In- House BIM Vs Outsourcing, What is better?

May 1, 2015 -- BIM has reached a plateau of popularity and is here to stay. Today, professionals across the AEC industry are vying to implement BIM for higher collaboration, better design visualization and higher levels of project management. If you surf through construction magazines or popular building design and development websites, you will observe that building information modeling is the trending topic across all these platforms.

Now BIM implementation is no more optional, hence the question that is being discussed is not actually whether to implement or not implement BIM. The burning issue here is whether it is advisable to set up an in-house BIM team or just outsource your requirements.

Setting up an in-house BIM construction support team is an uphill task; and it also means huge investments in constructible modeling experts, BIM software, infrastructure and other overheads.

Hence outsourcing construction support services is the best option for firms who do not have the resources to set-up in-house team. Then why much ado about - to outsource or not to outsource..!

Well, firstly the word outsourcing itself plays the culprit. The word does not generate a very good feeling about it. It is often associated with substandard work and poor experiences. However, there are several firms who can also tell you about great experiences of outsourcing BIM services. This is because the outsourcing industry in itself, is transforming.

While earlier outsourcing was all about low costs, today the industry delves on the principles of reliability, pursuit of excellence and a promise of high quality deliverables. Additionally as the outsourcing landscapes have become so competent, BIM service providers are also building up their capabilities so that they can work on projects of any scale and complexities.

However, every coin has two sides, and just blindly putting your trust on the big claims that outsourcing companies make can land you in soup. Today working from remote locations is no more an issue, and has become the norm across organizations.

Hence that part of outsourcing, where people were concerned about collaborating with people at remote locations is now obsolete. The real concern is BIM expertise. Finding a great blend of BIM expertise and knowledge of construction processes and technicalities is very rare. 

Another concern while outsourcing BIM is communication. If the third partly service provider claims that they are the best when it comes to communication and BIM expertise, is this enough?

The onus of due diligence lies on you!! Do not engage the service provider without prior research and talking to their representatives in detail. Also do not associate yourself with the BIM experts for full fledged BIM projects. It is advisable to start with working on a small segment of the building information modeling requirement.

Once these projects translate into successful execution, and you feel sure that the third party BIM service provider is reliable, will be able to fulfill your BIM requirements and also scale up capabilities as and when required, then this association can be converted into a partnership.

Some might insist that having an in-house facility is still a better idea as you have full control of the project, I completely disagree. An in-house team not only means hiring experts locally but also involves the challenges of retaining these experts.

While you can count on your BIM partner to deliver services as and when required, the same faith cannot be entrusted on an employee as he may leave you for a better opportunity elsewhere.

The ultimate goal of having an in-house team or out sourcing is to avail the best BIM services, be it 3D BIM, BIM scheduling, green building design or facility management using BIM. Besides when you are working on as built structures, point cloud to BIM is also another expertise that you might require.

Hence engaging a versatile service provider/BIM expert who can cater to comprehensive virtual design and construction requirements is the right thing to do.

About Author: Nikunj Patel is a design engineer working with Hi-Tech CADD Services for the past 4 years. He loves designing specialized industrial equipments and can always be found in the lab discussing, brainstorming & tweaking designs. He has also worked on architectural projects taking interest in every aspect of design & analysis.

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