Key to Lowering BIM Software and Implementation Costs

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Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
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Key to Lowering BIM Software cost
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Integrating BIM into marketing presentations is one of the least expensive and risky methods for implementing BIM within a short period of time.

BIM software can provide immense value as a visualisation tool for design or construction firm marketing projects.

More than 15 per cent of the firms I transitioned from AutoCAD to Revit started their first Revit projects in their marketing departments. Their design proposals used BIM to display design options for the new projects while incorporating BIM-converted past projects into the presentation.

This worked for both commercial and residential design projects.

They used Revit to create simple or more complex:

  1. exterior perspectives of the building shells of proposed project(s)
  2. exterior mass model perspectives of proposed large projects with site components, (roads, terrain, trees, parking and sidewalks)
  3. 3D (isometric) floor plans and shaded interior perspective images
  4. color-schemes that auto-coloured 2D floor plans and building section views to identify assigned department space
  5. cross-sections through the building to discuss department adjacencies on different floors
  6. exterior/interior shaded walk-through videos
  7. exterior/interior hybrid shaded walk-through videos with embedded rendered views
  8. exterior and interior daylighting studies using shaded or rendered images

Hotel_Foamcore_Revit_Model_Rendering

Best of all, these Revit marketing models were simple. More than a dozen firms used only two materials in their marketing models: white foamcore and clear glass. They wanted to produce the digital equivalent of their previous physical foamcore models.

Once they won the project, their Revit marketing models’ views were exported to a DWG format for the AutoCAD-based design-production team.

However, on simpler projects, the Revit marketing models sometimes went directly into the Revit production phase where they were used to complete the construction documents.

If the team was feeling overwhelmed by a tight schedule at the end of design development, the project was exported to AutoCAD (DWG) file format. The project’s construction documents (CD) were then completed in CAD.

Architectural marketing departments will often use the talents of any production and design staff who are between projects. This is a great time to provide BIM software training and application exercises without the stress of meeting a project deadline. It confines the technical learning to a limited set of tasks while providing visual marketing content to win client business.

Firms created Revit models of previously completed projects that represented their various market groups, whether that entailed schools, healthcare, or manufacturing. These models’ images were intermixed with photos taken from the completed projects. Completed projects don’t have impending deadlines and the design decisions are already completed. This provided learning content that allowed for a focus on learning more complex modeling, creating better renderings and walk-through videos.

The Revit content (windows, doors, annotation styles, title blocks, and so on) from these as-built project models was saved to form the firm’s initial BIM Standard Content Library.

The procedures for printing, rendering, content creation and creating standardized views were documented to form the initial BIM standards.

We isolated and integrated the firms’ BIM processes into their marketing to win projects (business).

This limited the firms’ investment for BIM software, upgraded computer equipment, training and implementation, and content creation, while reducing the loss of billable time with a smaller staff.

Staff BIM training was mixed. Some sent their staff to an economical three-day large BIM class while others requested a three-day custom on-site BIM training class. The on-site class used a combination of BIM training manuals while inter-mixing custom exercises to create model content for their presentations.

Autodesk offers a cross-grade program which cross-grades one or more existing AutoCAD license(s) to a Revit Suite license. Because of this, the client does not have to payy the full license cost for the Revit license and they would still have an AutoCAD license.

Today, most BIM software companies offer BIM Software Rental licenses that would further minimize the initial, upfront software costs of a “BIM for Marketing” implementation.

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