No industry in the world remains untouched by digital technology. For the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, this holds especially true. Technology is making vast improvements in the way general contractors plan and build projects, paving the way for a reimagined future. One technology in particular—Building Information Modeling (BIM)—is leading the way.
BIM is an intelligent, 3D model-based process that helps general contractors become more accurate and efficient. Over the years, BIM technology has grown in its breadth of capabilities, becoming a standard in the AEC industry. It’s not surprising that a study by McKinsey found that 75% of companies that have adopted BIM reported positive returns on their investments.
Thanks to the recent emergence of cloud-based BIM solutions, GCs, designers and owners can now work together to identify and resolve errors in real time, avoiding costly mistakes and reducing rework. With the rapid rise of project delivery methods like design-build and integrated project delivery (IPD), this enhanced ability to collaborate has become more critical than ever.
BIM technology is key to winning more work in an increasingly competitive industry, while also unlocking efficiencies through a centralized project management system.
Why BIM is the key to staying competitive with owners
Winning both new and repeat business is a necessity for today’s GCs to remain competitive. With digital technology becoming an expectation, not simply a “nice to have,” many owners are now requiring BIM deliverables throughout all phases of construction. This makes the role of BIM in a GC’s workflow more important than ever.
Not only does BIM allow GCs and preconstruction leaders to meet client expectations, it also allows them to go above and beyond to impress owners. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a 3D model is worth 1,000 pictures. Showing up with a 3D model when owners are in the process of bidding out work is a game-changer, particularly when the competition does not. It helps build trust and credibility in an industry where reputation means everything.
Remember: Many owners that make decisions about the work to be completed are not construction professionals, meaning they are not accustomed to reading plans and 2D drawings. Using a 3D model to visualize what’s happening on the project provides the most value, as it’s much easier to digest for non-specialists.
In our world of modern technology, it is critical that GCs adopt the use of BIM in order to stay competitive.
Case in point: GCs winning more business with BIM technology
Satterfield & Pontikes Construction (S&P)
“Owners don’t have time to go figure out what is being hidden. They prefer to work with those willing to say, ‘I am going to give you every detail upfront.’” – Mike Diehl, Senior VP, Pontikes Development
S&P averages over $500M in annual revenue and is a market leader in K-12 educational construction in Texas. Through the strategic use of BIM technology, S&P has made huge strides in winning more work and securing long-term relationships with owners.
Using BIM, the team has:
- Increased estimator efficiency through iterative model-based quantification and estimating
- Provided owners better visualizations and transparent project details to remove any doubt and enable faster decision-making
- Facilitated faster, more accurate iterations through all phases of preconstruction
Juneau Construction Company
“There’s definitely a focus of getting it right the first time, and that’s one of our key differentiators.” – Jake Landreneau, VDC Director, Juneau
Juneau, a GC headquartered in Atlanta, is a prime example of how BIM can be utilized to create a more detailed approach to construction with a strong focus on quality. By utilizing BIM software, Juneau has earned a reputation with owners for staying on schedule, operating safely and having transparent costs. The result? Juneau boasts more than 85% repeat business.
Winning more business is just one benefit of BIM software
Thanks to the emergence of cloud-based software, BIM has rapidly become the key to success in today’s high-stakes industry—and its benefits go far beyond winning more business.
In our latest guide for general contractors, we explore the top benefits of BIM, including:
- Impressing clients and winning more business
- Reducing rework (and the costs associated with it)
- Improving margins through more accurate estimates
- Mitigating risk upfront with intelligent project data
Plus, see statistics proving the positive impact of BIM on project outcomes and real-life examples of GCs already benefiting from BIM.
Dustin DeVan is Construction Industry Strategist and Evangelist at Autodesk Construction Solutions and Co-Founder of BuildingConnected.
Founded in 2012, BuildingConnected has built a network of more than 900,000 construction professionals, helping real estate owners and general contractors find and hire qualified contractors for their projects. BuildingConnected joined Autodesk in 2018, adding bid management, risk analysis, and other preconstruction solutions to Autodesk’s construction portfolio.
Prior to founding BuildingConnected, Dustin worked as an engineer, scheduler, estimator, and project manager for 6 years in commercial construction. He has held roles at some of the largest construction companies in the country.
Dustin's construction experience includes large-scale, complex projects such as the $80 million medical office building for Kaiser Permanente, the $6 billion Las Vegas City Center, HP's headquarters in Palo Alto, Western Digital’s Class 10 clean room expansion, and a $700 million coal-fired power plant in Texas.
Dustin holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of California, Davis, in Mechanical Engineering, and Aeronautical Science and Engineering.