What to look for in a BIM Sitework Consultant

Whenever you are starting a new project, one of the first things to coordinate is the sitework. However, often this is one of the items that never gets incorporated into the BIM plan. So if you are considering bringing on board a consultant to help you model and coordinate the sitework here are some things you should consider:  

Find a consultant with a background in the full sitework lifecycle

There are a lot of BIM consultants available on the market today, but very few of them have experience or knowledge of civil and sitework.  Consultants that focus on this type of work have a background in civil planning, design, and construction and will add immense value to your team.  They will not just create a 3D model of your project but will consider key constructability and design factors while doing so. Since sitework can be one of the most critical elements of the project, proper planning, coordinating and reviewing designs is vital.  The best consultants come from an engineering background and will also understand how the work is put in place, allowing you to push information to the field and eliminating duplicate work. A truly valuable consultant will bring lots of experience and knowledge about sitework to the table.

There is a big difference between Sitework and MEP Modeling

There is a reason that plumbers do not typically install site drainage.  It is a different ball game. So if you are hiring a consultant to help you design, model and plan coordination of civil and sitework elements, you want to hire one that is familiar with that type of work.  Sitework requires completely different types of pipe, fittings, valves, and components that are not typical to MEP. Having the right tools to model this correctly will deliver a much better end-product. Many MEP consultants will try and convince you that it is just pipe, but the rules for sitework are much different, and since you are working underground you have additional considerations to keep in mind.  Also, a real sitework consultant will understand the installation and the most efficient way to deliver the information to the field.

Understanding the end user of your sitework model

Understanding who and how the end-user will utilize your sitework model is very important.  There is a lot of automation in the sitework trades including laser graders, machine controlled dozers, robotic total stations, and drones. These tools help keep sitework contractors efficient on large projects. Understanding the deliverables for the sitework contractor to use with these tools is critical. Also, sitework contractors work in tenths of a foot, not in fractions of an inch, which can make a big difference when creating final deliverables.  It is critical to making sure that all the work that goes into these models is trusted and put to good use. Understanding how the associated trades work is key to making useful deliverables.

Picking the right tool for any job is important. When selecting a sitework BIM consultant, the same rules apply. Finding the most qualified team that can add the most value to the project will pay off in the long run.