The benefits of using BIM for MEP layout are overwhelmingly positive. However, adopting this new process is not without a learning curve. For seasoned foremen like Tom Brown, a leading foreman’s instructor with Nelson-Carlson, learning a new technology and adopting BIM takes some getting used to. “Many mechanical and plumbing shops are in a constant struggle to turn a profit. Contractors need to start making money immediately following their BIM investment, which can be a tall order without the right training,” he says.
Brown, who uses the Leica 3D Disto for 3D layout, says that though the entry-level layout robot did not require a lot of initial training, it did require a fair amount of repetition – and having strong CAD modeling capabilities was a must.
Adopting the BIM process also resulted in employees adopting new roles, he says.
“BIM requires us to look at our work in a more systematic way, which demands effort and change on everyone’s part,” says Brown. “Building information modeling is a new process. It’s a new and more efficient way of doing business. But although better, it is still different. We all need to be willing to reexamine our roles if we want to stay relevant and efficient.”
Though Nelson-Carlson leveraged Leica Geosystems’ follow-up training on the equipment, Brown admits they could have taken more advantage of its services – especially in the beginning while learning how to use the new software.
“We didn’t take advantage of Leica’s services nearly as often as we should have,” he says. “Too many times, I struggled with the 3D Disto or the software where if I had just sent an e-mail or made a phone call, I would have had an immediate solution.”
Ultimately, Brown says, when it comes to learning a new technology, training is absolutely critical to success.
“If you have a commitment to the technology, but not the training, then you don’t have a commitment to the technology,” says Brown. “It would be like buying an airplane and saying, ‘we don’t have enough money left to learn how to fly’.”
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