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BIM Manager - Career questions, Advice Needed

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    BIM Manager - Career questions, Advice Needed

    Hi there!

    I work for a medium-sized architecture firm in Washington. I have completed three out of four years in an undergraduate degree in preparation for a Masters degree in Architecture. In working for this firm, I have seen their need for a BIM manager. They have transitioned to Revit, but their standards and procedures is little to non-existent. They struggle to meet deadlines, and have difficulty because every issue that comes up has to be handled as if it were an entirely new problem (when it ought to be easy to reference the standards and procedures). The firm has an employee who is quite good with Revit, but isn’t a BIM manager so his time ends up being taken up with mostly architectural drafting.

    I am interested in obtaining the skill set of a BIM manager. I have questions for you, Bim Managers, and anyone who has a unique view on the topic.

    Here is a hypothetical plan. I graduate in the spring of 2016 with a medium level of exposure to Revit (Revit 1 and 2, 2 years of academic experience in the program, and 3 months of exposure to the program in a professional capacity). I then offer myself for hire under an individual contractual basis with the firm I work for now. My contract is specifically for developing their BIM standards and procedures and template to a point where the firm can really crank out drawings without having to argue constantly about how to do something. While I wouldn’t be a “BIM Manager” the contractual basis would allow me to work specifically on these things, and not get dragged into working on architectural projects. I would get better pay than just working as an intern, and I feel as though my efforts could make the firm a much smoother operating entity. I estimate this could take a few years, and by the end I would have the experience and skillset in Revit to be a valuable asset to any firm or contractor as a BIM manager, or as a contractual employee.

    I am just a kid. I’m not really sure how this all works. I have a few questions for those who have experience here:

    How do you convince a firm that they need someone dedicated to BIM?

    Have you heard of an independent contractor sprucing up someone’s standards and procedures?

    Is a non-accredited bachelor’s degree coupled with a few years of BIM related experience valid experience for a BIM manager?

    The idea is, I’m not sure I want to continue on to get my masters in Architecture, when I’m not interested in getting licensed – and if I feel called to this field of technology and process, why not specialize sooner than later. I am motivated by problem solving more than I am just skilled production. I get excited about the self management and entrepreneurial characteristics of the idea. I have visited this forum off and on as a resource for my work in Revit. Let me know what you think, Bimmers, for I know that there isn’t a better wealth of knowledge out there.

    #2
    Originally posted by BIMtopia View Post
    While I wouldn’t be a “BIM Manager” the contractual basis would allow me to work specifically on these things, and not get dragged into working on architectural projects. I would get better pay than just working as an intern, and I feel as though my efforts could make the firm a much smoother operating entity. I estimate this could take a few years, and by the end I would have the experience and skillset in Revit to be a valuable asset to any firm or contractor as a BIM manager, or as a contractual employee.
    Why would you want to come on as a contractor and not an employee? If you contract you don't get any benefits - no paid vacation, no insurance, no whatever else is part of their benefits package. I'm not saying it is a bad idea - just curious.
    I am just a kid. I’m not really sure how this all works. I have a few questions for those who have experience here:
    Who really does?
    How do you convince a firm that they need someone dedicated to BIM?
    I swear I saw a blog post not that long ago that talked about that exact question but damned if I can find it now. You might see if your google-fu is better than mine is at the moment.
    Have you heard of an independent contractor sprucing up someone’s standards and procedures?
    Happens quite a bit. I know of several who are regular posters here.
    Is a non-accredited bachelor’s degree coupled with a few years of BIM related experience valid experience for a BIM manager?
    If the management is worth their salt they will know that experience > degree. Have a read here for some additional thoughts: http://www.revitforum.org/out-there/...-managers.html
    The idea is, I’m not sure I want to continue on to get my masters in Architecture, when I’m not interested in getting licensed – and if I feel called to this field of technology and process, why not specialize sooner than later.
    If you were in-line for a B. Arch and changing programs I would tell you to suck it up and finish the degree. But since you haven't started the Masters portion I'm not sure what to say. IMO - having the degree means a lot more opportunities down the road but it also means two years of grad school debt.
    Revit for newbies - A starting point for RFO


    chad
    BEER: Better, Efficient, Elegant, Repeatable.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for your thoughts cellophane. I hadn't thought about the benefits, that's a good comment. Well, as an intern, I am not getting benefits right now anyways! But chances are, I would after I got my degree, but I think my title would just be draftsman since I wouldn't be an architect in training yet, so I'm not sure what those might be?

