BIM and the construction product sales process.

BIM and the construction product sales process.

The Commercial Department of the Manufacturing company will sell more if its strategy is to offer its clients (Architecture, engineering, construction companies) technical specification services based on BIM.

We know that selling products in the construction industry is difficult, either because of the existing aggressive competition or because of a price war that the salesperson often has to contend with in order to make a sale.


The change of technologies requires a change of mentality in the sales strategy


However, the rules of the game change when the manufacturer can help his client solve a problem, either at the design stage or during the execution of the project. In this case, the manufacturer is involved in the result, providing their knowledge about the product and technical experience in its applications, generating a relationship of trust that seeks to retain the customer. In short, its the Technical Specification Department that helps improve the sales ratio for the Sales Department. This fact or strategy is not new; there are many companies that offer their technical department services. But are these technical departments adapted to BIM?

BIM is for many the future, but for other companies it is the present. There are manufacturers and professionals who have already made the jump to BIM through an economic investment (purchase of software, hardware, qualified personnel, training courses, etc.) and knowledge (through implementation and experience). The truth is that BIM companies and professionals are more efficient and competitive in the provision of their services and this radically changes the rules of the game as construction is not done in the same manner anymore and this directly influences the sales process.


A branded BIM object is a work tool for the professional and for the company that provides this file. It is an opportunity for the brand to be present in the project. It is increasingly common to see in public or private bids that the projects are required to be presented in BIM, generating a technical demand in the market. If we add that the manufacturer that has its BIM library collaborates in the design process contributing its technical experience in BIM, the circle closes; since not only does the manufacturer know that the professional has received the files, but it knows that they are speficied in the project because they have participated directly in the design phase. For all this, having a BIM technical department is to take advantage of business opportunities.


Is the manufacturer prepared to offer these services?

The truth is that there are already several companies in Spain (+ 350 manufacturing companies) and in the world that have developed a BIM library, to a greater or lesser extent, but very few that offer technical assistance services in BIM in projects . This makes us think “What are they waiting for?”


It has been that most manufacturers have only made a first initial investment that helps them say they are already in BIM, but the truth is that they are not taking advantage of all the potential offered by this methodology. I say “methodology” because exactly what BIM offers is the opportunity for the manufacturer to participate in the process, providing information and knowledge to the project. The Manufacturer is more a collaborative Agent in BIM processes.


Also, to be able to participate and have the possibility to be chosen as a Partner, it is necessary to have the right team that can provide effective assistance (to do BIM and not simple 3D modeling). That is, to have a staff that has the skills and experience necessary to meet the needs of the client. This is to warn that not all CVs that we receive who claim to be BIM Manager or experts in BIM are of use (since there is a lot mis-representation in some CVs), and this is detected by presenting a knowledge test. In the interview itself present Real case scenario, the software and the means to solve it. if the applicant succeeds, he may be part of your staff, if not, it is better not to gamble with your company’s image.

Cost of Opportunity Vs Investment to generate a BIM technical department

Incorporating a BIM Technical Department in an initial or early stage in the manufacturing company can be costly or unprofitable if the “effective demand for its services” is not known. In other words, the risk of the investment can be high, if the volume of real need for the service is not detected.

We know that more projects are being constructed using BIM and that it is a new venue to be present in and sell, but how to do it and what strategy is implemented can make the difference between achieving success or creating a disappointment.

You have to reduce the risk. For this there are two strategies that if applied together will give good commercial results: 1st is contracting a quality outsourcing service and 2nd is a strategy of promotion and recruitment of professionals

Hiring a quality Outsourcing service

As discussed in previous entries, investing in an early or initial phase in generating a BIM technical department can be costly and risky. A good formula is to hire external experts to help in that first phase since to know if the critical mass of technical assistance requests is sufficient to justify an investment in having our own department, or not.

Important point, if you hire external services make sure they are qualified experts and offer guarantees in the service since they will speak in the name of your brand.

Promotion strategy and recruitment of professionals

Having an internal or external department of technical services in BIM is the first step, but it is not enough. If you can not promote and properly engage users who need your services you will be increasing the cost of the investment because it will ultimately be based on the results achieved.

Therefore, an adequate communication strategy must be drawn up, analyzing who can provide communication services focused on BIM and databases of BIM professionals. Not all agencies and media are specialized in BIM, even if they are dedicated to the construction industry and have a base of construction professionals. Remember that “a BIM professional is an Construction industry professional, but not all Construction industry professionals are BIM professionals. ”


Finally, filter the requests for assistance in projects, since depending on the needs and projects the technical department can provide the added value needed for the sales team to make a sale.



