Expand Construction Pte Ltd

Expand Construction shares their experience in BIM implementation and how BIM has benefited them.

Expand Construction Pte Ltd

Expand Construction Pte Ltd

1. Q: Your company has applied for funding under BCA’s BIM Fund. Without the funding, would your company have embarked on BIM? If yes, why and if no, why?
A:  For our first few BIM projects we have actually been contractually required by the client that we undertake to do it for coordination. So with or without BCA’s BIM fund, we would eventually encounter clients who would require BIM, or projects with exceptional complexity that we would have to explore other sophisticated means for project coordination. It is because of our experience with those first projects that we decided to set up a small permanent department to undertake organizational BIM deployment.

2. Q: Some of the challenges faced by companies in implementing BIM are the change in mindset and manpower training. In these aspects, how does your company help the staff transit from 2D to 3D modelling and motivate them to go for training? What are the training programmes that your company has or intend to put in place to build up your staff member’s capability and capacity in BIM?
A:  We found that the most effective way to change mindsets and to transition smoothly into new processes is to show exactly how it is relevant, beneficial, and most importantly, doable, in their current work.

To jumpstart firm-wide BIM implementation, we opted to hire three experienced BIM coordinators/modellers to form the permanent core group. This approach shows results far more quickly as compared to training selected drafters from scratch especially with the knowledge that software mastery takes time and a lot of trial-and-error to gain experience. The BIM core team immediately starts work developing and coordinating a BIM project while simultaneously working out the technicalities of easing the rest of the firm into new technology. This included setting up BIM company standards, populate our resource library, as well conducting hands-on training for the current drafting team on how to view the model and set, annotate, and extract all of the drawings they need for shop drawing submission.

This setup is doubly beneficial in that there is no learning hindrance at all to model development, and at the same time the drafting personnel have quickly picked up the new technology because they have been taught specific features of the software that are immediately useful and applicable to their current work. After that, teaching them more commands and actual modelling became much more straightforward and there is no more need for them to undergo vendor training. Our way of training is by guided immediate application. Learning then becomes very personalized, efficient, and much more in-depth.


3. Q: Can you give us one or two examples of other issues your company faced with implementing BIM in your projects and how they were overcome?
A:  Even though we had no major problems developing and coordinating all trades through BIM, we are still being required shop drawings in standard formats as final output for submission and approval. Because the industry has yet not reached a level of sophistication which allows for BIM shop drawings submission, our immediate and most obvious challenge then was to translate our coordinated models into 2D form in a way that retains the conventional format of presentation in CAD.

The problem was that it is not only very time consuming, but it is also very regressive.  We were able to overcome this by developing our own custom Revit templates coupled with CAD layer export mapping files which were able to result to a very close mimic of the the final shop drawing presentation. This meant customizing a lot of things, but in the end we were able to reap time savings in shop drawing production. Currently, we are even further developing our templates so that everything can be set and printed through purely Revit without needing to refine anything in CAD.


4. Q: Can you share with us some of the lessons learnt in your company’s BIM implementation and what are the things that other companies should look out for when implementing BIM?
A:  What everyone needs to understand is that BIM is not a software. It is a process and a mindset. Training, hardware, and software are not the only ingredients required for a firm to be considered as really “doing BIM”. And for this reason, it is important to be aware that in order for deployment to be successful, a company should be prepared to make investments in not just the tangible, but also the intangible – investment in time, energy, support, and a can-do attitude for everyone involved.

5. Q: With BIM becoming more widely adopted in the international arena, how will your company prepare for this new era of using BIM technologies for projects?
A:  Typically, in order keep abreast with the pace of advancement in construction technology, you have to be consistently immersed in trends and new developments. In our case, it is not so much of a struggle because we have cultivated an attitude of continuous growth and learning. When it comes to BIM, we have always asked the hardest questions, identify the most difficult challenges, and aspire for mastery.  We do not strive to do everything all at once, but set small realistic goals and achieve them one at a time.

6. Q: What else do you think BCA can do to help the industry move beyond just 3D modelling and project collaboration in BIM?
A:  For us, the holy grail of BIM is a fully integrated workflow through the entire lifecycle of the project. It is not merely about different parties having to learn modelling software, analytical software, estimating software, simulation software and so on. The key is always integration. The industry has a lot to learn in streamlining the processes by pushing coordination further upstream, developing and encouraging value-added services downstream, and integrating all information in order to eliminate silos and reduce redundancy of work. BIM offers a great wealth of information and yet it largely goes untapped.

But in order for the entire industry to want to do more in BIM technology, each firm has to overcome its own hurdle firsts. We really feel that the initial learning curve is very steep in a way that any firm might reach a junction where abandoning efforts will look tempting as compared to struggling to push forward. For this, we think that strong technical support is very much needed apart from introductory training because the true difficulty lies in the actual implementation.

Expand Construction Pte Ltd

Expand Construction Pte Ltd