Getting Started with BIM

The subject can come across as too technical with too much jargon. I remember attending my first BIM conference back in 2012 thinking – what the hell?

My personal take on BIM has remained uncomplicated.

If you own or work for a construction product manufacturer yet to make a start with BIM, you no doubt have some questions.

What is BIM?

Think of it as Better Information Management.

BIM is an opportunity to go digital with the manufacturing process. A way to improve the handling of product data to increase quality and efficiency.

Why should we invest in BIM?

Well, my angle was to deliver faster, better products to our customers (more later). But, also consider specifiers may request BIM objects of your products.

Do you provide CAD blocks? Most likely. So why not intelligent BIM objects that allow specifiers to design within the constraints of your systems?

Will BIM get us specified?

From experience being first to market will give you an advantage over competitors. BIM has helped me raise the profile of Cubicle Centre to specifiers.

Bare in mind demand for BIM objects is higher than ever and there are some points below you should consider.

BIM content for specifiers

I have written a separate post on BIM content for specifiers so I won’t touch on that here.

This aside, you have two options.

1. Do you have in-house skills?

If so utilise these, up-skill if possible and create your own content.

Make sure you adhere to standards. See the Bimstore BIM Bible or the NBS BIM Object Standard. This ensures a level of consistency in the industry and will keep you in the good books.

2. If in-house is not an option, then your search for a content creator begins.

Lead-time could be an issue for you here due to high demand. If you’re serious about getting BIM objects, my advice is crack on.

Every man and his dog claim to author BIM objects now. Prices range from a few hundred quid to thousands (and I mean THOUSANDS).

Find a specialist with an established reputation for creating content. Also make sure you own the content afterwards. These are two key factors for me. From experience, Bimstore get my recommendation here.

Final note on BIM objects

You know your products better than anyone else. Don’t just send your brochure to the content creators and leave it at that. Invest some time and get involved. Make sure your BIM objects function as your products do.

Justifying investment in BIM

If investment is for specifier BIM objects alone then your experience will differ from my own. But, if you have done your research and got specifiers onboard, the investment could soon pay for itself.

BIM for me was first about improving the manufacturing process. Specifier content was secondary. As our knowledge and understanding of BIM progressed, so did our focus on specifier content.

I’ll cover how BIM is improving the manufacturing process at Cubicle Centre in a separate post soon.

The fact that I could show increased quality and efficiency in-house with BIM made justifying the cost much easier for me.

What can YOU do today?

1. Investigate what part of the manufacturing process (handling of product data) you could improve?

2. Talk to architects and designers who currently specify your products. Are they taking the BIM route?

3. Visit BIM Diary and find the next event in your local area. Get yourself there and ask lots of questions. The UK BIM community are helpful and don’t bite. I recommend BIM4SME as a good starting point.


  1. Claire Bowles

    4. Become regulars at thinkBIM !!!! – when you are not too busy breaking bones that is !! :)

    • Craig Sewell

      Good addition Claire.

      If you’re based in Yorkshire (even if you’re not), you should come to a ThinkBIM evening.

      ThinkBIM has helped me understand what BIM is to different roles in Construction. As a manufacturer, this information has been useful in helping me develop a BIM strategy.

      PS – I’m almost fixed so will be back at ThinkBIM soon.

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