Compelling Presentations with BIMx
Chris Sparks is part owner of Custom Timber Log Homes. The company manages building design of log homes for the Eastern Region of the US and Canada. The company sees each project through to blueprints and construction completion with ArchiCAD. As a long-time ArchiCAD user, Sparks has been familiar with BIMx – GRAPHISOFT’s presentation tool – and has been capitalizing on its features since its inception in 2012. The application’s ability to demonstrate the plans and designs of the log homes his company creates provides a wonderful tool. So when BIMx Docs – the next generation of presentation tool that combines 2D drawings with the 3D documents – was released in October of 2013, Sparks was anxious to try it.
“I’ve been using ArchiCAD since version 8 and BIMx for a year and a half. I always get fantastic feedback – people are blown away by what I can show them and what the software itself can do. With the advent of BIMx Docs – being able to map the BIM and the construction documents – well, we’re at a whole other level of wow.”
Simplifying the Process
Custom Timber creates custom homes of all types and sizes. In his immediate area of East Tennessee; Sparks says the typical project is split between a ranch style home and multiple gable homes. Most of the projects are at least 1600 square feet and up. Serving the higher end of the log home industry, the designs are more complex – which makes getting design ideas across to the customer a little more challenging. Sparks says BIMx Docs has simplified that process a great deal.
“If we didn’t have those two presentation applications, we wouldn’t be able to impress our clients to the level we currently do. And in situations where the home becomes more involved; conveying our plans can become more difficult. That is not the case with BIMx – and now BIMx Docs. The overlays on the sections and the detail we are able to show make it possible for anyone to understand the project regardless of their knowledge of modeling or drafting. It really bridges the gap between experienced professionals and laymen.”
In addition to the enhanced understanding that ArchiCAD and BIMx Docs provides, Sparks says the value of BIMx Docs can be linked to the selling process.
“It has been a selling tool – hands down. We come in to a meeting with a template to demonstrate and they leave the meeting knowing what to expect. They understand low clearance areas, we can pull out a section of a home that is already built and give them options. People fear what they don’t understand, so getting that understanding removes the fear, builds trust and confidence in our services and we win projects because of it.”
Stacking up the Savings
“The paper costs of printing construction documents piles up rather fast – so that alone is incentive to pay for the application. But what we’ve noticed over the years in using ArchiCAD is that we’re able to bid on projects with confidence. We are so sure of our BIM, we have a strong frame of reference to let us go in on a project with a competitive number. On a small home, where there isn’t overage wiggle room, it pays off immensely.”
In terms of planning for cost savings in the long run, Sparks says there’s talk of equipping their clients with iPads, so they can access BIMx Docs from the outset. “After 8 to 10 sets of prints, the cost of an iPad has already been spent, so it makes sense.”
(Photos by Hilliard Photographics – Joseph Hilliard)