What to look for in a VDC Services Provider

September 16, 2018

So, you’ve done your research and looked at all the compelling reasons why investing in outsourced VDC services could be a powerful strategy for your construction company. The next thing you need to consider is even more important:

How do you choose which VDC services provider you’re going to work with?

This question is so important because, no matter who you work with, there’s going to be time and resources invested. There’s no sense committing yourself to months in the trenches with a BIM provider that doesn’t operate in line with your goals, or that you’re having trouble getting along with. And, it’s especially important to make sure your choice doesn’t negatively impact the quality of the finished product or your client’s level of satisfaction.

Of course, it’s not going to be easy — or even possible, in some cases — to identify the best providers before working at least one job together. But, with some guidelines laid down early in the process, you should be able to recognize the best providers before you’ve invested too much in the worst.

To help you make a smart, informed decision among the myriad VDC services providers operating today, we’re going to review three key qualities you should see in the provider you end up choosing:

  • Quality
  • Integrity
  • Partnership​

 

Does your VDC services provider do quality work?

Sure, this is an obvious first consideration. But, it’s not necessarily an easy one to determine, especially if you’re very new to VDC and BIM services.

The true measure of the quality of VDC design and planning work is whether it effectively meets the client’s expectations and resolves problems before they occur on a jobsite. While a talented architect or designer can likely meet the client’s expectations in any number of ways, skillful use of BIM technology and all the connected tools and processes making up VDC services should allow them to do so in a far more efficient and cost-effective manner than more traditional design options.

When it’s done right, a quality BIM design will leave little if any room in the construction plan for significant waste or egregious errors. It should facilitate efficient purchasing, scheduling, fabrication, and even safety. Anything less could be a sign of a VDC services provider doing shoddy work.

The most effective way to determine the quality level of a prospective partner is to speak to previous customers if possible. Generally, happy customers who have had a great experience are more than happy to talk about it. And, customers who weren’t so satisfied are often even happier to discuss their experience.

 

Does your VDC services provider display integrity?

This question is a little more difficult to define in black and white, but it’s just as important as the quality of their work. Speaking to previous customers is also the best way to come to a conclusion on this matter, although some basic initial research goes a long way.

When you’re first vetting BIM providers, do some basic research on their company via online searches, industry publications, and casual conversations with peers.

  • Are there any signs of shady or unethical business practices?
  • Is the company currently experiencing some sort of internal upheaval?
  • Are the individuals you would be working with basically good people that you would be proud to associate with personally and professionally?

Of course, if a VDC services provider you’re considering is currently mired in lawsuits or controversy, you’re likely to move on without a second thought. On the other hand, it’s important to remain balanced as you’re answering these questions because it would be unfortunate to refuse to work with a high-quality provider simply because the owner doesn’t strike you as friend material.

In the long run, you’re going to have a more fruitful, value-based relationship with people you can respect than with those you’re uncomfortable with.

 

Is your VDC services provider a true partner?

You may be able to recognize the answer to this question during your initial conversations, but not always. Since every BIM provider is likely eager to win your business, it’s only logical that they’re going to put their best foot forward for the initial interviews, quote stage, and sales negotiations.

The real test comes after you’ve accepted their offer and work has begun:

  • Are they actively pursuing your business goals?
  • Do they make an effort to align with your processes and requirements (to the extent that’s possible)?
  • Do they display a proprietary interest in your success, considering what’s best for the client over what’s easiest or most convenient?

If you can’t answer a compelling “yes” to any of these questions, there’s a good chance the VDC services provider you’re working with isn’t interested in a true, long-lasting partnership with your organization.

That’s not the end of the world. They may still be doing quality work, and the price may be right. But, when push comes to shove, they’re going to do what’s best for them — potentially at the cost of what’s best for you or your client.

After reviewing these three key qualities and checking them against your shortlist of potential VDC services providers, you’re in an excellent position to choose one that’s going to do a great job for you and your clients. They’re also likely to be interested in forming a solid, long-term partnership with your company. And, more importantly, they’re likely worthy of your doing so.

To speak to a VDC services expert, contact Trimble now.

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