Specification with BIM is a tool for the professional

Specification with BIM is a tool for the professional

BIM allows the professional (architects, engineers, BIM managers, etc.) to take more and better measurements in a project thanks to the interrelated information between parameters. The queries that can be made about the BIM model can be varied and multiple, depending on the quantity and quality of data contained in the project.

The quantity take offs that a BIM model yields will depend on the data needs and the BIM software available in the market, for example, if the professional has specified branded BIM objects these can be measured by a software that allows to take budgets. With this measurement, the professional will be able to know the items, individual and total prices of the products, quantities, middlemen, suppliers, etc. Once you know this information you will have a complete report (structured and / or itemized budget) which will help you in the purchase process.



The BIM object that the company contributes becomes a work tool for the professional as it provides contrasted and validated information of their product, avoiding potential errors in specification and bill of materials, in this case the professional only has to incorporate the product file into the project model. On the other hand, when it is the professional who generates his own BIM file with reference to a Brand, it may be that the specified product information is not validated, or the information may be expired, it will be erroneous, or the product will simply no longer be available in the market. In this case the quantity takeoff will be incorrect, causing errors and extra costs to the general project. Here the responsibility falls on the professional who prescribed it and not the company mentioned in the object.

In this sense we can say that a manufacturer, or distributor of products or construction materials, when it provides a professional with its qualty BIM library, is helping them go about a job more efficiently and safely because the product information is contrasted with the brand and its product policies.



A higher level in this type of relationship is when the company Manufacturer or Distributor collaborates directly with the professional, not only by providing the quality BIM library, but also getting involved in the specification of their products (this is achieved through collaboration agreements between parties) through a BIM technical department. This entails working at a higher level of implementation and integration of BIM, since there is a need for sharing of experiences and data between the manufacturer and professional in order to achieve a BIM model with better yields and bills of materials.


What does a BIM object contribute to the project?

What does a BIM object contribute to the project?


If we talk about a generic object, we can say that it provides information of a product (more or less exact), however, when we talk about a brand object we can say that it provides information and additional Identification of the author or manufacturer capable of providing the product in the future.

The prescription of a generic product is useful at an early stage of the design (LOD 100 or even LOD 200). After this phase, a generic object has a limit to the contribution of data and qualities to the project, in which case it is necessary replace it and incorporate a brand object. This is so, because when th eproject goes into constrution there is no other choice and products and materials of the “real” market have to be bought, and this entails buying recognized brands and even white label (behind a white label there is a company that has to answer for that product).


Necesidades de información en los proyectos BIM


The value of information of a Brand BIM object.

We can say that the brand object is the virtual representation of the product as it is in reality (this from a construction point of view and not from the production of the product). With this we can predict and check how the product will be and what behavior it will have once construction is undergone.





From the BIM brand object we can distinguish two situations at the same time; the first would be in the case that we incorporate a quality (in information and graphics) BIM object and the second when we incorporate a BIM object without quality (unstructured information, inaccurate information, without data, falsified, excess file weight, too much detail, etc).

Quality BIM objects

It is a work tool that accelerates decision making. The quality BIM object, provides reliable information (Remember that the highlight of BIM, is the “I”, of information) and this sets the object for its incorporation into the project.

To get a more accurate idea, when we buy any product, if we are diligent we will read the product labeling (unless we have previous experience with it) and we will see if it responds to the needs we are looking for, or not. In other words, the labeling gives us information to make the decision to buy. The same happens in a virtual environment; based on the information provided by the electronic file we will know if it responds to the needs we need to cover for the project.


Información básica requerida



However, there is another topic that conditions the quality of the BIM object specified in the project. It is the “technique” that the professional applies when incorporating it. If it is done correctly, better data and representations of the project and better calculations can be extracted. To make an incorrect inclusion of the BIM file would be wasting the potential of data and its usability by other professionals.


Punto de Equilibrio de Calidad de un Objeto BIM


BIM objects without quality

The consequence of including a low quality BIM product file is, from a technical perspective, a bad experience for the professional that prescribes it since this file generates more problems than benefits (as it is an anti-BIM). The result in this case, is that the file does not provide useful data to the project, and the professional ends up discarding it either because it is inaccurate or because it generates problems in the main project file. On the other hand, the impact of brand image is negatively affected for the professional, since it associates the brand with a low quality BIM file.

