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Is using BIM productive for Architects?

January 2019

It is only a matter of time that BIM will become a mainstream software, especially for larger projects.
“BIM allows us better conceptualisation, evolution and conflict resolution in the early stages and during project construction, which leads to lower costs to designers over the long term. It generates quick working drawings in less time. Currently, the higher cost is the only deterrent,” says Amol Prabhu, Partner, Shashi Prabhu & Associates.
Attesting to the productivity BIM has brought about for his firm, CN Raghavendran, Managing Director, CR Narayana Rao (Consultants), adds, “More important, integrated design from concept to completion, change management and simultaneous collaboration or co-working by different people on the same model and keeping everyone aware of the process are big advantages.” He adds that problems can be evaluated and identified at the design stage itself, saving time and money rather than discovering a mismatch during execution, which is “highly cumbersome”.

At ANA Design, BIM is work in progress. Amin Nayyar, CEO & Founder, ANA Design, says, “It has definite advantages in terms of project conceptualisation and the quality and completeness of our work.” Similarly, Kapil Aggarwal, Founder & Principal Architect, Spaces Architects@ka, is exploring the possibilities of BIM for his firm and says, “Hopefully, we will switch to BIM in coming years.”

In a country like India where most architects spend their time executing projects at site, things will get much easier with BIM, as things will be predefined and there will be complete transparency from the initial stages itself, reasons Aggarwal. “Hence, to save time and money, we should gravitate towards the implementation of BIM.” 

“Implementation of this philosophy requires a change in mindset,” explains Nayyar. “It is not the learning of a software or an isolated process. It encourages and welcomes the idea of teams of experts working together, and being able to ‘see’ the complete picture of the project. Transparency in communication is also key to the process. Therefore, any company wishing to transition to BIM will have both, un-learning and learning along the way. And, as it is an idea of mindset and people, the change requires constant communication, reinforcement of the idea and time!”

“Recognise the business and marketing aspects of implementing BIM in your organisation,” advises Prabhu. “To lead the effort, find a BIM expert in your organisation, explain your BIM capabilities to clients clearly, and educate your staff about BIM trends, language and culture to avoid difficulties while explaining to clients.”

In Raghavendran’s view, “Successful implementation requires close hands-on training, cost-effective software and spread of awareness to all stakeholders in the building industry. And this initiative should come only from BIM software sellers. They have to invest time and money to produce learning and application modules as well as case studies of successful projects with benefits, particularly, India-specific ones. They must also involve as many stakeholders as possible across India in all kinds of building projects to spread awareness to the end-user in a convincing manner.” If the end-user sees an efficient but cost-effective solution, the product will be used without any marketing and people will automatically become addicted to it.

In short, BIM is an excellent product but needs to be marketed among professionals with a grand vision in the Indian market.
- SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN

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