Years ago, I was on a project with a complicated and unusual waterproofing detail at the parapet caps. Post framing, it became clear that the original system would present several areas of MAJOR concern. A site meeting was called, and the issue was handled as most field issues are; we agreed on the fastest, most cost-efficient solution that the roofer, the contractor and I knew would pose the LEAST risk of future leaks. The three of us were happy. Problem solved, right? Wrong. In our effort to reduce our risk, and maintain project schedules and budget, we had neglected to consider the Architect’s design intent for the overall aesthetics of the project. Our solution, while practical, stuck out like a sore thumb.
How often do waterproofing conditions arise at a point in the project when risk, time and budget trump all else in the decision process?
Enter BIM: Many contractors have already tapped into the benefits of leveraging models for better project outcomes. Coordinating models and detecting potential clashes in 3D, for example, has revolutionized preconstruction. Resolving complex issues, before they happen in the field, saves time and money.
Similarly, 3D models can be a huge benefit to any waterproofing subcontractor. Most of the waterproofing details live in the details and specs, but having a model to reference for general project understanding can provide incredible value.
- Reduce Risk – Models provide a distinct advantage over 2D plans, and even photos for identifying unusual or difficult project conditions. Identifying and communicating the challenge areas early in the process gets more parties involved and allows more time to find the ‘best’ not the ‘quickest’ solution. The last thing any waterproofing company needs are hasty decisions to complex issues, just to meet project deadlines.
- Better Project Understanding – If a picture is worth a thousand words, a model is worth two thousand. With the ability to zoom, rotate, measure, extract quantity information, filter and analyze properties, models provide more complete insight into the project. During bidding, specs and details can, at times, be hazy or undefined. A model, even in its early stages, can add another layer of much needed information.
- Save time – Quickly isolate systems and scopes, extract quantities, drill down on material information or focus in on question areas. Whether your team is using models as a reference to supplement a traditional 2D workflow, or fully relying on models for quantity and project information, model based estimating can save hours or days of an estimator’s time.
- Communicate – Highlighting an issue area, or tagging an RFI directly to a model eliminates any ambiguity on the location and/or elements involved in the issue. With today’s ability to share and view models in the cloud, contractors and subs streamline communication and reduce emails, phone calls, site walks, etc…
- Document – Ever wake up to the sound of rain and immediately think about that creative flashing change you made to address that funky one-off spot? Or, even more importantly, whether you remembered to get the superintendent to sign off on the change, then file it in the right place? Utilizing models won’t eliminate all changes, or document changes for you. However, models provide the ability to ID areas that aren’t addressed in the details and specs, communicate that out, and update the model with what was completed, in a single, easily accessed, data point.
If you’re interested in exploring how your firm can utilize models to achieve any of the benefits above, or would like to hear about our structured trial, go to our website or reach out to the Assemble team directly.
Brent Ramos is an experienced Estimator, Project Manager and Licensed Contractor. Over the past 5 years Brent worked with design manufacturing, infrastructure and building companies to successfully implement CAD and BIM technologies. Currently, Brent is broadening the democratization of BIM data at Assemble Systems. Brent and his wife Tamara live in Folsom, California with their four children.
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