engineering firms

As I said yesterday, the true topic of the BSA BIM Roundtable meeting was how engineers are using BIM. Representatives spoke from several engineering firms about their use of BIM and how it is impacting their business.

Some of the interesting points that came out of their presentations were:
  • They like to receive the architectural model as early as possible, so that they can coordinate the structural design with the architectural design
  • Some are taking advantage of a 2-way connection between Revit and analysis programs (specifically RAM)
  • BIM is not changing their end deliverable; they still are submitting a set of drawings
The firms disagreed on how it was impacting their scope/schedule:
  • Most said that BIM is pushing everything "to the left" - detailed design is required much earlier. That also impacts their fee; during schematic design, it used to be 15% of their total fee. Now, its up to 25% or 30%.
  • Another firm thinks that it will be pushing the design phases out "to the right" because engineers will have to start doing the type of coordination that is done by the contractor in traditional practices.

I thought that was probably the most interesting point made; although, I don't know how realistic it is. I think that coordination needs to be done by the firm(s) that is actually building it. Recently, we brought a subcontractor in to work on a model with us; he looked at it and basically told us that he wouldn't be building it anything like that.

We anticipated that and will be doing a lot of remodeling during MEP coordination, which is why I don't see how an engineer could coordinate the trades without the input of the subcontractor who is actually building it.

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