      My main reasoning for considering the contractual basis is that it would allow me to be my own boss. I would get to understand how a business is run, (I would probably create my own entity), I could understand accounting and management on a SUPER small scale, I could brand myself and then possibly even in the future if this firm didn't need as much oversight, contract with other firms as well to be more of a community asset than tied to a specific firm. And, that way if the firm decided they didn't require my services, my individual business model could be very nimble and a stronger resume asset than just being a no-longer needed employee. I could also probably negotiate a higher salary, since I would be involved in contract negotiations, presenting myself with a little more motivation and go-get-em than the generic college grad.

      My schooling is a pre-requisite degree in Environmental Design, a BoA, which I will have next year. That is the pre-req for a MoA program, so I will still get my bachelor's, it just isn't an accredited bachelor's.

      Comment


        #4
        I will throw out a bit of advice here. I was a student like yourself. B of Art in Architecture and then went on to get a Masters in Architecture. I really gravitated towards the technology part of the profession as well (working at Autodesk now instead of as an Architect). My suggestion to you would be once you graduate see if you can get hired on to the firm where you intern. Let them know where your interest lies and see if you can get a deal where 1/2 or 1/4 of your hours are "non-billable" then during those hours work on what you are describing, making templates, establishing standards, building families etc... But with the other 1/2-3/4 of your time learn about the practice and profession of Architecture. Part of being a BIM manager is understanding the workflows of the Architectural process. if you are NOT doing it and only concentrating on the BIM Manager part of the job you will not be as effective with those BIM manager hours as you could be. If the firm you are interning at is not receptive to the idea, perhaps you can find somewhere else that is more receptive to you working in this kind of shared role? If you can't get this kind of shared role officially, another way to do it is "un-officially". Work as a "regular" production "Architect in training" and find the hours to do these other "BIM Manger" things on an ad-hoc basis. After hours, on weekends, when "production work" is slow. You can take and try your ideas to improve processes etc... in the office and "prove" the worrth of dedicated hours to this kind of thing. This is pretty much how i chiseled out my role in the office I worked in. Became the "go to" person in the office for all things technical and eventually found myself able to have some of the "non-billable" hours given to me to do this kind of thing each week. Even today I find time to do "skunk works" kinds of projects I am interested in and get them going to a level before I share them with managers. I have not worked at a ton of work places in my life, but i know from experience a lot of times this is how "innovation" takes place.

        Personally I would steer away form working on a "contract" basis. This could be the path to great success being your own boss etc...but there is more risk there. Hunting down work, selling your services as an "in-experienced" BIM manager/consultant. How do you win jobs away from consultants with more experience? You are local? Less expensive? Offer something unique? Plenty to think about there.

        As for the Masters Degree, I will be honest with you and admit there is probably not a tremendous value there if you really never plan on becoming a licensed Architect. I have mine, but never became licensed. It probably has opened a couple of doors for me in my professional life but has not made a huge difference. I was just never really motivated to become licensed and was not really interested in working as an Architect. I liked the technology, I liked the drawing parts of the job, but did not want the hunting down work, project management, business management parts of the job of being an Architect. As i worked more and more in an office I realized what the Architects in the office were doing was NOT what I wanted to be doing. That is probably how I found my way to Autodesk instead. it sounds like you have maybe figured this out already so you have a leg up on me and are probably smarter about what you really want. I don't regret the decision to get my Masters Degree, but if I had it to do again knowing what I know now, I might not do it.
        Last edited by JeffH; July 16, 2015, 01:16 PM.
        Jeff Hanson
        Sr. Subject Matter Expert
        Autodesk, Revit - User Experience

        Comment


          #5
          Well, here's my thoughts on it. As yourself I'm just a kid, but already (recently) graduated in a equivalent of a MArch in Brazil. I came up with a sucesfull strategy in my graduation that I would always try to get internship in companies that were interested in develop something Revit-related. I had so many unique oportunities to develop myself. You see, the managers ALWAYS find value in self-learners willing to go beyond the edge for the company. Sometimes I gave a little push by making a presentation on how BIM could help them, with their real daily scenarios. Doing this you'll get their trust, and then be able to experiment a lot. And that my friend is I what I think was the key to the begining of my career: Experiment a lot, do lots of owfull templates and families.. in order to develop the best ones in the future. Spread the word of the skills you want to achieve, people will start to recognize you even though you're still learning.

          Best of luck!

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you! I appreciate all of the feedback. I am so glad to hear all of this. It is definitely difficult to go from 5 years of telling people I am going to 'become an Architect' to contemplating the decision of dropping out of my current academic path (even though it may lead me to a more economically diverse, profitable, and enjoyable career). Difficult to tell family and friends and such, but I'm glad I'm not completely crazy!! I agree, the contractual stuff is the trickiest aspect, but it excites me!!! maybe something I may do to still dip my toes in that is inquire about the possibility of being hired as a part time eployee (20 hrs a week, plus any overtime in a crunch) and then hire me as a part time contractor. We'll see. Thank you guys for the advice!!

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