When and How to Work with a BIM Consultant

In one of our previous posts, we have already looked at “Why Companies Hire a BIM Consultant“. In this post, we will discuss “when” and “how” to work with an external BIM consultant successfully. So, let us start by asking a simple question: Should you hire a BIM consultant?

Chances are, you or your company have probably thought about hiring a BIM consultant at some point already. Often, companies avoid hiring a BIM consultant because they are not sure when they need one or are unclear about measuring the return of investment (ROI) of a BIM consultant.

Hiring a BIM consultant means committing to an investment of time and money. If you hire at the right time, your investment can return significant benefits for your projects and position your company for success in the long run. Typical indications for when you should hire a BIM consultant are:

  • Your team does not have the expertise in the field of need. When hiring a BIM consultant, you bring in that expertise when you need it. At the same time, your team gains access to a group of highly skilled people who can train them and get your project setup properly.
  • Your previous attempts to meet your own needs were not successful. BIM is increasing in demand and process automation is revolutionizing the way we work. This situation presents several challenges that can be difficult to deal with for those not accustomed to BIM. A BIM consultant creates tangible solutions to your challenges.
  • Leaders want an objective perspective without strong biases. An independent BIM consultant can help those with a vague idea of BIM to develop an objective view by considering existing operations to create tangible workflows, standards, and deliverables – that all can adhere too.
  • Your client requires an external BIM consultant. Clients are key actors in driving digital innovation across the industry. An independent BIM consultant can help you understand and meet your clients’ needs and requirements while accelerating your BIM strategy.
  • The time of need is considered with a general start and stop time. You cannot depend on your BIM consultant forever. Once they leave, your team will need to take back responsibility. Therefore, consider adding a knowledge management plan to your BIM consultant’s tasks and involve team members to ensure that this plan is a success.

It is not only essential to understand when to hire a BIM consultant but also to know how to measure the outcomes. Measuring the ROI of a BIM consultant poses a challenge since they often help in several areas, many of which are measured in long-term growth. The Annual Consultant Report by the Predictive Index found that 27% of companies choose not to hire because the ROI is too hard to measure.

What does this mean for a BIM consultant? They need to ground their proposals with measurable outcomes, proving immediate and downstream ROI for your project. Regardless of services rendered, you want to know that you spent your time and money well. To help you to make a BIM consultant as productive as possible, approach the relationship with a few actions in mind:

  • Know what you want to do, and make sure your company is prepared for it. Before you hire a BIM consultant, you must understand your own needs. While significant savings can be made by hiring an external BIM consultant, it can turn out to be an expensive endeavour if your needs for hiring one in the first place are not precise.
  • Do not become too dependent on your BIM consultant. Establishing a knowledge transfer process into the project ensures that you are not caught out when your BIM consultant finishes their job. The earlier this process begins, the more questions your team members can ask, and the more skills and knowledge they will gain.
  • Get your BIM consultant involved in implementing recommendations. While adopting BIM may be new to your company, existing workflows should be supported, not disrupted. A good BIM consultant should see where changes are required, communicate these with your team and run the implementation with minimal disruption.
  • Fix causes, not symptoms. Finally, make sure that you have a BIM implementation strategy in place that covers all four aspects of change: Policy, People, Process, and Technology. It should also include key process indicators (KPI) to determine how to measure the success of your BIM consultant. In order to measure intangible benefits, think about the difference in your team’s confidence before and after you hired a BIM consultant.

To sum things up, companies should hire a BIM consultant when they are lacking in-house expertise, finding themselves in need of a second opinion, have to audit their building information models or are required to restructure their operational infrastructure to meet today’s digital requirements.

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