A publication jointly developed by three national mechanical, electrical and plumbing associations and released on Nov. 7 aims to elevate the playing field for specialty contractors foraying into spatial coordination through building information modeling. It promises to advance the state of practice by sharing practical, hard-won insights and implementation lessons from leading companies in the trades.

"Achieving Spatial Coordination Through BIM: A Guide for Specialty Contractors" claims to be the first guide for specialty contractors seeking to embrace BIM practices and technologies in their firms. It may or may not be the first, but the guide is practical, comprehensive and well-written.

The team comprises the Mechanical Contractors Association of America Inc. (MCAA), the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association and the National Electrical Contractors Association.

"We're teaching our members how to be the best that they can be with BIM, and if it works for these three organizations, it will permeate," says Dennis Langley, MCAA executive director.

The 170-page book was two years in the making. The well-organized manual captures clear explanations, checklists, glossaries and even recommendations for hardware, software, and internet and cloud services. It offers steps and pre-cautions any subcontracting firm, regardless of specialty, should take to engage in projects empowered by BIM.

The manual starts with basic information but quickly moves to advice on assessing staff skills to build a BIM team, creating and evaluating execution plans, and managing process and documentation. Other chapters offer aid for leveraging business gains from one project to the next; analyzing contract BIM requirements, and the nuts and bolts of technology implementation.

The guide is free in digital form to members of the organizations and costs $25 in print. Non-members pay $25 for a digital version and $100 for print.