The famous 18th century statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke once said, “Good order is the foundation of all things.” Obviously, he was not speaking directly about BIM content management, but anyone who has dealt with managing such content knows this saying rings true.
Any design professional working in the industry understands how difficult and time consuming BIM content management can be without the right platform in place. As libraries and content grow over the course of time, it can be overwhelming to keep track of all the content that has been accumulated from project to project.
Unfortunately, the typical file folder structure on today’s operating systems does not lend itself to finding and managing BIM content in an efficient way. What typically happens is design professionals pour through old project files searching for content they’ve used in the past, only to not find it or realize it’s not what they need.
What is BIM Content Management?
So, what exactly is BIM content management? It is so much more than simply storing and finding content. It is a solution that facilitates the collecting, ordering, sorting, searching, updating, auditing, and archiving of content.
Fortunately, there are many BIM content management solutions available today. Hive, Avail, Content Studio, Kinship and of course UNIFI all provide BIM content management. You can see how these platforms compare to one another here or listen to Marcello Sgambelluri’s content management evaluation here.
What’s Wrong with Using a File Folder Structure to Manage my BIM Content?
Sadly, ignoring problems does not make them go away. As stated by Earl Wilson, “Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough.”
In a world of do’s and do not’s, all design firms have two choices: ignore the problems they are currently facing by not using a BIM content management system or bite the bullet and implement said system. It can be a scary and difficult proposition, but all design firms, no matter the size, should seriously consider adopting a BIM content management system.
One thing to keep in mind prior to implementing any BIM content management system is first, how you want to set up your library structure, and second, setting up a standard naming convention for your content. Implementing these two practices will keep your content organized and allow users to not only quickly find content, but also recognize what the content is by the name alone.
Is the Cost of a BIM Content Management System Really Worth It?
As with all big purchases, making the decision to adopt a BIM content management system can be time consuming and difficult. Many questions need to be answered. How much will it cost? How difficult is the implementation? What is the return on investment (ROI)? Therein lies the conundrum.
Consider the following case study conducted by UNIFI in January of 2019. Nearly 100 clients were polled regarding search capabilities. Customers provided a range (low to high) of searches per week per designer. Customers provided a range (low to high) of how many minutes it took to search and find content prior to utilizing UNIFI, and after implementing UNIFI. UNIFI compiled the low range on both survey questions to provide hard numbers for firms to understand ROI. UNIFI recognizes that these figures do not provide the full value of ROI as it is limited only to search and load exercises; however, this should provide an adequate representation of a starting point for a firm’s value in implementation.
The following numbers are based on a firm size of 25 users with an average salary of $65,000 per year:
“After 5 years of a competitor product with little implementation and user interest… We switched to UNIFI with what could be described as a 10 fold increase in usage by our teams.”
– Mike Engel, Design Technology Manager – ESG
As one can see, based on these numbers a firm with only 25 users can save more than $125,000 per year. This study also only takes into account searching and loading of content. Most BIM content management systems will provide many more features than just searching and loading of content. The survey also only takes into account the user’s salary and not lost revenue based on the firm’s billable hours so it’s easy to see how a quality BIM content management system will pay for itself.
BIM content management systems have steadily progressed and become readily available. Not implementing such a system can be a detriment to any firm not utilizing these resources. As shown, the payoff is well worth the time and cost of implementing a BIM content management system. The real question that needs to be posed is, “Can I afford to wait?” If the answer is no, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a demo today.