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Closing the gap on pre-construction problems

The pre-construction decisions that structural engineers make between bidding for a project and starting the work often determine the final outcome. Such decisions also influence client satisfaction. 

Without the right data and processes, it can be a chaotic period where poor understanding drives slow and poor decision-making. But by creating a truly constructible Building Information Model, structural engineers are on the path to on-site success.

Winning a bid is rewarding for the whole team. It moves a project from speculative planning in the office to physical work on-site, brings cash into the company, and serves as another solid reference in your portfolio. It also increases your potential to win even bigger projects next time.
At least, that’s the way it should work out... 

But when a project is swept away by dismay at cost overruns, material challenges, schedule changes, and other unforeseen variables, then winning a bid can feel like a curse for structural specialists and contractors. Instead of celebrating, you’re now thinking – perhaps even screaming – “How did we get ourselves into this mess!?”
When things go wrong, it’s usually due to inadequate data, poor sharing of information, and sub-optimal planning in the early phases of the project. This is what we at Tekla call “the chaos band.” It’s that messy chasm between design intent and the reality of planning for on-site execution that can quickly turn a project from a dream to a nightmare. 
The phase between bidding and winning is often short, with new information coming in right up until the bid is submitted. Change requests can even come in after the project is awarded, as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing plans create new interdependencies that you need to address – often in ways that impact time and cost.
The solution is to introduce truly constructible Building Information Modeling (BIM) right from the start to ensure consistency and alignment between the designers in the back office and the contractors onsite.

Discover how DPR Construction bids with a solid plan by engaging the team and creating an accurate 3D Model using Tekla Structures.

By adopting constructible BIM processes to deliver coordinated and complete designs, structural engineering offices can completely transform their work – while also staying ahead of the competition.

Enhancing project-deliverable plans with digital models

It’s always great news when a project request comes in, and the team can get to work on a bid. But the bid is only going to be as good as the information that’s available to base it on. Some project requests may be comprehensive in their descriptions about what needs to be built, while others leave you guessing about schedules, quantities, materials, and more.
This is why it’s not uncommon for contractors to look back at old bids as a template for creating a new one. When there is scant information to base a bid on, the best bet is often to dig out an existing one and make some tweaks that align it as closely as possible with the requirements of the new request.
Unfortunately, this is where problems often begin – especially in offices in transition to BIM or that have yet to commit to digital transformation. The old bid may have taken place many years prior, and the people who put it together may no longer work with the company. The project may not have even been successful!
Without an accurate record of information, it’s impossible to know whether the old bid is a good model for the new one. If it’s not, then that almost certainly translates into problems further down the line – taking you deep into the nightmare of the chaos band…
Ensuring constructability is a cure to this chaos – both for present and future projects. You need to know that at every stage, what you are designing – which may be changing all the time – is indeed aligned with the brief and feasible to build on time and budget.

This means bringing in BIM right from the start.

BIM brings out the best

For Tekla, constructability is at heart of the BIM software that we produce, making the entire construction process more automated and accurate – from the design phase to the construction phase. Constructability speeds up the whole process, and the accuracy of the information brings confidence to everyone involved in the project.

People who haven’t used BIM often think of the technology only in its simplest form, i.e. project visualization in 3D and some clash detection. While these basic benefits of BIM are indeed hugely beneficial, the full potential of a digital model lies in the fact that it can represent data on almost any aspect of a construction project – including how interdependencies impact one another as information changes. This is what constructability is all about.
BIM brings together people, technology, and data so that everyone can do their best work and communicate effectively. Prototypes of just one aspect of a project – or of the whole thing – can be shared with the entire team at the touch of a button. With everyone referring to the same model, there is less room for miscommunication and misunderstanding. 

In short, there is less chaos.

Discover how DPR Construction bids with a solid plan by engaging the team and creating an accurate 3D Model using Tekla Structures.

Visit our solution pages to learn more about how we can help with your next steps of the constructible process.