EP 144

BIM: Bridging the Gap Between Policy and Project Success. (EP 144)



This week, Paul is joined by Michelle du Plessis, Managing Director and Co-founder at Shft, a leading one-stop BIM agency working with SMEs across the country to take the opportunities of BIM and digital technology.

In today’s show, Paul and Michelle talk about BIM. Michelle is a genuine expert in the space, and we discuss where we are up to with BIM, how things are changing and how Michelle and her team at Shft help contractors, especially SMEs, start to impact their bottom line with BIM.

A must-listen!


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Paul Heming: Hello and welcome to episode 144 of the Own the Build Podcast. With me, Paul Heming. As last week, I am sharing a final account statement template in the show notes. If you are getting towards the end of a Subby package or a package or your own contracts, it might be a template that you can use on your projects. Lots of people have lots of different templates, so if you’ve got your own, might be worth just checking it and seeing what you think of it. It’s in the show notes, it’s free of charge. What is stopping you? In the studio today, we are joined by the delightful Michelle du Plessis, who is managing director and co-founder at Shift, a leading one-stop BIM agency, working with SMEs across the country to take the opportunities of BIM and digital technology into their business. Michelle, welcome to Own the Build today. How are you doing?

Michelle du Plessis: Thanks very much, Paul, for having me today. I’m doing very well, thank you.

Paul Heming: Excellent. Well, it is always my pleasure to have you on the show. I’ll tell you what listeners to this show, if you’ve been around for a while, you will know that I love high quality accents and I sense with you, Michelle, that we have got a delightful accent there. Where are you from originally?

Michelle du Plessis: So originally my husband and I are both from South Africa. And we moved here to the UK about seven, just over seven years ago. So not a lifetime, but in certain regards kind of feels like it. We’ve had a lot of things, a lot of things to do and to navigate to get to the point where we are at the moment. So yeah, it’s been a big learning curve

Paul Heming: And you’ve kept that accent going strong, which is the most important thing.

Michelle du Plessis: I was really thinking I was doing well to try and get a blend between the two, but apparently not. I need to work a bit harder.

Paul Heming: No, keep it. Keep it. I love it. I love it. So obviously your journey has come, you’ve come over from South Africa seven, eight years ago, I think you said. Just talk to us and ground the conversation for all those people listening who might not know you, what your journey in construction has been to date and what you are doing at Shift today.

Michelle du Plessis: So essentially I am a professional architect. Started studying in 2007 which is when I officially joined into the construction industry as a whole.

Paul Heming: Me too.

Michelle du Plessis: Oh, good. Great timing. It’s the best year to start really.

Paul Heming: Indeed.

Michelle du Plessis: And for me that was really the kickoff of my relationship with the construction industry. So as an architect, I think you get to explore a lot of different parts of the industry and you get to talk to obviously a bunch of different people. You get to work with a lot of consultants on projects. So it gave me a lot of oversight in terms of the industry and essentially the different players that that actually populate our industry. Right? Because you’ve got so many different main consultants, subcontractors, contractors, et cetera, and it’s really nice from an architectural perspective to get a better understanding of how those people kind of all link together on a project and to understand just how many operating parts there are that all have to do things in the right way to actually get a building bolt at the end of the day.

Paul Heming: And can I ask why you wanted to become an architect? Is it something that you wanted to become since you were young?

Michelle du Plessis: I wouldn’t say the term an architect is something I’ve always looked at and said, oh yes, that’s me. It was more about my skillset. So I’m quite a practical person and a logical one. So it was about what did I actually, what got me up in the morning, what did I enjoy doing? What attracted me to a certain type of profession? And for me, architecture was a fantastic combination of some form of creativity, but rooted or founded essentially in problem solving which is the part that I actually love the most about architecture. And it’s about solving very real, very particular problems. And the better you can do that, the more efficient those buildings can be, the better they operate the more they serve their purpose for the greater kind of community which for me was always the main or most important part of architecture that I really resonated with.

Paul Heming: Lovely. That’s a very nice answer and really paint a picture of you as a person. Just talk to us then about your, so you started as an architect. What kind of projects did you do in South Africa? What kind of projects did you do when you arrived here and now you’re doing something completely different? Just talk to us about that little journey.

