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Viewpoint: With BIM, EPC Firms Cannot Charge More—But They Can Charge Differently

Construction project owners are raising the bar of expectations, BIM consulting and modeling fees for an EPC firm isn’t the concern—it is how smartly they can generate revenue off of BIM.

The construction industry is rant today. While one might argue that population explosion is the reason, EPC contractors would say it is the advancements in technology, and transparency it has given to the project owners.

Never before now have the owners became so focused and persistent about utilizing BIM. In addition to just putting across their project requirements, owners are now defining BIM specifications and their guidelines pertaining to projects. They are becoming BIM-centric. To put it in plain words, it is becoming more of a surety to employ BIM for their construction project, rather than just going with the BIM wave.

The current perception about BIM is rapidly changing among the owners. BIM is not seen as the end goal but a means to a number of valuable project delivery repercussions for the owners. BIM enables project stakeholders to align owners’ needs by thinking the way their counterparts in other disciplines do.

Suit Up with Data and Workflows Early

Since most of the EPC contractors and firms have multiple systems with data that supports various building construction and design tasks, it becomes necessary to define the data usability and workflows. This entire idea of allotting task before the technology comes in, essentially allows the owner to weigh their tasks. It also empowers them to deliver life cycle models of the buildings by connecting buildings as-built models with BIM 7D solutions.

The connective tissue will demand to have a clear design definition, as only a good geometry will generate reliable information for EPC firms and owners, both. It also works on the understanding that incomplete or delayed information will risk the integrity of the entire system.

Collaboration Takes Care of Dressing Up

To define a transition to lifecycle management, EPC contractors require a collaborative approach to share ideas, stakes and final goals of the project with the owner. EPC contractors now should accept the fact that way of making money [today] out of construction business isn’t the way it was in the past. They need to deliver what owners exactly want, in order to reach new heights and stay profitable. Also, since BIM is now popular in the AEC industry, it isn’t that EPC firms can charge more, what they should in fact do is charge differently – by delivering what owners desire – a proper collaboration and facility maintenance option.

For Construction Deliverables

Since construction industry is revolutionizing, and owners too, are becoming keen on BIM requirements, EPC firms need to change the approach for their deliverables. The changing industry is expecting us to ingrain BIM not only for bidding process but also for design and schedule for construction and further for maintenance. The non-editable Federated Design Intent models of BIM will essentially serve the changing requirements.

As the owners raise their bar of expectation with BIM, simply delivering BIM models in 3D will not be sufficient. Strengthening of quality and integrity of BIM deliverables and project requirements aligned with the owner’s strategy for facility life cycle is becoming the need of the hour. The ball fall in the court of EPC firms when it comes to value addition and achieving a great partnership with their clients through BIM and level up with their rising expectations by leveraging BIM data.

About The Author

Bhushan Avsatthi is Director at Hi-Tech iSolutions LLP. Bhushan imbibes the prophecy of efficient and prudent use of energy in his day to day life and advises his team to do so as well. He is also involved in green initiatives like non-profit tree plantation project and promotes using cycles for commuting small distances. Bhushan handles a team of architects, structural and MEP engineers, LEED consultants and Energy modeling experts.

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