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The USA construction industry is facing labor shortages. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 200,000 positions in the construction industry lie unfilled. This happened after the industry went through a cycle of shrinkage over the past decade. A report by Deloitte states that the labor shortages are reaching crisis proportions and are expected to continue through 2019 as well. Also, the productivity growth in the construction industry in the past two decades averaged just about 1%. This is 1/3rd of the growth which the rest of the global economy averaged during the same period.

And that is not the only issue with the industry. A report from McKinsey & Co. finds that “While many U.S. sectors including agriculture and manufacturing have increased productivity ten to 15 times since the 1950s, the productivity of construction remains stuck at the same level as 80 years ago.”

In this scenario, construction firms run the risk of responding late to market needs, losing essential project bids, and being unable to innovate.

This is where BIM enters the stage. BIM offers a ready answer to make construction planning and execution more proactive and data-driven.

And yes, the use of BIM is on the rise in projects in the country. But given the lack of skilled resources companies in the USA are adopting an onsite + offshore model for successful BIM implementation. The BIM models are created offshore, and the onsite team consumes them as the project gets built. Feedback loops and regular communications ensure timely updates and always accurate models.

Here’s why it works:

  1. Time-Saving – Going for an Onshore and Offshore Model for BIM projects helps provide quality work within the stipulated timeframe. This can be achieved by distributing the resources between the onshore and offshore teams and assigning them special subtasks in the project. Companies can save valuable time by assigning the work to offshore consultants instead of finding new resources and training them, which can take several weeks, months, or even years.

Moreover, the construction industry may take time to understand and adopt new technologies. Offshore teams would be well-versed with the latest technologies, accelerating startup time.

  1. Cost-Effective – This one is a no-brainer. By outsourcing BIM projects to an offshore expert, the design and development costs can be reduced significantly. Think of it this way, companies don’t have to hire additional resources comprising of trained experts or, hire fresh talent and spend time and money to train them for bringing them up to speed. Moreover, the outsourcing firm will provide services and dedicated resources at a transparent rate. This helps construction firms budget well by taking other costs into consideration. Of course, there is also the benefit of scalability. Offshore teams typically have the capacity to add resources, if a project needs to be accelerated or if more work needs to be done. This team can be ramped down after that phase if accomplished. That’s much harder to do if the resources are in-house.

Another reason for going for an offshore team is to save on the purchase of expensive special-purpose software licenses. By partnering with leading BIM consulting firms, firms may be able to avoid investing in certain software/tools/technologies that are required for model creation.

  1. More Expertise and Reduced Errors – Increasing complexities of projects can make construction design harder and more involved. Offshore firms that possess the relevant BIM expertise can cut through this complexity and create a comprehensive, transparent, and actionable model. This model can then become the basis for collaboration between a variety of teams onsite. This will help make construction more efficient, hand-offs smoother, collaboration more seamless, and improve overall safety.
  2. Focus on Core Business – Next up, the onshore + offshore business model can help firms focus more on their execution strength. A construction project demands extreme degrees of project management capabilities and an evolved execution skills. This is where construction companies can get maximum bang for the buck. This is the area that has the greatest impact on project profitability and it makes sense for the construction company to focus on that.

With the global population predicted to hit 9 billion by 2050, two out of three people will be living in a city. It stands to reason that the demand for construction will always be high. Especially in evolved economies like the USA, the question is not whether there will be growth. The question for construction companies is, will that growth be manageable and profitable?  

An onshore + offshore BIM model may be the way forward to achieve that. The model offers increased productivity, reduced costs, better collaboration, and access to expertise. This is the easiest way for construction companies in the USA to scale. And to thrive.

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