Michelle du Plessis: So in South Africa, so I finished studying and I worked for one of the biggest companies in South Africa. They’re called Boogertman and Partners. And I worked for them for essentially my entire professional career until I moved here. We focused on a lot of commercial projects as well as high rise residential, and we actually also looked at a lot of master planning projects. We actually worked on a particular project that was around smart cities in Mauritius, which was fantastic because that started really introducing me to the idea of what a digital link to architecture, to buildings and that kind of idea on a much bigger, broader scale.

Paul Heming: Were you always pushing for a site visit to Mauritius? Michelle, I reckon…

Michelle du Plessis: I actually don’t want to be fair. I actually managed, I did get what we had a launch. It was actually amazing. The president of Mauritius was doing a whole launch for their smart city campaign and we had designed the headquarters for one of their main companies within that smart cities master plan. So I actually got to attend that launching.

Paul Heming: That sounds like a good event to be going to. I’m jealous just thinking about it. So you’re working…

Michelle du Plessis: It was.

Paul Heming: You’re working on these quite amazing projects it sounds like in South Africa, and then you move to the UK and as I understand it from talking to you before BIM resonates with you. Talk to us about that.

Michelle du Plessis: Absolutely. So I love things that are tech-based and digital. One of the other things I considered when I was looking to study was actually computer science and something around that. I love the idea of computers of tech. I also enjoy gaming. So, anything on that kind of front I really do like, and the idea to actually merge the two things together from an architectural input, but also working within a digital environment for me was always fantastic. At university we were educated in two forms of thinking and creation. The one was very much by hand, so hand sketching, hand design, that kind of thing. But then we were also taught from a computer-based production of how to actually think in 3D and in a digital environment because the way you think through things, the way you actually create and form your designs differs slightly between the two. So it was really nice to be able to have that dual purpose where we could actually have oversight of both of those different processes. And for me, what was amazing was to look at and say, digital is not going anywhere. It’s becoming embedded in every single part of the world that we live in. And to be able to actually look at architecture or building in general from a digital perspective and see how we can start automating processes or making processes better, quicker, more streamlined, more effective, more efficient, that for me is a powerhouse because one of our oldest, it’s the oldest industry really in the world, is construction industry. It’s the slowest to change and adapt as I am sure. All of your listeners as well as you already know that.

Paul Heming: No, no, no, no. I think they’re listening to the scene. Are you talking about the same place as us?

Michelle du Plessis: So I think it’s such an important thing to be able to start driving in our industry. You know, from a UK perspective, obviously from a government perspective that’s already being mandated in terms of upgrading and changing those processes. So to be able to join into that and actually carve out a niche where we can make a difference in that journey and pushing the, to help push our industry forward in that kind of way is a really exciting prospect for me.

Paul Heming: Okay. And just in elevator terms, just talk to us about what it is that your business does and why you do it.

Michelle du Plessis: Right. So our company is a BIM consultancy. And essentially what we do is specialize with working with contractors and subcontractors and supply chain to be able to help them work effectively in a digital environment and to help them actually deliver their BIM requirements on projects.

Paul Heming: Okay, cool. And so we talked off air about, and I’m going to caveat this, I think it’s going to become pretty obvious as we start this conversation in greater detail, Michelle, that BIM is not something of which I have great knowledge of. Personally, I’ve been on projects where BIM was mandated, been on massive projects, a company that I used to work with had a whole BIM team internally. They were massive. So it’s not that I haven’t been exposed to it in terms of projects, but in terms of my role as QS commercial manager, it was probably something that never significantly impacted my work. Now that is going back seven or eight years since I was on projects. But if I go back to 2007, when I came into the industry, I did one year as a trainee and then I did five years from 2008 to 2012, 13, where I did part-time study alongside four days at work. And I remember it just stuck out with me so much that one of our professors said to us, there’s this thing called BIM that’s coming along and it’s going to change everything. And I remember thinking I was new to the industry. Wow, it’s a really seminal moment, isn’t it? There I’m coming into the industry when BIM is coming in is going to make a huge impact and I’m going to see all of that impact. Now, like I said, QS, more of a contractual commercial QS than let’s say a technical QS. So I was less involved with the technical side. Okay. The design and bim. So I didn’t touch it as much as it perhaps I could’ve done, but it feels to me if I fast forward 15 years on now to 2023, like BIM hasn’t had the impact that my professor told me all those years ago that it could have had. Do you agree with that? How does that make you feel?

