The traditional construction market is the worst market imaginable for the consumer. For many people it is simply impossible to navigate.
Consider the opposite: a Farmer’s Market. Here is a fellow with some nice peaches. 89 cents per pound.. They look fine, you pick one up and it has a nice firm feel to it. He has some slices of peaches are in a bowl right there. You taste one on a toothpick. Ummm. You have a pretty good idea of the peach quality and cost. He has cases of them right there. Delivery isn’t going to be a problem, either.
Now, consider a construction project. Say you want to add to your house because you are expanding your family. There is still some time, but there isn’t enough bedrooms in the house. You call an architect, the normal business arrangements are made and you meet with the fellow. The questions arise about cost and time, the architect doesn’t have a good idea of either one yet, but both you and the architect try to hammer out some general parameters.
Add a bedroom. And a bath? Ok, and a bathroom. Heating, lighting, access, impact on other rooms are all discussed. The architect tells you about the phases of the design process. Schematics, Design Development, Construction Drawings and you go through all of that. You still don’t know what it is going to cost or how long it will take. You have some idea, but you don’t have any guarantees. You assume the quality will be top drawer, because of the assurances of the architect about the builders in the area, but you don’t know that either.
The drawings haven’t even been given to any contractors by this time, because you don’t want bid protests that one of the bidders had an early chance to view them. At the last meeting your spouse asks the architect, “Where on the drawings is the Front Door?” This actually happened to a friend of mine. One of the owners couldn’t read the drawings at all. They were just lines on paper, going this way and that, but didn’t translate into a room, a home, or a vision of anything. Many people do not get any image from drawings, it isn’t uncommon.
You hardly know if your family will be satisfied with the project. You still don’t know basic facts and until the project is nearly half done, months later. You knew much more about that peach at the farmer's market, but this project is going to cost thousands of times more than the peach. And this was just going to be a bedroom addition, a relatively small construction project. It is no wonder that some people break out into hives when they think about construction.
This does not need to be this way. With BIM, we can show you what the design will look like in a three dimensional model on a computer screen. We can model the costs, so that you can know information about cost right from the beginning. You can set the budget and see what you can afford to build. We can engage a builder on an hourly basis in a role called, “design-assist” and gain information about current new products and costs. A contractor can create a schedule so you will know how long this kind of project usually takes.
It is time for the construction industry to evolve into the information age and our clients will know much more about each project much sooner as a result.