Joeris is a leader in overcoming this slow-to-adopt mentality. Through a bit of trial and error, the firm is successfully driving efficiency gains with Assemble. Using it as a tool for model data in preconstruction, they are driving increased collaboration and shortening the preconstruction timeline.
“This tool allows you to have an experience similar to one you would have with a company like Amazon, getting the information you want quickly,” said Andy Gajbhiye, Joeris’ Director of Construction Technologies, citing how Assemble enables quick communication and fast decision making.
How does it do this? The list is comprehensive, from enabling a proactive conversation between estimating and design, to early identification of construction gaps and challenges.
These benefits, however, were not gained at Joeris through a simple plug-and-play. Rather, through a strategic recognition that adding models in preconstruction workflows required a shift in staff mindset.
Adopting new technology is a journey, one which Joeris admits wasn’t a success initially. “We have been doing model-based cost estimating since 2013. We had a different implementation strategy where we put the BIM department at the head of the implementation, which was a mistake. Just because it is a BIM model doesn’t mean the BIM department should lead the process. BIM is really a tool that makes the estimating process better,” states Senior Estimator Daniel Olivares.
The firm highlights two major lessons learned. First, is this realization that the estimators needed to be empowered to drive the implementation as it was their process that was being modified.
Second, in their initial attempt to train estimators on BIM model use, the training was a one-size-fits-all large class. Staff were trained - and then went right back to doing things the way they always had.
But Joeris did not give up. Rather, they learned from their mistakes and developed a new strategic approach to implementation with the rollout of Assemble. They piloted it on two projects.
Project 1: A Church Education Building - The initial design included a worship center, administration wing and education wing. When the first estimate was returned with a $20 million budget, the owner had to scale back. Assemble was used in the design phase to apply construction data to the model for transparent communication between construction management (CM), owner and design team.
Project 2: Elementary School Prototype - Here the architect shared the model on a weekly basis as part of a standard design process. Joeris used Assemble to monitor design progress and changes, proactively asking questions and delivering input from the estimating team. Olivares, who led the pilot process, explains the accuracy modeling can have on the final estimate, “From our schematic design estimate to our bid day, we were within 0.5% of our initial estimate when the numbers came in.”
Olivares notes, “Being able to update our estimate on a weekly basis helped the design team steer their design. Steering that design process is the goal of the Construction Manager.”
With a growing body of successfully piloted implementations at a project level, Joeris now has a tried-and-true method to help its team members adopt the use of construction data during preconstruction.
Their method is comprehensive:
As this strategy evolved, Joeris began to realize their real goal was not to implement a new tool, but to develop estimating staff to be ‘VDC - enabled.’ Gajbhiye concludes that this change is rooted in the mindset, “True change is 90% psychology. You have to show teams what the value of uptake would be in their daily lives, telling a story of how doing nothing is ultimately more painful than change.”
In the end, Joeris had a robust story of practical benefits of using construction data in preconstruction. They note five process evolutions that have made adoption worth the effort for their teams:
Gained through a dedicated trial and error process of driving change, Joeris is an example of how smart technology combined with strategic implementation can further the adoption of models and construction data to benefit collaboration during preconstruction.