Michelle du Plessis: I think it’s a fantastic comment to be able to actually say, and I welcome this kind of conversation because for me it’s really important to understand people’s sentiments towards bim as well as their actual, their feeling around it in terms of is it here to say, is it here, is it something that’s going to adapt or fall by the wayside or when is it relevant? And I think the biggest question one’s got to ask when looking at is it doing what it’s meant to do or what it was originally set up to do? And I think one’s got to understand where has it been implemented and why. Because across the entire scope of the building industry, as we well know, it’s massive. It looks at infrastructure, it looks at buildings, it looks at endless different types of assets. Which of those assets are we actually applying them to? And for what reasons? For example, you’re not going to be building a house and possibly using the full BIM processes as we know it. You might be designing it in three D because that’s helpful, but that’s not really the full capacity of what BIM obviously is. So I think it’s an important question to ask is where it applies. And I think the answer to that is twofold. I think in certain regards, I definitely do think it is gaining traction and it’s growing. I do think it’s growing and heading in a direction that is here to stay. It is saying yes, we are necessary. I mean, we’ve got the ISO standards that have obviously all been released over the last few years. We’ve got a lot of movement and encouragement, I think from that real top policy, government level policy driving level, which is really important to have. But now it’s about how does that filter down to the different rungs or different hierarchies of people within the industry and how are they going to use it? And I think essentially bigger projects, pilot projects, this industry slow, right? And any big projects that are big enough to be able to actually incorporate the ideas of BIM and really maximize their use case. Those projects run for five years, sometimes 10 years. I’ve been working on a project for the last eight years and they’re on phase 15 I think, and they’ve still got another five years I think before they’ve finished the entire project in totality. So you’ve got really big projects and I think that’s what takes time specifically in our industry, is you can’t just test something within a week or two and be like, oh, yay, this is great. It works. Fantastic. Moving on. So yeah, just to go back to your point in terms of it hasn’t really had much of an impact on you. I do think there are a lot of people where it hasn’t impacted directly, but having said that, I do think it’s starting to filter down and it’s filtering down from my perspective, what I like to believe is it’s starting to filter down from a practical application where it’s not about the term BIM, people made something of the term because they needed catchword, they needed something that everyone was going to start talking about to get everyone to work within this particular type of process. That phrase bim that acronym in another five or 10 years, will it even still exist? I don’t know. But the underlying processes of it, I believe will be a lot more adapted and folded into people’s natural working processes by then. So…

Paul Heming: Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. And I believe that it is here to stay. I’m not suggesting for a minute that it isn’t. I think that it absolutely is. Whether it impacted me going to projects 10 years ago now versus what it would impact me now, I think it would be very, very different. I guess one of the things that you mentioned there was some people don’t necessarily understand what it was originally meant to do. Like why did it start in the first place? Could we just talk about that because I think that’s probably very true? What was the original foundation, if you like, for bim?

Michelle du Plessis: I think that depends on who you talk to. I think there’s a lot of different foundations from BIM and drivers of people in the industry pushing it to make something out of it, make something out of it, and to actually push the industry again into a digital era. I know there’s a lot of different use cases for BIM that’s actually been around far longer than even that I know for instance in a military sense, I know a lot of that kind of data capturing, an idea of how to securely capture data and share it in a very highly intensive area, security focus area is quite a big thing. So the concept of structuring information in a very secure way and being able to use and share it, that concept has been around for a very long time. It’s now technology has just caught up with us, I think in a way that now we can actually stop merging those two concepts together to actually produce something a bit different. Whereas beforehand with everything being manual, a lot of stuff by hand, obviously it’s very difficult to be able to actually structure that in any kind of way that’s really going to give the security, the structure, the management and the ease of use and availability or access to that information. It was obviously quite difficult to do back then, but now with technology pushing forward obviously from our perspective we work with Autodesk products, but those guys are also really big in the industry in terms of pushing forward in terms of their own software that they are creating and they’re creating it with a very specific idea in mind. Has that answered your question?

