Symetri guide Long and Partners through their BIM adoption journey

Long and Partners

Long and Partners Building Services Consultants (L&P) are a professional design management and consultancy practice based in the City of London. They specialise in mechanical, electrical and public health design, all aspects of vertical transportation, IT design and commissioning and project management services.

The organisation has a strategic vision (entitled ‘2020 Vision’) which includes bringing Building Information Modelling (BIM) into the heart of everything they do across their range of services, and within each of the companies in the group; Long and Partners itself, COMCO (commissioning consultancy), Renewable Environmental Services (low carbon design), and Integrated Premises Technology (technology design and consultancy).

The business case for BIM

Long and Partners had taken significant steps forward in enabling cross-group collaboration by using cloud-based solutions instead of being reliant on an intranet solution. They wanted to go further; to employ technologies and embrace practices and workflows that would enable real-time collaboration on 3D models. This was identified as the first leg of their holistic BIM adoption journey for which the organisation identified three progressive stages:

  • Implementing BIM Collaborate Pro and BIM 360 Docs modules
  • Working towards BIM Level 2 Qualification
  • Driving BIM adoption in all areas of Long and Partners

“We needed to prove to the senior management team that BIM was about far more than just 3D modelling and could be a valuable pillar in offering a deeper level of service to our clients, thereby extending the value we could bring to any project. We had to prove the business case. We needed an experienced partner that could help us do this, rather than just a vendor to sell us the solutions. Symetri have brought the added value to our team that matched this requirement to the letter,” says Chris Hau, BIM Manager, Long and Partners.

The holistic BIM culture: Long and Partner’s three-stage journey

As L&P rightly anticipated, to gain the BIM advantage both for a company and its clients is not about simply loading up a software package and clicking on new tools that supersede the old ones. It is far more about understanding the long-term value of data from digital design and concept and through the lifecycle of an asset.

Symetri gave the L&P team a complete ‘state-of-play’ regarding BIM adoption across the construction sector. This was a context to support the L&P business case, with insight into the trends and practices in collaboration with external partners as well as within the organisation’s own teams and between their various locations. Symetri outlined the growing client expectations of BIM usage among and between specialist services providers.

Then came the plan: detailing the stages involved in taking L&P
from initial software deployment, through to an organisational culture,
aligned to the rapidly evolving digital environment of construction.

It was important, in terms of proving the business case, to show a clear path from one stage to the next, and the steps to take to move along it swiftly and confidently.

Meeting every challenge

The Symetri BIM Consultancy team conducted a series of discovery sessions with L&P to evaluate how their current workflows operated. This stage was followed by looking at how they could work smarter; a business process analysis extending beyond the company’s initial requirement to deploy BIM 360 into the far bigger picture of universal adoption of BIM best practice across the group.

Symetri also held a series of virtual training sessions – the pandemic was a prime reason for training remotely – for the principal BIM 360 users across the group.

“The Symetri service covered every single aspect of what we wanted to do immediately and in the long term. They helped enrich our strategy, take the gap analysis we had already completed into far deeper detail and then, from the deployment perspective, formulate the best licensing plan to make sure we maximised software usage and paid for the right capabilities for the right users. That saved us a lot of time, effort, and unnecessary outlay,” says Chris.

1. Implementing BIM Collaborate Pro and BIM 360 Docs modules

Long and Partner’s specific goal with BIM 360 was to make use of the design collaboration tool. The team has found that the ability to host 3D models in the cloud is a big improvement on the server-based models they used before, especially as remote working has significantly re-defined working practices. As a result of the Symetri workshops they can now migrate existing projects to the cloud and also create new models that are fully cloud-based.

Full cloud-based 3D models

Full cloud-based 3D models driving cross-team, real-time collaboration

“Drawings used to take a whole day to export to a third-party.
Now, access is instant,” Chris Hau.

2. Working towards BIM Level 2 Certification

Using BIM 360 to create, share, and collaborate on 3D models goes a long way to aligning a business with its clients’ BIM expectations, but is only a step on the BIM journey. Long and Partner’s view is that BIM Level 2 certification is quickly becoming a necessity in the eyes of many of its current clients and is also a way to reflect its smart processes while refining its workflows.

L&P have undertaken their own gap analysis prior to Symetri evaluation to ensure all parameters are met. The next stage will be to put into action the ISO 19650 standards on an end-to-end project to provide robust evidence of compliance with the standards.

3. Pushing BIM usage in all areas of Long and Partners

The third, overarching development L&P seek to undertake is to change the internal perception of BIM at L&P from being ‘just 3D modelling’ to being considered a strategy for continuous improvement in processes, tools and workflows.

“We plan to adopt these changes across all our teams – sustainability, technology and engineers. We see Symetri as key in helping us to identify the most efficient and successful route to achieving this,” says Chris.

Challenges

  • Ensure and enable real-time collaboration on 3D models
  • Eliminate tedious model exporting times involved with server-based model sharing
  • Speed up attainment of goals within the group’s 2020 Vision
  • Enrich the client experience, from concept presentation through to completion and handover
  • Enhance digital capabilities, to build business.

Solutions

  • BIM 360 licences; user and needs identification
  • Virtual training and BIM adoption workshops
  • Guidance on industry BIM landscape, best practices, and fastest adoption routes
  • Business process analysis to identify areas for smarter working
  • Creating the roadmap for BIM level 2.

Benefits

  • Optimum software licensing plan; reducing costs and ensuring precise allocation of capabilities across a dispersed team
  • Rapid adaptation to home/remote working
  • Increased operational efficiencies at lower costs
  • Enhanced clients’ and third-party partners’ perceptions of the holistic digital transformation journey at Long and Partners.

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