Architects, engineers and contractors increasingly need to consider the challenges of project integration and technology; where their specialties are tied together in holistic design-build-operate projects, often with a financing component. The concept of “lifecycle costs” takes an entirely new level of opportunity/challenge when Building Information Modelling (BIM) effectively links early-stage design to long-term maintenance. Now the earliest-stage conceptual drawings influence and define the project through the construction and operating stages.
The trouble is the cost and impact of these changes is not evenly distributed among the professions, contractors and owners. Owners, of course, reap the benefits through the ability to see their projects early-on and more efficient ongoing maintenance. Contractors can work with the BIM models to enhance construction efficiency and avoid the classic conflicts, especially in the mechanical infrastructure — avoiding the change-order havoc of conduits that aren’t big enough to hold the pipes and wires, for example.
Architects may have the best and worst of the worlds here, however. Yes, they can play around with designs and really improve the building quality, but what happens to their control and billable hours? Worse, they probably have the largest up-front investment costs in BIM technology for the least actual ongoing reward. Yet, if they don’t catch on to the new construction and building processes, do they risk being caught in the dust.
I explore these questions in this SMPS Marketer article, released last week at Build Business. It seeks to answer the question about pursuit costs on two levels. Does it cost more to respond effectively to a BIM/IPD RFP than a conventional design/project proposal? On a second level, how much does it cost to have the capacity to answer these new opportunities, and how much can it hurt not to be prepared?