Paul Heming: Yeah. Okay. No, that, what I’m interested in exploring with you, and I know that you work quite a lot with SMEs, is like you say, it’s how it filters down and becomes available to the wider market is a really interesting thing and we’re getting closer and closer to being there. What I’d love to talk to you about after the break, Michelle, is what SMEs do when they come to you as a business and how you help them navigate “BIM” so that it is a success and it adds at the end of the day money to their bottom line. Because that’s the whole principle, right? So let’s do that right after this break.
So Michelle, the topic of bim, what I always try and do for these shows where possible is try and almost contextualize or exemplify a topic. Sometimes it might be a contractual topic, this has happened on site, what do I do? But in this case, I always feel like BIM can feel like quite an abstract concept. I’m sure there’s people here who are at contractors, developers, subcontractors, listening and they’re thinking, so what? So your business is all about helping guide SMEs through a BIM journey. I’m simplifying things here, so feel free to tell me that I’m wrong, but that’s my perception, right? So if I’m a contractor, I’m a small, medium sized main contractor, my client is saying, I’ve got to do BIM on this project that I’m tendering for or maybe have won, I come to you and I say, Michelle, I’ve got to do this, but I’ve done it before. I want to do it better. Or I’ve never done it before, like how do I do it? Are those conversations that you have often when clients are first reaching out to you?

Michelle du Plessis: Absolutely. I think generally for us, we’ve got two different types of client or customer. And essentially for us, so one is we’ve got, we’ve done bim, we know what BIM is, we’ve got an in-house team, whether that in-house team is actually there to do the production of all the requirements or whether it’s we’ve got a BIM manager, so we’ve got someone to oversee BIM as a deliverable. That’s kind of a nuance. And then we’ve got other customers who come to us and they say, we’ve heard of this word bim, we’ve put in an amount on a tender, or we haven’t even done that. And generally it’s something that’s slipped on the sidelines and not really being asked for up until now, and now all of a sudden we’re being asked to deliver. So those are the kind of two different main customers that we have. And in both of those cases, for us, the biggest question for us to ask them always is why are they doing it? And what is it that they’re actually being asked to do and to deliver? And I think it’s a very important question because a lot of the time people are just saying, oh, well its bim, so just give me a model. And that’s not what really BIM is, if you look at the acronym of saying BIM is building information modeling, from our perspective it’s more about BIM information management and there’s quite a big difference in terms of that acronym and what it actually means. BIM is much bigger than just working in three D and just delivering a model. So a fair amount of people will look at it from a compliance point of view. They’ll say, listen, we’re subcontractors, we’re a trade. We know what we’re doing on site. We are experts in what it is we do on site. We know how to work with the teams and come together. We know how to deliver what we do best, which is fantastic. And something like BIM should not necessarily stop them from doing that, but it is a very important aspect when it has been asked for, it’s very important to be able to implement it at the right time. And I say that in terms of for them as a subcontractor or contractor to actually gain benefit from it. I find often one of the biggest issues is people leave it right until the end. They ignore it, they push it to the side, and they focus on doing what they need to do. And then when it comes to actually needing to deliver something, then they’re scrambling to try and say, okay, well what do we need to deliver now? We need just a model or whatever the case is. And unfortunately at that point, they don’t gain any benefit from what BIM is actually there for them to actually do and to find the benefit for themselves. And I think that’s the biggest thing to try and help them understand is where can they find benefit?

Paul Heming: And also in the longer term, not just the short term, this is one project, I’ve got a ticker box and get it done, but how can I then build it into my business systems, et cetera, et cetera. That question, you said you had one of two types and you might have the one type say, yeah, we threw some money in for BIM into our tender and now we’ve won it, here we are. Now, I know that’s probably oversimplifying things, but how often do you have that kind of a conversation where you’re kind of at ground zero for a contractor with bim?