Another drawback of prescribing a low quality BIM object, is that, if a quality control filter has not passed regarding its applicability and information, it will end up prescribing a product that is inaccurate for the purpose pursued in the project, and this will undermine the desired result (errors and costs overruns). In this sense the BIM Manager or BIM Modeler must have due diligence and responsibility to detect low quality BIM objects and discard them before they enter the execution process, this is called Responsible Specification.



Let us think for a moment that we prescribe BIM objects without quality (without knowing if it works correctly or not), then we buy the product and place it in the project, after a while we begin to see that the prescribed product does not contain the necessary quality and this manifests itself with cracks, breaks, dispense, etc. A damage to the property or to third parties is generated that must be answered. In this case with BIM it will be possible to detect which agent has prescribed the product, or if the manufacturer has correctly informed about its product or has been deceived or misleading, or if the prescription of the product has been manipulated at the last moment by replacing the product with another different, and finally who is responsible. The BIM software generates a digital trace, which will become an electronic proof if it is needed in a judicial proceeding.


Specification with BIM improves the posibility of sales

It is known that the sales process within the construction industry involves great commercial effort, either because the customer opts for the most economic product without assessing the quality, because your competition has been more agile, or the industry does not grow at the desired pace, etc.

This situation is changing due to the digitization process that the construction market is undergoing, this being the BIM methodology, a new way in the processes of prescription and sales.


BIM, unlike CAD, provides greater transparency and coordination in the design and execution phases of a project, because the information that is included in the BIM model must be accessible to most of the participating professionals. And this is precisely done to improve the construction process and logistics, the main objective being to avoid errors and cost overruns.

The transparency in the information of a BIM work model is one of the cornerstones, not only for the efficiency it brings, but also because this technology is supported in public project tenders, highlighting the DIRECTIVE 2014/24 / EU of the European Parliament and Council, of February 26, 2014, on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18 / EC and the second in Law 9/2017, of November 8, Public Sector Contracts, by which are transposed to the Spanish legal system the Directives of the European Parliament and Council 2014/23 / EU and 2014/24 / EU, of February 26, 2014.



Article 22.4 of Directive 2014/24 / EU states that: “For public works contracts and project competitions, Member States may require the use of specific electronic tools, such as electronic building design tools or similar tools (alluding to to the use of BIM tools)

In point 6 of the Fifteenth Additional Provision, of Law 9/2017 on: “Rules relating to the means of communication that can be used in the procedures regulated in this Law”, clearly states on BIM in particular “For public works contracts, of concession of works, services and project competitions, and in mixed contracts that combine elements of the same, the contracting bodies may demand the use of specific electronic tools, such as tools for digital modeling of construction information (BIM ) or similar tools. In such cases, they shall offer alternative means of access as provided in section 7 of this Additional Provision until such time as said tools are generally available to economic operators.

These regulations promote transparency for the sector and cost savings for the public treasury, since the information and the quality of this will allow to know: who has participated in the construction process? How has the work been executed, its phases, logistics and process? How and when should maintenance be performed? What are the effective costs of the project and its maintenance? and What products or materials make up the project? among other data objetvices.


The importance of specification in BIM.

Without analyzing the quality of a BIM object or BIM libraries (a subject that is no less important due to its technical and legal repercussions), we can say that when you decide to bet on a product and incorporate it (Specify it) into a BIM project, it generates an electronic trace and if a change should happen afterwards (a product is changed for a different or cheaper one) the change is easily tracked alongside who is responsible for that action.



The choice of a product on site by the property or the client, after orientation of the professional (Architect, engineer, surveyor, etc.) is, from a legal point of view, a causal requirement; as it is his consent and will that indicates what product will be placed or not in a project. If that will is not complied with, there is a breach of contract by whoever provokes it, and the responsibility for the change being attributable and this is susceptible for legal action.

Who exchanges one product for another in a BIM environment, and detects or simply notifies it, must justify why he or she has made that decision, since it can not be changed at random, neither by mistake nor by cost criteria. A change in product is like a digital photo of that action.

Knowing that a change of product is easily detected and that this causes consequences, we can say that the manufacturing companies that have opted for specifying their product libraries in BIM projects will obtain a greater reliability of what will be their brand, compared to others, that theirs is chosen for purchase.



The commercial success that comes with the appearance of a brand in the memory of the project. This will be determined by the commercial strategy of the manufacturer or distributor when betting on a specification service with added value, BIM being the differential factor.