In the 21st century where subletting and outsourcing has become common, the winds of change have hit the AEC industry too. In a recent study on BIM subletting, it was seen that 45% of the general contractors in the US reported outsourcing BIM to some degree to companies located in the US (74.7%), India (22.1%) and the Philippines (2.6%), signifying that outsourcing has become an important aspect of modern-day BIM usage.
Though the traditional rationale for outsourcing, which is based on economies of scale and scope for the immediate financial benefit to the company having its tasks outsourced is applicable in BIM subletting, there is more to it.
The reasons for subletting varies with each GC and it cannot solely be attributed to their BIM capability rather scalability of resources, time constraints and availability of the most advanced technology too become a decisive factor.
Subletting – A hot topic and a controversy
Though in the majority of the cases subletting has been found fruitful there have also been instances where subletting has become futile causing heavy monetary losses to the stakeholders involved in a project. Which really is a paradox and something that requires immediate attention to. BIM subletting being a relatively new kid on the block, there hasn’t been much research as to why BIM subletting is turning out to be futile for some. Taking a closer look to the same brings about some interesting inferences which undoubtedly speaks about BIM subletting being an art the vendor and the client have to master in. Before we go deep into the art of subletting and the best practices in BIM subletting, let’s have a look into the reasons why companies hold themselves back from subletting BIM.
The disinclination towards BIM Subletting – 5 Reasons
Though BIM subletting has gained momentum in the AEC industry, there are still firms who are reluctant towards subletting their BIM requirements. The most commonly cited reasons for this are
I. Concern about the quality of work
II. Communication gap
III. Lack of ability to manage project
IV. Poor contract management
V. Difficulty in finding the right BIM partner
The Bigger Picture of BIM Subletting
“It is quite surprising for me to see that cost savings still remain the decisive factor in BIM subletting. What unnerves me, is the way cost savings from BIM subletting is perceived to be. You need to see the benefits of BIM subletting in a larger picture, only then shall you understand that the benefit of subletting is not just the immediate cost saving rather subletting is something that can benefit the overall profitability of a project by providing better scalability & expertise of resources.”
Harikrishnan K, Director, Advenser Engineering Services
“You need to understand that BIM as such is not going to reduce the project cost by any extend rather BIM can help you limit your expenditure to the preapproved budget, avoid budget overruns and in the timely completion of the project.”
Ashwin S Nair General Manager, Advenser Engineering Services
In order to leverage the most out of BIM implementation, the vital prerequisite is to have a team of highly skilled BIM engineers work on your project. Not every firm can have an expert team with scalable resources which can greatly affect the profitability of a project.
The Advantages of Subletting your BIM Requirements
#1 Less expensive than maintaining a dedicated in-house team:
It’s a very common misconception seen in the AEC industry that subletting of CAD & BIM requirements are overpriced. In reality, when you take a closer look into subletting it clearly shows that the cost of subletting is very much lower when compared to maintaining a dedicated in-house team.
While subletting your CAD & BIM needs you to pay only for the services you need rather paying a full-time salary of a person who receives compensation even when there are no projects to complete.
#2 Experience the benefits of having scalable resources
At times when turnaround time becomes a decisive factor in winning you a project, subletting will be the best option at hand. The benefits of having scalable resources working on your project can help you in faster completion of projects saving you a lot of time and money.
#3 Reduces overhead costs
For startups and medium-sized firms, hiring a dedicated team of BIM modelers and managers fulltime may not the most viable option. The cost involved in paying their salary, paying for the IT and infrastructure is going to be a tough row to hoe for smaller and medium firms. Subletting their requirements will for sure help such firms greatly reduce the overhead costs incurred.
#4 Hire skilled and experienced modelers to work for you
When you sublet, you are indirectly letting a team of highly skilled and experiences workforce work on your projects. Most of the vendor companies with more than a decade of experience in BIM might have worked on a diverse range of projects ensuring
- Better Quality
- Faster Turnaround
- Better Coordination
Diving a little deep down into BIM will show you for a fact that the benefits of BIM are so interconnected that on a larger picture it is going to aid you in “n” number of ways.
BIM subletting can for sure be fraught with unexpected challenges and upset – but knowing the industry best practices and some tips can help you in your journey down the path of subletting, helping you avoid many pitfalls.
Tips to the art of BIM subletting
#1 The Golden Rule – Have a clear idea on BIM and its processes
BIM is an intelligent flow of processes, it is imperative for the companies subletting their BIM requirements to have a clear idea about BIM and its processes. Having a clear understanding of BIM and its processes can help you
1. Analyze the milestones and deadlines set by the vendor company.
2. Have a broad idea on the BIM expenses
Unlike the 2D world, you need to work out many design details much earlier in the BIM world. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of what do you need.
#2 Don’t Limit the Possibilities – Leverage the Most Out of BIM
BIM is an integrated process where the vendor has to work as an extension of the clients’ team. The clients need to work with their subletting partner in cohesion to understand the extent of services that are possible with the implementation of BIM rather being blinded by their BIM requirements, says Rekha Murali, Business Unit Manager at Advenser Engineering Services.
#3 Choose well – Choose the right BIM partner
One needs to be very careful while choosing a BIM partner. With the exponential increase in the demand for BIM services, many service providers are sprouting each day. Most of these companies boast about achieved milestones, popularity across the western countries and low pricing. Be very careful not to fall for the bait!
Before choosing a BIM partner make sure that
- You thoroughly check the company’s experience and expertise
- You do detailed reference checks from some of their previous clients
- Always be skeptical when offered lower prices
- Your BIM partner can provide you access to high-level industry experts
- You check their overall BIM experience
#4 Be prompt in responding to RFIs – For Shorter Turnaround
Always have it in the back of your head that the vendor is working on the input you provided. It is obvious that they might need a lot of clarifications and additional technical information on the inputs you provided. Prompt response to RFIs ensures both the quality and speed of delivery.
This may seem to be a chore but this is all the hocus pocus you need to get a project done! The more projects you associate with your vendor the lesser questions they will have in the next projects.
#5 See the Larger Picture – Never bypass the BIM workflow
Yeah, you heard me right! In fact, bypassing the BIM workflow is the primary reason for BIM being futile for some clients.
“On average, implementing BIM on your projects can save you anywhere between 15-25% of the total project cost. But one needs to see it from a broader perspective, bypassing the process for any reason will not do any good for your project”
– Jenson J, Project Manager at Advenser Engineering Services
#6 The Fundamental Rule – Avoid communication gap with your vendor
“The most commonly seen pitfall in BIM subletting is the lack of focus on communications and relationship management. The key for a successful subletting is to ensure that you and your vendor are always on the same page. Improved communication in business always means higher profits”
– Anusha U, Business Unit Manager at Advenser Engineering Services
BIM is an integrated process you need to be certain that you and your vendor are on the same page. You can do it by
a) Giving a proper schedule of the requirements to the vendor company at the right time
b) Sticking to the plan and acting responsibly
c) Giving timely response to RFIs
d) Not skipping coordination meetings
To sum up, BIM subletting is truly an art which the client and vendor have to master. It’s not just about cutting down the cost incurred in a project it is about leveraging the most out of the skilled expertise of your vendor, reducing the overhead cost & turnaround time and eventually generating more profit.