Michelle du Plessis: So most of our customers are actually, we’ve had for a number of years. So we’ve started with them right at the beginning of their BIM journey when they didn’t really know what BIM was and what they needed to do. And we helped guide them through that. And we are now working with them, some of them five years later, we’re still working with them. And because of the way that we partner and try to, well, the way that we as a company try to partner with our customers is to allow them to feel like they have an in-house team essentially that does focus on that. And for us, that’s really important because it allows them to start understanding and allowing for that portion within their tenders. They don’t have to think about it in terms of, oh, here’s this thing again, now what do we do? They know we’re always on calls. So whenever they putting together tenders, we can very quickly put through quotes, put through estimates for certain projects so that they always know that they can actually accommodate or allow for a certain amount of money to be set aside for that package. Similarly, for companies that we don’t yet work with, we’re also happy to offer that because for us, it’s more important for them to understand what it is they are actually going to, what the scope is going to encompass so that they do actually understand what it is going to mean for them. And unfortunately for some companies, they come to us and say, we’re already on the project, we basically 80 way, 80% of the way through, and we don’t have much of an allowance. And it’s a difficult one. And again, that comes down to the conversation with you’re at this point, you’re basically a bit caught between a rock and a hard place. You have to deliver something in order to actually complete your contractual obligations. And then for us, it’s about looking at it to say, let’s evaluate your position of where you are. Let’s evaluate the requirements from a BIM perspective and let’s see how we can simplify it in the best way possible so that you can submit the essentials of what you need to be able to actually fulfill your requirements rather than looking at that bigger picture. Because obviously certain of the requirements they’ve already essentially missed because they’ve missed that in the earlier process, if that makes sense.

Paul Heming: Yeah. And you’ve talked about working with your clients in the longer term as well right from the start of their BIM journey. Could you share any stories or case studies about the impact of BIM specifically on SMEs? You don’t need to share names or anything like that, but what does it, you hear that a lot start your journey with bim, like, because it seems like such a behemoth, that’s the language who surround it. Just need to start your journey. First, how do you start your journey? And second, what can you expect to happen along that journey?

Michelle du Plessis: So I think in terms of the how, I think that depends on where you are and how you are considering that as a business owner. So if you are simply saying, okay, we’ve got projects that we’re tendering on and it’s a requirement and it’s something we have to do, that’s one way, a fair number of our customers will actually have started their journey because it’s project specific so they don’t have to look at it. I mean, SMEs make up a large portion of the contractual supply chain, essentially. And they, from a business model perspective, for them to be able to go and say, okay, we are going to now start this entire boom department in our company. We’re going to hire all these different people. Who do we need to hire? I don’t know. How many people do we need to hire if only 10% of our projects at the moment are going to be Boom projects, what are those people going to be doing for the other 90% of their time when those projects aren’t working? It’s a complete overhaul of your business model to actually develop and create that branch in your company. So a lot of the way, most of the customers that we’ve worked with, they say, let’s do it on a project by project basis, right? So they come to us per project, we work with them on a particular project, and then what we start seeing is a natural progression, which is what we love to see because those companies get to grow in their own rights and according to their trajectory that they’re aiming for and what’s part, what makes sense for them as a company. And we’re there to help them grow along that path essentially, and to help them. So for example, one of our longest standing companies or customers that we’ve been working with, they started with quite simplistic boom deliverables. And it was very much that project as it was a singular model, that’s all they needed as a starting point. They also did start when Boom was also being more newly introduced. So we’re in a, at a bit of a different phase right now. But now that we’ve worked with them for quite some time, we’re actually now involved in projects where we are coming in with them right from design phase. So all through their detailed design, all through their document production and their detailed design production, and then through into the actual construction phase and working through them with the coordination through BIM project management, through that information management et cetera. So it’s really started helping, or it’s really helped them, I believe one tender for bigger projects and projects that they’ve been aiming and working with new customers that they’ve been trying to target for quite some time. So it’s opened up an entirely different avenue of exploration for them for projects. And then more importantly, it’s allowing them, I think, to take more ownership of the bigger picture of the package that they represent. So instead of just being, as they started more from an installation perspective, they now coming in more from a design perspective and then leading into the installation and they get to actually run seamlessly with their project team. So they’re able to contribute more to the bigger project. They’re able to work in a much closer way with the designers. So they’re getting involved upfront so that entire way that they’re collaborating with the team is different. And I think for them, what they’ve seen a lot in terms of the benefit then is being able to actually resolve their designs at a much earlier point. Especially with their particular type of package. There are a lot of unforeseens that generally happen on site. They’ve got to order their materials quite far in advance. They’ve got to bring everything to site. And then you realize, okay, actually there’s been delays on this level and we can’t install anything then, so now we need to go to a different level. But there’s a completely different, there’s a change in design, we weren’t aware of from a structural point of view, and now we are having to adapt our design and our detailing to suit that and accommodate that working in a three D environment and in a collaborative environment with those other main consultants, is a fantastic opportunity for them to be able to say, okay, we’ve got oversight of the building as a whole. We’ve got the greater understanding of the context of what we’re doing, as opposed to simply working in two D drawings, which is what they used to do, where they get two D details, typical details from an architect, you resolve that particular detail and it’s like, oh, great we’ve resolved this installation for this building. But that’s a snapshot, right? So the way we work with them and…

