Benefits of BIM Services for Small AEC Firms

Benefits of BIM Services for Small AEC Firms

BIM technology enables small AEC firms to mark higher productivity and build an impressive portfolio by facilitating efficient planning, design and construction.

Big players in the AEC space already depend on BIM for planning, design, construction and management. BIM technology also offers great potential to small AEC firms as it evolves beyond mere visualization to the data management.

Often small AEC firms use traditional CAD practices on account of financial constraints or reduced budgets. This increases inaccuracies and manual errors leading to rework and unnecessary expenses during construction. At the same time, when stakeholders are not on the same page, it affects decision making process regarding resource and material allocation as well as construction costs.

Some small AEC firms understand the need to adopt BIM tools to achieve accurate deliverables and complete projects within budget and time. However, others are still hesitant and question the need and viability of adopting BIM technology.

A market report suggests that only 44% of small AEC firms have 1-2 years’ experience in using BIM.

Do BIM services really offer a technology edge to small AEC firms?

BIM offers small AEC firms effective collaboration, time savings, increase in profitability and renders clients with cost-effective design and construction alternatives and solutions. Every industry, including government and private, is looking at projects with a BIM-ready workforce.

In this blog we discuss about the challenges faced by small AEC firms and how adopting BIM technology enables small AEC firms to overcome these challenges and gain a competitive edge in the construction sector.

7 reasons why transitioning to BIM is beneficial for small AEC firms

To reach its complete potential, BIM needs to be fully adopted and implemented across the entire project lifecycle. Here are some reasons why transitioning to BIM is advantageous to small AEC firms.

1. BIM provides the “wow” element

Often clients connected to small AEC firms aren’t fully aware of the design and construction process. The use of BIM helps create a “wow” factor through intricate visualization based on 3D models and diverse viewpoints. Efficiencies built into the BIM program through immersive project realization, accurate scheduling (4D), and precise project costs (5D) can help small firms win businesses.

Based on a Connecting Teams Study, 96% of BIM users have made up their cost of investment.

2. BIM saves time by shortening feedback loops

Complicated 3D designs can be challenging for smaller AEC firms. BIM delivers an equal opportunity for small AEC firms to deliver services with effective parametric 3D modeling tools. With capabilities to perform more, coupled with quick turnaround times, it is possible to deliver high-quality deliverables within scheduled timelines and build stronger relationships.

A project management firm saves construction time by adopting BIM

A Saudi Arabia based project management firm partnered with TrueCADD on a healthcare construction project. The TrueCADD engineers created a coordinated 3D BIM model at LOD 500. The information rich model streamlined the construction activities and resulted in accurate scheduling, reduced rework, shorter timelines and higher ROI.

LOD 500 Modeling in Revit

3. BIM is the future for AEC firms

Competition is more pronounced than it was ever before and small AEC firms using 2D tools continue to stay at a loss with static design. Every player in the building lifecycle and supply chain from architects to designers, and engineers to general contractors need to deliver projects within stipulated cost and schedule.

Clients will continue to command model-based visualization and complete and accurate document sets. BIM adoption figures, owner requirements, and industry trends are clear indicators for small AEC firms to take a closer look at BIM processes and tools.

4. BIM is an effective tool to market your firm

Extensive BIM implementation across the supply chain helps every small AEC firm become self-reliant. With complete communication and collaboration, BIM can help add greater credibility, enhance efficiency, and impress clients to win more projects.

BIM works on every level to convey comprehensive project realization through 3D models and detailed documentation. Clash-free and coordinated models can be used for immersive walkthroughs, renders, and animation for effective marketing.

Architectural firm improves design intent with 4D BIM model

An architectural firm from Manchester, UK outsourced its requirements to TrueCADD for 4D BIM deliverables for a mixed-use construction project. The team at TrueCADD generated a coordinated and clash-free 4D model using Revit and Navisworks two months to improve design intent. The firm was able to share accurate deliverables with its clients in a timely manner. Reduced rework further saved on project costs.

