Integrated Design: Key Takeaways from the 2019 Innovation Summit

Clark Ellis, Continuum Advisory Group and Scott Reichensburger, MiTek talked about the opportunities and challenges of implementing Building Information Modeling (BIM) at the 2019 Innovation Summit.

BIM is an entirely new approach to construction in which the builder starts by creating a model of the home (or homes). The model consists of a database that includes as much or as little information as the builder wants: cost, schedule, engineering, sales and so on.

A good way to think of this is as “model-based construction,” because everything ultimately revolves around the model. For instance the construction drawings become an electronic interface that links to the underlying databases. This has huge implications for how the builder does business.

The presenters offered the beginning of a roadmap for builders who want to go down this path.


  1. Understand what BIM is.
    It’s not a technology per se; instead, it’s a new way of doing business that’s enabled by technology. Done right, it will transform every part of the builder’s business including, construction, marketing warranty design and engineering, regardless of whether those functions are done in-house or by subcontractors.
  2. Know your WHY.
    The reason you’re doing this is more important than what you’re doing. What do you hope to gain from transitioning to a model-based approach?
    Potential benefits include a more productive workforce, more accurate prices and schedules, better customer engagement, and better ability to recruit young managers. But getting there is a marathon that can take a couple of years. Make sure you have a clear understanding of exactly what benefits are important to your company.
    Understanding your why will also help you decide where to start. BIM doesn’t have to be swallowed in one bite. For instance, if the customer experience is your priority you can set a goal of having virtual reality presentations available at the sales center, based on the BIM model, by an agreed on date.
  3. It starts at the top.
    The implementation process can be disruptive. Thus the decision has to come from the top of the organization. Leaders need to drive and need to stay involved for the duration.
  4. You will need agility.
    The transition to a model-based approach will impact every task in the sales, design and construction process. Not only does the difficulty of this transition, as well as the exact ways things will change, differ from company to company, but priorities will likely shift as the project moves forward. Getting to the finish line requires a willingness to adapt and to get regular input from all parts of the company.

The bottom line is that the companies most likely to succeed at this are those with a strong commitment as well as a culture of agility and collaboration. Any builder seriously looking at BIM should address those cultural issues first.

Further Reading

Will economic uncertainty leave construction tech in limbo? | Construction Dive | 03.06.19

BIM and Beyond | Builder | 08.20.18