Paul Heming: How is fit in.

Michelle du Plessis: Exactly the way that BIM looks at it is to say it’s not about the snapshot, it’s about finding all those other areas that are generally problematic, and it’s about figuring those out ahead of time. So it’s really exciting and I think they’ve seen a lot of growth from that perspective, which is really lovely for us to know about.

Paul Heming: Yeah, I can imagine. I was going to say, because we spoke about BIM probably almost a year ago now on this show, and we kind of were talking about the fact that it’s very top down in the sector, so government projects, these big projects, it’s mandated on all of them and slowly but surely it’s filtering down into the SME space probably well and truly in the medium sized space. And now even getting down to that small, those smaller projects. And we talked about it as a growth opportunity for contractors, whether you are main or sub, because as you just kind of talked about there, just the fact that they now in this, I’m trying to think of the right way to phrase it, but you know, like they’re BIM competent now, means that they are open season for a whole different raft of clients, probably bigger clients, probably larger projects to be able to grow. Is that something that you genuinely see as it’s almost turning BIM in inverted commas from a cost center to like a profit center in mentality almost, isn’t it?

Michelle du Plessis: It absolutely is. I think, and again, I’ll come back to that. What is your definition of bim If you are nearly ever look at it as a deliverable that’s specific for project IE submitting a model, I don’t believe you will get that. You’re not going to get that growth, you’re not going to get that change, that impact or benefits added to your company. It’s always just going to be something you’re tacking on to your tender as something you need to do. But the different way to look at it is to say it doesn’t only need to be the model, and it’s not only the model. What BIM is, it’s a change in working process that’s really actually what it is. And it’s a change in the way your information is being captured, being created, and being shared with other team members who need that information. That is the driver behind why I believe BIM is so important because it’s creating information that is actually tangible, usable, and shareable to the people who need to be able to use it. So if you imagine that within your own company, forget about, and sorry, I completely agree with you from that top down approach, everything is always very driven from that perspective, which of course is fantastic. You have to have those big drivers in place. But where we come from is we look from the bottom up, and for me there’s sometimes disconnect between what certain people on the bottom essentially or at the bottom are being asked to do or to deliver. And that comes into I think, a bit of a disconnector and misunderstanding of how it applies to those people and the requirements that are being set at the top, don’t always take that into account. So it’s a really, really important conversation to have. And that to me drives the idea of, for those companies, particularly the SMEs, but specifically that supply chain, the sub-contractors, but especially the subcontractors, is regardless of whether you’re being asked to do something, is there a way that you can find will benefit you enough that you want to do it? And that for me is essential, is to change the need to do to our want to do. And I think if you look at it differently from saying, okay, we are going to actually, we are going to change the way this company works, the way this company structures its information and shares and creates its information and shares its information. If you can get on board with that notion and understanding the impact that that can have to your company, then I think it’s a completely different conversation to be having. Because I believe that really can push companies forward in a huge, huge way. As a matter of interest, I know a particular architectural company who looked at when three D modeling and working in, for example, Revit, but working in those programs became I think a lot more popular and they converted, they essentially did a complete re overhaul of their entire company to say, we are going to stop working in two D and we are going to start working in a three D environment. And I think from that perspective, they had to look at to say, I think it took them about three to five years. It was a big company had over a, I think about a 150 people or so, but it took about that amount of time for them to do that across the entirety of that company and to get people back up because of course you’ve got existing staff members and resources who know brilliantly what they do and how they do it, but to be able to break down certain barriers for your own staff and to bring in and introduce new ideas, you’re then also bringing in sometimes new people who are great in the program, but have very little experience in real life world.

