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    Outsourcing Work?

    Does anyone do much outsourced work - either as the provider or client? We are looking into getting some of the more basic and / or overflow work we do setup through a third party but I'm nervous about the final quality. So far we have done two or three small jobs this way and the quality (with respect to correct methods and procedures in Revit/CAD) has been hit-or-miss. If the jobs were strictly for a rendering or something like a logo I wouldn't worry quite as much but the last two jobs we did involved getting the model built (small residence) and then adjusting later per the client's request - changing colors / materials and some minor architectural adjustments - which means I'm stuck trying to decipher someone else's model which may or may not be built correctly - in-place families instead of components, bad naming standards (wall1, wall2 vs. exterior - brick w/ metal stud) etc.

    I'm unsure of how to specify a specific workflow or guidelines on what is 'correct' or 'acceptable.' I know if I were providing the model I would want to use my template and workflow because of all the content that is already in it.

    Any thoughts? Advice? Beer?
    Revit for newbies - A starting point for RFO


    chad
    BEER: Better, Efficient, Elegant, Repeatable.

    #2
    Originally posted by cellophane View Post
    Advice?
    In short, from the side of appointing (rather than providing) outsourced work, I can not recommend doing it.

    YMMV - I can only recommend you (and anyone else considering it) only ever embark on such a partnership with EVERYTHING spelt out - and I mean everything. Think a BEP on steroids. You're going to want, no need, to drill down to the "how" you model things, not just the "what" and "when".
    Last edited by snowyweston; November 14, 2012, 05:05 PM.

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      #3
      Originally posted by snowyweston View Post
      In short, from the side of appointing (rather than providing) outsourced work, I can not recommend doing it.

      YMMV - I can only recommend you (and anyone else considering it) only ever embark on such a partnership with EVERYTHING spelt out - and I mean everything. Think a BEP on steroids. You're going to want, no need, to drill down to the "how" you model things, not just the "what" and "when".
      I would assume that using a "BEP on steroids" as you put it would crank the rates up quite a bit? I personally would want something like that as a provider but I would probably charge more upfront, even though in the long run it would turn out better for everyone...
      Revit for newbies - A starting point for RFO


      chad
      BEER: Better, Efficient, Elegant, Repeatable.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by cellophane View Post
        I would assume that using a "BEP on steroids" as you put it would crank the rates up quite a bit?
        If you feel it should then why not - afterall, it's your time - at the very least that should play a factor in your quote.

        As to how the model is developed, clearly that's a discussion to be had to weigh up the benefits of doing anything/everything "BIM-esque" - and one to be had as early as possible - so you might price accordingly.

        Tasks that eat into resources and the programme, like renders, should, in my opinion, be treated at a different rate, or as bolt-on extras in any appointment, BIM or otherwise. Sure, Revit offers a fluid workflow to make (rudimentary) visualisation deliverables within reach at any point, but that's not to say it's not worth something, but then equally can be factored when considerating discounts leveraged from that gain in efficiency to win over rival bidders.

        I have advocated, but have yet to implement in my BIM roles (but successfully in a former CAD-based role) the idea of a "graded" service. A Bronze/Silver/Gold rate if you will. A sliding scale along which clients can pick n' mix from your skillset to deliver their (BIM) project. i.e.

        Client : "We would like renders"
        You : "We can provide renders, and will price against your requirements and their quantity"
        Client : "Photorealistic?"
        You : "Significantly increases the commitment assigned to materiality, and detail within the model"
        Client : "At cost?"
        You : "Understandably, with respect there would be gains afforded by such investment for other packages, and the delivery of them, so you would see savings elsewhere in requesting them."
        Client : "What if I wanted 20 Photorealistic scenes?"
        You "As you know, authoring tools such as Revit make it possible to compose many scenes relatively easy - and scenes can be trialled and developed in parallel to the the programme. Although not photorealistic, these scenes are invaluable in design - so we add no further cost to their production. When so desired, post-production work for photorealistic output is factored at an hourly rate.

        The same goes for LOD. These numbers are totally imaginary, but think :
        LOD100 = x1 fee rate, i.e. 2No.Packages @ 20 drawings @ 1 hour a drawing x £50 a hour = £2000
        LOD200 = x2 fee rate, i.e. 2No.Packages @ 20 drawings @ 1 hour a drawing x £50 a hour = £4000
        LOD300 = x3 fee rate, i.e. 2No.Packages @ 20 drawings @ 1 hour a drawing x £50 a hour = £6000
        LOD400 = x4 fee rate, i.e. 2No.Packages @ 20 drawings @ 1 hour a drawing x £50 a hour = £8000
        LOD500 = x5 fee rate, i.e. 2No.Packages @ 20 drawings @ 1 hour a drawing x £50 a hour = £10,000
        Last edited by snowyweston; November 14, 2012, 11:39 PM.

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          #5
          As someone regularly doing outsourced work, I can only agree with Chad. I won't even work with you if you don't have a "BEP on steroids"... It's not just you that will loose time/profits when the desired workflow isn't spelled out properly. I hate doing stuff twice because my "boss' forgot to mention their very specific workflows. If you don't have a BEP, send me at least one project I can dissect beforehand to find out your workflow.

          Besides that: outsourcing will only benefit you if you build a steady relationship with your freelancer. Don't think you can profit from the start. The first project, I will drive you nuts with all kinds of questions. The second, I still may need to ask a few questions. But after that, I'll probably know what you want and how you want it by heart.
          Martijn de Riet
          Professional Revit Consultant | Revit API Developer
          MdR Advies
          Planta1 Revit Online Consulting

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            #6
            Coming from an outsource (15years) we always asked for:
            1) a copy of the clients in house protocols /manuals,
            2) a sample project and
            3) a project kick off meeting (either in person or phone conference) get them to sign a "non disclosure agreement" if you are worried about losing IP.

