It’s what every business is striving for: getting more done, while reducing the amount of time, work and failure costs. With today’s technology, it’s finally possible. During his presentation during the SUM, Ruud Kats, sales director at Stabiplan, explained how.
High failure costs are something most construction firms are struggling with. In tenders, the lowest price is often leading, which can be at the expense of safety and quality, causing unforeseen costs. Ruud Kats called MEP contractors to action: “we need to change this way of working. Instead of thinking in terms of costs, we need to think in terms of possibilities.”
This already starts in the tendering phase, Ruud explained: "Instead of putting together the lowest possible price as quickly as possible, contractors should offer added value and sell options. By actively contributing ideas from the start, a higher price for better MEP systems can be justified. The MEP contractor must therefore sit down with the client, show the possibilities and make costs transparent. More efficient and higher quality systems may cost more at the start, but save twice as much in the long term.”
So, how can MEP contractors offer added value?
An important way to offer added value is through Building Information Modeling. Ruud: "BIM is about both visualization and information. It is about making efficient use of information throughout the entire construction cycle; from the first designs and diagrams, calculation and modelling, to the placement of orders, prefabrication, management and maintenance. Working with BIM may be more expensive at the front end, but it gives much more control over costs and planning. Things that are overlooked in a traditional process are made visible with BIM. This results in much less stress and more continuity.
What does this mean in practice? In residential construction for example, MEP contractors can offer various options right from the start and make them visual with BIM. Or offer heat pumps, keeping sustainability goals in mind. This approach prevents contractors from having to add a heat pump last-minute, while it no longer fits in the plant room. By discussing such matters in advance and including them in the model, MEP contractors create added value and avoid costly last-minute changes.”
Investing in productivity
So instead of thinking in terms of costs, MEP contractors need to think in terms of possibilities. For instance, now that draftsmen are under pressure and the turnover of staff is high, it is more important than ever to invest in people. Ruud: "By investing in knowledge and know-how, your team remains productive and motivated. If you invest in your employees, you can get up to 50% as much done in the same time and with the same people.”
Another important way to increase productivity is by using the right technology. There has been a time when technology could not yet deliver on the promise of BIM, but now technology is ready. Ruud: "Today, MEP contractors have access to solutions for their entire workflow: they can design constructible models quickly using smart applications with the right MEP content, collaborate in the cloud, use robotics to quickly layout systems from the model, and import the information back into the model using, for example, a point cloud. This way the workflow is complete and efficiency is achieved, resulting in a model that is up-to-date at the time of delivery and still valuable in the time to come.”
An opportunity for MEP contractors
So, it is possible: getting more work done, while reducing the amount of time, personnel and failure costs. By investing in people and technology, you can get more work done with fewer people while costs remain under control. Moreover, MEP contractors can use BIM to add value to both their own employees and their clients. "It is now up to MEP contractors to take the lead," concluded Ruud his presentation: "Put yourself in the shoes of your clients and sit down with them. What can you offer? Propose options, contribute ideas and create added value.”