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Contractors have a lot of responsibility resting on their  shoulders. As the key person appointed to execute and oversee construction projects, the buck stops with the contractor—figuratively and sometimes literally. 

Thankfully, advanced digital tools like building information modeling software are helping contractors to plan and manage work more effectively, deliver building projects on time and within budget, while meeting safety and quality standards.

In fact, BIM software is not an option in many construction projects but rather a mandatory requirement. For example, in Britain, public sector work must be done using BIM  software under what is known as the UK BIM Framework. But even on projects where the software isn’t a legal requirement, BIM can deliver dramatic results.

With that as a backdrop, let’s take a look at seven of the most significant benefits contractors can derive from using BIM. 

1. Closer collaboration with colleagues and subcontractors

Contractors need to coordinate many stakeholders, including architects, designers, engineers, site managers and tradespeople. They also need to build strong relationships with external parties such as subcontractors and suppliers. Keeping every person on the same page is no easy task, but it becomes much simpler when using BIM software to plan and manage projects. 

BIM technology converts project data into 3D or 4D plans, helping contractors explain the sequence of work to colleagues and subcontractors. By using BIM software to create 4D plans, contractors can visualize how every element of the build fits together. This gives everyone involved a clear view pf the project, which can help in making group decisions about how best to execute work.

What’s more, BIM can provide a well-defined brief and ensure all stakeholders are working together towards the same standards and objectives starting from day one of the project.

2. Improved project management

Even the best-run projects get sidetracked from their original timeline. Fortunately, BIM software enables contractors to compare planned versus actual work and to model alternative scenarios to get construction back on track. And choosing BIM technology with 4D planning capabilities can add huge value to project management, as the element of time is built into the visual plan.

The reason a considerable number of contractors invest in BIM software is to create a common data environment. From there, they often move to exploring the full benefits of 4D planning.

3. Better use of available resources

Managing people and material resources is another key assignment for contractors. This responsibility has been made more challenging by current recruitment and supply-chain challenges. Further, the industry continues to face great shortages of skilled labor

The good news is that BIM software helps contractors maximize available resources. Specifically, 4D planning allows users to strategically model construction processes to choose the most effective construction route. Even in traditional builds, BIM software can help people work more efficiently—for instance, sequencing each tradesperson’s tasks in a single block of work rather than calling them back at different points in the build. Plus, 4D plans can be used to accurately manage procurement and reduce material waste.

4. Tighter cost control

Improving resource management isn’t just a practical benefit; it also reduces project costs as well. BIM software can help model scenarios throughout the design and planning process, identifying cost-effective ways to work. Building a detailed digital program also helps generate accurate cost estimates, which users can monitor throughout project execution to reduce the risk of overruns.

Another key money-saving benefit of BIM software is the ability to identify potential stumbling blocks early on. By creating detailed program sequences, contractors can see immediately when something gets out of sync. More importantly, BIM’s virtual planning capabilities allow for fast, informed decisions in response to obstacles. When you consider that rework can cost 2.4% to 12.4% of a project’s contract value, it becomes clear that the quicker a solution can be found, the more profitable a project is likely to be.

5. Enhanced quality control

As a contractor, your reputation rests on the end result of each project. Was the project delivered on time? Was it completed within budget? Is it finished to a high standard? Close collaboration between project stakeholders is critical to meeting safety and quality-control levels. It’s the contractors’ duty to ensure that industry standards are upheld—and BIM software keeps everyone on the same page to ensure the necessary protocols are followed.

In addition, BIM software documents the user’s high standards of workmanship, so customers can see that the latest regulations are being met during project execution. It also creates a permanent digital record for future accountability, a critical factor in a constantly evolving industry like construction.

6. Promote sustainable construction

It’s not just efficiency driving decisions in construction as new research has revealed that environmental impact is a core consideration for building and construction contractors. There are many factors such as the management of pollution and waste, usage of natural resources and energy for projects, and long-term sustainability to the environment. The bottom line is that environmental evaluation should be a key component upfront at the planning stage. 

With modern construction project-management software, companies can track material usage and waste volumes. Plus, working with subcontractors and vendors, they can change how materials are used onsite. For example, one company working on a construction project retained and refitted existing floor tiles that were stripped out during a refurbishment, which reduced material requirements and site traffic, as trucks were not needed to collect the old tiles and deliver replacements.

7. Happier customers. More Referrals.

While there are many KPIs that contractors track during the course of construction, the ultimate metric is customer satisfaction. BIM software can help build strong, transparent client relationships that generate positive feedback, referrals and repeat business. From the beginning, BIM software allows contractors to give their customers full visibility over planning and construction. Many companies find 4D plans much easier to understand than complex Gantt charts, and you can use these plans to prove the value of the techniques you’ve chosen.

There are two other important points as it relates to enhancing customer satisfaction by using BIM software. First, it can be difficult for contractors to recall information on completed construction projects, but BIM software can help ascertain these details. Second, BIM software can also help clients understand the impact of changing laws on existing buildings. 

The bottom line

The rise of BIM software in construction is helping contractors keep customers up to speed with both project execution and to seek approval to changes on program sequences. More importantly, by managing all project data in a central and secure location, contractors can show clients that they’ve delivered on their initial promises and have a trustworthy record of work and materials for future reference, all while reaping the bottom-line rewards of all the other benefits as described.


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