            If there are specific workflow / practices, you have to relay that to the outsource team and a good outsource team will actually ask you first, it's all about communication. You can't just send a sketch and expect them to read your mind and produce documents to your expectations.

            As well as a BEP you could ask them for a "service level agreement" (or include it in the BEP)

            You can do it and do it successfully, but it does have to be managed. It's not a set and forget exercise.
            Andrew Harp
            BIM Manager GHD
            If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you.
            If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.

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              #7
              There are two potential reasons to do it:

              1. You think youre going to make a major profit because the labor is so cheap
              2. You just dont have enough butts in the seats and you need more help, and are willing to pay for it.

              If its situation number 1, youre going to get lousy quality work. If its sitch number 2, it can work pretty successfully. But so far every time ive tried it (and ive tried it a lot) it has gone like this:

              1. A member of management/leadership tells an outsourcer we need a model built, that its 50,000 SF.
              2. They get an AMAZING price quote.
              3. Everyone thinks outsourcing is amazing.
              4. They sign the paper.
              5. They start the work.
              6. You get the model, and its a bag of ****.
              7. You tell them from now on, the model must be built to these standards (and hand them your BEP).
              8. On the next job, the labor rates are as high (or close to) your staffs labor.
              9. You start the second project.
              10. The model looks great.


              Its a case of you get what you pay (and ask) for. But i advise having a VERY VERY VERY specific BEP. Back in the day (before i even had a BEP typed out) i manually typed instructions for how i wanted a small model done, but an outsourcer. It was 10-12 pages single spaced.
              Aaron "selfish AND petulant" Maller |P A R A L L A X T E A M | Practice Technology Implementation
              @Web | @Twitter | @LinkedIn | @Email

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                #8
                Originally posted by mdradvies View Post
                Besides that: outsourcing will only benefit you if you build a steady relationship with your freelancer. Don't think you can profit from the start. The first project, I will drive you nuts with all kinds of questions. The second, I still may need to ask a few questions. But after that, I'll probably know what you want and how you want it by heart.
                I would rather you ask me hundreds of questions and get it right than try to reverse engineer a bad model

                Originally posted by Drew View Post
                As well as a BEP you could ask them for a "service level agreement" (or include it in the BEP)
                I'm not sure what you mean by "service level agreement" - could you clarify?


                Does anyone have a basic BEP they could share? I have the Penn St. documents but they are pretty meaty and it will take me a bit to work through it.
                Revit for newbies - A starting point for RFO


                chad
                BEER: Better, Efficient, Elegant, Repeatable.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by cellophane View Post
                  I wI'm not sure what you mean by "service level agreement" - could you clarify?
                  Unless it's something entirely different to what I think it is, a "service level agreement" is effectively a rundown on what is going to be delivered, and when, aligned with your contractual appointment - think of it as bridge between BIM and (still quite traditional) legalise of your engagements, in essence a means to marry the "what & how" of the BEP with the "when & for how much" of the contract.

                  Originally posted by cellophane View Post
                  Does anyone have a basic BEP they could share?
                  You're welcome to our present one, it is by no means the "BEP on steroids" it should be - because we're still very much in early day BIMplementation and presently working to third-party BEP documents on our (current) live projects - documents I must add are unwieldy and pot-holed with contradiction and out-dated waffle.

                  One thing I've always felt about BEP is that they should be collectively authored per job - although some like to champion the BMP term for that - which is where, like LOD, the BIM acronyms and jargon start to fall over themselves all over again. I've already seen far too many BEP "templates" that are pre-cast in stone with the authoring company's best interests in mind; all-assuming doucments that strongarm internal "best-practice" documents & standards - some even going so far as to include material more suited to the Autodesk Wiki and needlessly, exhaustively, trying to capture every conceivable aspect of present-day BIM idealogies. Yes, a BEP should cover everything - but in template form, to be populated in agreement - which where the BIM-kickoff meeting is essential because each party can bring their internal documents to the table and cherry-pick-piece the best, most relevant, parts together by consensus to form the BEP.

                  Back on topic about outsourcing, I'll qualify my earlier "don't do it" response with the fact I've had nothing but bad experience with outsourcing, freelancers and temps - so post(ed) from a jaded perspective. Well established providers (and users) will no doubt have better things to say - but I can only echo Aaron's example of how too easily the decision to outsource can go bad - and yes, it is very much caveat emptor.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by snowyweston View Post
                    One thing I've always felt about BEP is that they should be collectively authored per job - although some like to champion the BMP term for that - which is where, like LOD, the BIM acronyms and jargon start to fall over themselves all over again.

                    Back on topic about outsourcing, I'll qualify my earlier "don't do it" response with the fact I've had nothing but bad experience with outsourcing, freelancers and temps - so post(ed) from a jaded perspective. Well established providers (and users) will no doubt have better things to say - but I can only echo Aaron's example of how too easily the decision to outsource can go bad - and yes, it is very much caveat emptor.
                    Yeah... the jargon can be overwhelming. I went to a seminar last night that had contractors and architects talking about how they use BIM (i.e. Revit) and they used numerous terms interchangeably. I started keeping a tally of how many times they used terms either incorrectly or the completely wrong term. :banghead:

                    As I said - we have had success in the past but our requirements weren't very in-depth and the models were, for all intents and purposes, for renderings. I have seen outsourcing go very badly in the past though, even with a traditional arrangement of design architect & record architect. In fact I am mid-project now where that arrangement is going to give me an ulcer
                    Revit for newbies - A starting point for RFO


                    chad
                    BEER: Better, Efficient, Elegant, Repeatable.

                    Comment

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