We attended the American Society of Professional Estimators annual summit in Denver last week. While Denver is the “Mile High City” and marijuana is legal there was something else in the air! If I look back on 14 years of working to improve productivity in the AEC industry I’d say the difference between now and then is, “The Estimators have (finally) bought in.” Now to be fair I can think of Ryan Martorano, Chief Estimator of Hensel Phelps who believed BIM could change the construction world in 2003. Then there was John Cowles of Hathaway Dinwiddie who believed way back then, as well as many others that helped us develop the concept of 5D from inception. But more often than not my conversations over the last 14 years were with Estimators who had many reasons why this could never work at their company. Let’s see, what were some of the reasons:
- Our contract documents are drawings, not models
- The designers don’t build models we can use
- Our database is much too complex for you to understand
- It took us a long time and a large investment to get the estimating process we have today, we don’t want to change
- We don’t want to learn Revit
- It will take us more time to do an estimate
- Everything we estimate is not in the model
- We don’t have the money or the time
We could go on and on…. Again, that was so “last century” and this week was WOW! We had a panel discussion with Greg Gidez of Hensel Phelps, Josh Bone of J Bone Technology Consulting, and Gustav Choto from Building Point California attended by over 100 Estimators from all over the USA. This group was interested, knowledgeable, excited, and motivated to learn about BIM and how to use it to build a 5D estimating process. The session was 90 minutes long, was packed with good questions and comments and even ran over into the lunch break.
The difference in the level of interest in using 3D Building Information Models in standard construction workflows has increased exponentially in just the last 12 months. There is a growing awareness that BIM is here to stay and as one senior estimator said today at the conference, “You have to change with the times if you want to stay relevant.” There was a great discussion on how else you could use the model downstream to help the Operations team and the subs to build safer and with higher quality. The end result of the conference is that we now have one of the most important groups in any construction company, the Estimating department supporting the technological improvements that can eliminate huge amounts of waste in our building construction process.
OK, now let’s get going on research, testing, and implementation of your new model based workflows!
Don Henrich is an accomplished technology veteran in both the MCAD and the AEC industries. As President and CEO of Assemble he brings an distinguished track record of innovation, winning strategies, team building, and the ability to quickly grow revenue and market share. Don and his wife Noel have three children, reside in Marblehead, MA and spend as much time as possible sailing on Massachusetts Bay.