10 Ways BIM Can Help You Save Time During Design Phase

The benefits of BIM’s integrated project management capabilities & design optimisation are streamlining how information can be shared between design & construction teams. Here we cover our ten ways that BIM helps clients save time during the design phase.

Even though BIM has been around for over ten years, it has evolved dramatically over the past few years and offers many advantages in the design phase of a project. What is still not as widely utilised with regards to BIM is its benefits with regards to project management and the streamlined way in which information can be shared between the design and construction teams. Here we cover our ten ways that BIM helps clients save time during the design phase.

1. Creation of Working Drawings – Traditionally the production of working drawings was a time-consuming task. BIM has allowed the enhancement of the design and engineering process, facilitating the ability of architects, engineers, and other project stakeholders to merge and consolidate models. The key to this is ensuring the modelling is to a high standard if this done correctly, it will speed up the working drawing production phase.

2. Share the models with the Construction team – Why wouldn’t you? Traditionally this part of the phase has been fragmented. Greater collaboration and transparency, such as sharing models regularly, will save time and money on a project as well as allow you to inspect progress directly. Getting all teams involved in the design process stage will enable you to harness all project participant insights and talents in one place. A properly executed BIM implementation strategy can allow team members to access valuable information and collaborate with the tap of a screen.

2. Use Visual Tools – The use of 3D models as VR to visualise the projects. End clients such as building owners often prefer to see their buildings in 3D rather than 2D; this technology allows a more comprehensive and “real world” view. Arrange a walk through meeting using these tools and get building sign off and comments at that meeting. Working out and issues here will make considerable savings at the construction phase.

4. Getting the right design team members is vital – To ensure success, the right questions need to be asked to ensure that essential standards are implemented. As they say, “the proof is in the pudding”. We recommend that Project Managers ensure that the team has the skills and BIM requirements they say they have on paper by asking several questions consistently in every meeting. Some questions to ask might include:

  1. Are they qualified to level 2 BIM delivery? Is all documentation in place as per PAS1192:2
  2. What do they use AutoCAD for in their business?
  3. Do they use 3D software for all of their projects or only by exception?
  4. What training programs have they in place to onboard all their staff?
  5. Have they a team who are trained or are all the staff on board?
  6. Ask for a list of projects over the last 12 months and which were modelled in 3D and shared with collaborative design teams.

5. Take the time to produce an EIR (Employer’s Information Requirements) document – Build this into your design team appointments and get the rules set out from the start. If there is no EIR in place, then the team will struggle to ensure the right information is issued at the right time to support project decision making.

6. Cheapest isn’t always best – Often to ensure this more competitive pricing, they may be outsourcing the modelling work to third parties/other countries which may be cheaper but generally will cause delays. Delays by one team member during the design phase results in time delays to all design team members. How many projects have you seen where 2d drawings are produced at meetings and you are told the model will be available in 2 or 3 weeks. 

7. Ensure the design team members are modelling to the correct standard for the appropriate stage of the project – It is essential that once an EIR document is in place that a BEP (BIM Execution Plan) is formulated. This e EIR document ensures that the right information is issued at the right time to support project-based decision making.

8. Apply the appropriate level of clash detection for the appropriate stage of the project
 – The key to a successful project is ensuring that your BIM lead/BIM manager is delivering the appropriate level of clash detection in line with the project stage. There can be a tremendous waste of resource and time if these clashes are not detected and resolved early during the design phase. If clashes are left unattended, this can cause the need for reworks which in turn leads to downtime and delays in the timeline until they are resolved.

9. Take-Offs – Traditionally, take-offs have been performed and developed with 2-D drawings, using BIM modelling allows you to speed up BOQ preparation time frame. The key is to ensure the quality of the models is there, to allow the appropriate data to be extracted. If you can increase the information available to tenderers, this, in turn, will shorten tender periods.

10. Builders works – Builders works can be quite costly unless your MEP team is proficient, accurate and proficient at sharing builders works as a family to speed up the coordination of builders works between MEP, Architect and Structural Engineers. This can be a very laborious task, but if executed effectively, should now be a quick coordination exercise among team members. MagiCAD is our preferred software tool as it has a smooth, easy day-to-day design workflow. 


Contact Richard O’Farrell, Managing Director.