Paul Heming: And what did that do for them?

Michelle du Plessis: I think that’s pushed them into a completely new dimension, to be perfectly honest. If I look at the projects they are now able to work on the scale of the projects, the type of projects, if I look at the developers that they’re starting to work alongside, it’s a completely different realm of projects and of work.

Paul Heming: It’s like same growth principle, isn’t it?

Michelle du Plessis: Absolutely.

Paul Heming: So I think this is really interesting conversation, I guess, and aside from that, just saying pick up the phone and speak to you, Michelle, can I ask if there are people listening to this show right now, they may be small, they may be medium size, whatever size company they have who feel like they’re either not progressing enough with their BIM journey or have not even started it whatsoever, but hear what you are saying about the growth potential and it’s almost like future proof in your business in the years to come. What would your advice be to someone at the very beginning of their BIM journey in inverted comm?

Michelle du Plessis: So my advice is, first and foremost I would say is educate yourself on what it is and what it can mean to you. Before you jump in and just throw money, for example, at a certain thing to be, oh, well we need this, let’s just hire a BIM manager personally, that’s probably setting you up for failure because a lot of people, it’s like, oh, well we have a BIM manager, it’s fine, we can deliver on this. But unless you understand what BIM is in the greater hole in terms of how it affects, if you’re aiming and targeting bigger companies, you’re wanting to work with or higher end projects for example, and you need BIM to be factored into your way of working in order to, from a compliance point of view to be able to actually tender for certain projects. Well, if that’s in your growth trajectory as a company then I think it’s something you really need to consider. So I think you need to one, ask yourself why, why are you looking at them? What is the reason behind that? Because if that why is, well it’s a word people are throwing around and we need it, that’s great. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to understand the driver behind because it is a fundamental shift you are going to make to your company at the end of the day. So understand from that perspective the why, and then look into the research in terms of understanding how that can actually impact you. And that’s both in a negative and a positive light because you need to understand, I don’t mean negative in terms of, oh, there’s bad connotations around it, I simply mean there are certain parts of your company or of your work process that’s going to shift and you’re always going to need that teething period and that teething phase where it’s going to be extra work put in, it’s going to be a lot of dynamics and a lot of frustration that’s going to come your way because you now try something you always knew how to do and you could almost do on autopilot you having to say, no, we can’t do it that way anymore. Now we need to do it this way. And it is, it’s not an easy thing to be able to do that. So you know…

Paul Heming: Short-term pain for long-term gain though, right?

Michelle du Plessis: It is, it is. And with that in mind, having the bigger goal and really having that why answered I think helps keep your focus to say, but we know why we are wanting to do this and therefore we are going to persevere and we are going to push forward.

Paul Heming: I think that’s a really, really great answer. And you know, for so many people that why is going to be around that growth point or it’s going to be around that future proofing of the business and we want to get to this level and speak with those kind of clients and I think that’s a wonderful, wonderful way for us to end the show. Michelle, thank you for coming on. I will, for everyone’s benefit, leaving Michelle’s details, both of her own conduct details and also of the company, I’ll be leaving that in the show notes. Be sure to reach out with Michelle and Michelle, thank you very, very much for charming me with your delightful South African accent and for speaking so eloquently today.

Michelle du Plessis: Thank you very much, Paul. It was fantastic to be here with you and yeah, looking really forward to having further conversations hopefully at some point.

Paul Heming: Yes, indeed. And guys, I will speak to you next week. I will also remind you that in the show notes along with Michelle’s details, you’ve got the final account template, go and download that and I will be back next week. Until then, have a very good one.

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