Project Deliverables

5. BIM helps your firm become more self-reliant

Using latest BIM tools, small AEC firms can gain complete self-reliance to deliver high-performance BIM services. Utilizing a cutting-edge toolset, small AEC firms can execute building projects based on their capabilities.

6. BIM ensures quality to build trust and secure repeat clients

With results that BIM delivers along every design and construction milestone, small AEC firms can put up high accountability, credibility, and clarity. With clients looking at one single point of truth or 3D BIM model, the value of trust is reinforced in the closing built deliverables and quality.

7. BIM helps you get a competitive edge and compete with a larger firm

Small AEC firms can successfully compete with their larger counterparts to win more work. The application of BIM tools enables teams to do more in a lesser time frame. This helps strategic decision-makers to consider small AEC firms as significant contributors to the BIM community.

With renders and walkthroughs in place, small firms can produce effective visualization sophistication and extract valuable information through BIM practices. In a quick-paced design and construction landscape, BIM helps small AEC firms get the best outcomes for their projects.

Is BIM really worth the investment for small AEC firms?

BIM can be worth the investment for small AEC firms if implemented correctly. Deploying BIM tools and processes with uncertainties can create a hurdle to achieve bigger and better projects. Several small AEC firms are under a mindset that states – if a contract does not demand BIM deployment, why spend time and cost adopting it?

While logical and acceptable to a certain point, this mindset can suppress an opportunity for AEC companies to achieve better ROI. Adopting BIM capabilities across the board are proven to be cost-effective and efficient.

How much does BIM software cost?

BIM does incur upfront costs, but it’s the long term dividends that matter. Although BIM software may seem expensive initially and the cost may even run in thousands, but with the various features and host of benefits that it offers, the investment is totally worth it.

How expensive is BIM training?

BIM training “can be expensive” or “not be expensive” depending on the type of training people choose. Institutes do provide various modes of training such as classroom training, e-learning courses and virtual learning. Advanced BIM training might turn to be a bit expensive, whilst the basic e-learning and virtual counterparts are affordable for a greater AEC audience.

What is the return on investment offered by BIM?

BIM has the potential to raise a company’s efficiency by more than 40%. Yet, BIM is not a short-term proposition and requires long-term adoption of more than 4 years to achieve higher ROI’s. For small AEC firms looking at expanding their business horizon in building design and construction, BIM sure has the tools and technology to make it happen.

Steps to implement BIM

Small AEC firms can strike gold with explorative design prototypes and 3D models to speed up project approvals. With that in mind, we’ve identified key steps that can speed up the adoption process and lead the change.

Futuristic view – Automation is not an expense but an investment for small AEC firms.

BIM isn’t confined to mere visualization and monotonous tasks. The future of BIM continues to evolve in the field of “automation”. Moving a step further, small AEC companies can utilize the power of BIM automation through APIs, Macros, Dynamo and other automation tools.

While the price of automation is not as high as it seems, the results are quite evident. Reducing hundreds of designing or modeling tasks and hours to a mere few, helps architects, designers and engineers achieve quick, accurate and efficient outcomes.

Conclusion

In a fast-paced AEC world, small scale AEC firms usually follow in the footsteps of their larger counterparts. Although the road for smaller firms to adopt BIM may seem to be a challenging one, yet, it fosters long-term relationships with clients for perpetual and sustainable business success.

Once small AEC firms understand how BIM can impact efficiency and success rate, they use BIM to enhance design, construction speed, gain accuracy and obtain better ROI for their services.

About Author: is an academician and published writer. Her passion for engineering and technology reflects in the in-depth coverage she provides on technology trends. 20 years of work association with institutes of repute across India and the US positions her to provide valuable insights to business stakeholders on achieving scalability and operational efficiencies through digitalization.

About Author: is an American Institute of Architecture associate, a LEED Green Associate and a Masters in Architecture from San Francisco, Keyuri Patel carries wide ranging experience in urban design, architecture and BIM projects. Her insightful industry coverage on building design and construction processes builds on her passion for technology and digitalization.

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