A note from the CEO: “This pandemic affects the entire world: every single person, independent of race, creed or nationality. It allows for a moment in time that everyone can look back and relate to: a truly global and shared experience. It's my hope that the outcome of this new reality is unity, peace and a positive force that crosses all boundaries. Through collective action, and a commitment to helping each other, we will all get through this, together.”
- Mark Oden, CEO, BIM Designs, Inc.
What is BIM-in-a-Box?
BIM Designs’ unique BIM-in-a-Box product bundle is the optimized, single-source solution for the hardware, software, service and consulting needs of construction organizations transitioning to remote operations.
The Shift to Remote Working
The construction industry is undergoing a paradigm shift due to the coronavirus pandemic. Construction companies and contractors accustomed to face-to-face, onsite, hands-on work environments have had to react rapidly to newly-implemented social distancing protocols. For construction business, quickly pivoting to a 100% remote working approach, while trying to keep projects moving forward, maintaining contractor safety and protecting budgets is daunting, to say the least. BIM Designs can help construction companies quickly and effectively navigate this uncertainty and change.
Well before COVID-19 altered the way construction work gets done, BIM Designs was and continues to be, a nearly 100% telework organization. Founded in 2016, BIM Designs is a full-MEP engineering and Virtual Design for Construction (VDC) consulting firm, providing MEPF design, detailing, and laser scanning solutions to contractors and AEC firms.
“We built this company in a way that we all work remotely, already. We designed this from the ground up, and for the last two years, we’ve built systems and processes and efficiencies all around working remotely. When it comes to COVID-19, our operations were not phased and we never lost a beat,” stated BIM Designs’ CEO, Mark Oden.
Construction companies confronted with unexpected remote working challenges need a partner that not only knows the industry but also has deep experience building and deploying robust, powerful, and multi-faceted telecommute ecosystems.
“We are strongly positioned to advise construction companies on telecommuting, and, if needed, to manage the entire process for them, including sourcing and deploying the tools required” he added. “That’s why we created our own BIM-in-a-Box package.”
BIM Designs’ BIM-in-a-Box is the only resource a construction company would need to quickly build and order a VDC workstation for a BIM team member, complete with the suite of tools required to keep them delivering as contractors transition their workflows to accommodate remote working.
BIM Designs and its affiliates will provide the custom-built hardware infrastructure already optimized for your VDC detailing team, all with a three-year hardware warranty. The company also dropships everything a work-from-home detailer might need to get up and running in a telework environment. This includes, delivering desktop computers, programmable mice, keyboards, monitors, and headsets with the pre-requisite software already installed directly to their home.
“We’ve spent the time deciding what the parts and pieces are, and we can save our customers the time of researching, building and supporting what’s needed. We know exactly what to order and how to manage it because we’ve been doing this ourselves for years,” stated Oden.
Each BIM-in-a-Box will come pre-installed with the following software suite, and customizations are available upon request. Software licenses will continue to be managed through the software provider or reseller;
- AutoCAD, Fabrication CADmep, Navisworks Manage, Navisworks Freedom and Revit 2018, 2019 and 2020
- Autodesk A360 Desktop
- Bluebeam Revu 2018
- Antivirus and IT Support Software
- Windows 10 Pro and Microsoft Office
More traditional construction companies that use on-premise, on-site servers will now have to move to cloud-based solutions and offsite servers to accommodate increased telework demand.
“It’s not just what software you choose, it’s how you use and apply it in the BIM world. It’s not just the what, it’s also the how,” Oden stated.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to the software side.
- What cloud-based solution do you choose?
- What cloud service, or SaaS, is best?
- What synchronous meeting and collaboration tools would you use (Zoom or WebEx)?
- Which asynchronous communication tools should you deploy (Slack, WebEx Teams, or Microsoft Teams)?
- How do you handle remote project management and productivity?
- How do you manage AutoCAD and Revit remotely?
The company has its preferred software applications for collaboration, including Dropbox, Asana, Slack, and Zoom. However, BIM Designs can integrate other applications that make sense for specific company needs. The company also has strong file access control protocols in place to protect its clients’ intellectual property and data.
“Given our years of experience, our success from working from home, and that we haven’t missed a beat during the COVID-19 crisis, we’re in a really unique position to help construction companies transition to telework environments. We can also help take on projects that have suffered because of this crisis,” stated Oden. “We’re here to help get the construction industry through this difficult time and come out on the other side stronger and more efficient than before it happened.”
IT Services and Consulting
BIM-in-a-Box also includes 2 months of BIM Designs’ IT services, provided by its affiliates, which can help monitor, troubleshoot and support your deployment. This service includes antivirus, live phone support, patch management, and 24/7 safety checks for your first 2 months as well as 2 hours of remote-access support within those 2 months, all included in the base price.
BIM Designs' consulting division can help a variety of companies identify the ‘what’ and then help determine the ‘how’, where its team can help source hardware, advise construction companies on what software choices they could make, and how best to implement telework capabilities.
BIM Designs addresses part of the 'how' by using an Agile software development methodology. Agile is a concept used in the tech industry by companies like Cisco Systems to build process efficiencies and is similar to Lean Six Sigma applied in the manufacturing space and other industries.
“We take elements of Agile and bring it into the construction world. We’re a hybrid hi-tech and construction company — that’s who we are at our core — and BIM-in-a-Box can help replicate this hybrid approach rapidly, even at construction companies that have highly traditional work setups,” Oden said.
BIM Designs will help build the hardware, select the best software, and then create Agile processes that amplify tech benefits via maximizing staff efficiency. For example, the BIM Designs team has used the Agile concept, “Scrum”, for years.
Within the Scrum framework is the “stand up”, a daily kickoff meeting that includes the “Scrum Team” comprised of technical team members, the project manager, and the quality assurance lead. The focus of the “Scrum” are these three items:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What are you doing today?
- And what are you blocked by?
When led properly by the project manager, the meeting is very efficient, reducing hour-long meetings to 10 to 15 minutes and pushing blocking issues to follow-up conversations.
“In nearly 100% of remote working environments, workplace culture becomes a priority, so we’ve built in water cooler talk segments into our stand ups. We reserve a few minutes to talk about some topics to mix culture into the telework environment. Each BIM Designs scrum master has their own niche topic, like safety, for example, or the Tip of the Day,” stated Oden. “Chris Hendershot, Ramone Thomas, and Vince Adams on our team do a great job of keeping our team close and our culture strong.”
A Commitment to Relationships
TDIndustries, a premier construction and facilities services company out of Dallas, Texas, recently partnered with the BIM Designs team to help push a challenging project forward. Jason McGowan, Senior Lead VDC Designer with TDIndustries, worked closely with BIM Designs to provide a tightly scheduled deliverable and came away impressed not only with the company’s ability to produce results but also with its focus on building relationships.
“I really appreciate Mark and his team because they see the value in creating relationships. For BIM Designs, it’s not just about having a quick turnaround and being able to call someone and jump on the project, bang it out, walk away, and collect a check. BIM Designs is fully aligned with one of TDIndustries’ primary core values, which is to build and maintain trusting relationships,” stated McGowan.
“I really find value in BIM Designs’ commitment to building a trusting relationship with us,” he added.
BIM Designs’ detailing team is ready to help contractors navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and emerge from it stronger, more efficient, more productive, and better positioned for growth.
Reach out to us, today. We are ready to help.
About the Author
Steve Couch is the Strategic Account Manager for BIM Designs, Inc. He manages the marketing and sales teams for the company, while maintaining and furthering client and community relationships.