Dinosaur skeleton

BIM – Change is on the way!

BIM – Don’t be a dinosaur – Change is on the way!
Having recently reached my 52nd year this is the third recession I have worked through, and in my opinion it is by far the worst. During previous recessions I saw good companies and good people disappear from the construction industry never to return. Whilst contemplating past experiences and the timely (or untimely) arrival of BIM I had an ‘a-ha’ moment – recessions are similar to the natural process of evolution.

In nature a creature evolves by adapting to its environment. Yet periodically the environment changes and species that fail to adapt die out. This is what happens in a recession. The commercial environment changes, resources dry up and businesses disappear.

Fail to change and you may not survive
Why does this happen? Is a species doomed from the word go? Or did it fail to adapt? The secret of surviving environmental change or a recession is to recognise opportunities when they arise. The first step in opportunity recognition is to know and believe that there will always be opportunity for those who get out there and find it. Once you have identified an opportunity, the key is to then focus and maximise the benefit, learn to live in the new world, and flourish.

With Building Information Modelling I see an environmental change for the industry. BIM changes the terrain many of us have taken for granted and have assumed would always be there. Like the dinosaurs, some refuse to acknowledge the need for change, but BIM wont go away! The sooner we embrace BIM and the changes it brings, the sooner we can start the process of adapting our businesses and getting ourselves ready for the new world.

What do I need to do to adapt my business?
Get lean and mean and invest in your business. Standing still is not an option. Make your processes and delivery as streamlined and efficient as possible. Explore the use of new technologies to improve your product with fewer resources – more for less. Use technology to offer added value to clients. Train your staff in new technologies and ensure they maximise the returns from investment.

My inspiration for writing this came from various conversations with businesses that have considered BIM but decided to defer investment, or ignore it altogether. I have heard various reasons for this, including “I’m too busy to attend a seminar”, “I cant afford to invest right now”, “My clients have not asked for BIM”, “I’ve heard it all before”, etc. My response? When the industry environment is changing and changing at a pace no one has seen before, we cannot afford to stand still. Doing nothing will have a detrimental affect on your business, or worse still you may become extinct.
BIM is an enabler for new opportunities; it will present new roads to follow. If you see something that needs to be done and you have the opportunity to do it, don’t let someone else seize the opportunity. You wont be the first person to see that something needs to be done, but you can make your business the best supplier to provide the service or product. The investment that accompanies change can be financial, physical, or emotional. Despite this, recession and hard economic times demand that you embrace it if you intend to remain competitive and effective.

So how do avoid becoming a dinosaur?
First, you adopt a mindset that pursues every new opportunity. Don’t ignore new technologies such as BIM, embrace and use them to differentiate your business from the competition. Finally you must articulate a powerful value proposition for your product or service that will connect with the needs of your customers. Understanding the needs of your customers is the key to understanding and communicating the value of what you can offer.