investment is required before the method can be used and this led to a situation in which only large companies could afford it. The fact that medium-sized engineering firms are now also embracing BIM is a sign that the crisis is behind us. The entire sector is healthier again and that is an important change in the professional field because more and more clients are demanding that their projects are carried out in BIM. So this is good news! What are the benefits of the method? What exactly does the integral cooperation look like? And what does this mean for the future prospects of engineers?

The fact that medium-sized companies now also have the capacity to work with BIM is a positive sign. During the crisis training a BIM engineer and purchasing the software was still too big a step, despite the tremendous benefits. In addition to the financial hurdle, the conservative mentality also caused problems. The building sector is by nature fairly traditional. People did not see the added value of carrying out projects in BIM compared to the traditional CAD (Computer-Aided Design) method and, at the time, there were little to no enquiries which stipulated that participation would only be possible if BIM was used.

Integral cooperation
Integral cooperation allows everybody to see the status of a design. The time of developing separate elements and having them go through checking processes has passed. What is more, everything that is modelled virtually is also actually producible. That was not the case in the past. Back then you often only discovered during implementation that a line on a piece of paper did not appear to work in practice. Nowadays you can simultaneously design, extrapolate, analyse fire safety, make an interior design and identify the material costs all at the same time. That saves a great deal of time and money.


The benefits for clients, fitters and engineersr
Because the model is accessible to everyone, the situation has improved substantially for clients, fitters and even engineers.
The greatest benefit of this approach is that the failure costs can be drastically reduced. Although that is often referred to as the most important benefit, a second benefit is that parties no longer have to wait for each other. This means that calculations can be made directly and that the schedule and budget can also be immediately linked to the project.
As far as the client is concerned, the reduction in failure costs and the quality of construction are the priority. The fact that what has been drawn is producible means that fewer things go wrong during construction. The failure costs are a crucial reason to start working with BIM for fitters as well. After all, the fitters are usually the ones that have to pay these costs and that diminishes their net profit.
The focus of modelling specialists is on the professional challenge. It is more fun to work in a 3D environment than in a two-dimensional one. Engineers themselves are enthusiastic about this and it also causes their clients to respond more positively to the work being done.

The future prospects for engineers
What does this change in the sector mean for designers? Not every CAD designer is a good BIM engineer. Being able to think in a third dimension requires a higher level of knowledge and organisations therefore have to upskill the right people or recruit specialists. The change in the professional field is therefore good news particularly for engineers who want to specialise in the BIM method. The work being offered is much more attractive for young engineers, modelling specialists and designers due to it being in 3D. What is more, building work is hugely behind schedule in the Netherlands and that means that there is enough work to be done. Besides new construction projects, we also have transformation processes and old buildings which are going to be dismantled and reconstructed. Due to the shortage of properly trained technical staff, the future is pretty bright for BIM engineers.

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