For years, Architects and in some cases Engineers have seen their project involvement slowly diminish as new niche disciplines take over parts of the project delivery process.  Once upon a time, an Architect would have controlled design, contracts, bidding and cost analysis, full contract administration, defects and more.  Many of these components have been trimmed away by quantity surveyors, project managers, and to a large extent Head Contractors.

Could Trade Contractors (in Australia these are often call Subcontractors) be the next group who starts chipping away at this scope, as they take on more and more responsibility for developing detailed BIM models (yeah I said it) for future projects?

Along these lines, you may have seen this tweet, where I quoted Steve Jones from McGraw Hill, speaking at the SmartMarket breakfast in Adelaide this week:

This trend is evidently not limited to just one country, as this quote supports: 
Contractors have now surpassed architects as the fastest growing adopters of BIM. Over the next two years, contractors expect the percentage of their work that involves BIM to increase by 50 percent on average…

Read more in the article at:
Building and Infrastructure Industry Customers Surge to Autodesk in Fourth Quarter –


“The Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), in a tripartite project with the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning National Association (SMACNA) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), has published Achieving Spatial Coordination Through BIM – A Guide for Specialty Contractors.  Dubbed “the Guide”, the publication was conceived, developed, and published to help MEP contractors negotiate one of the most challenging issues in the modern construction industry: how to best reconcile and incorporate leading edge technologies and processes into their projects’ spatial coordination efforts.  Click here to get more information and download the Guide.

Lessons learned by early BIM adopters like MCAA BIM Committee Chairman Steve Shirley (University Mechanical & Engineering Contractors) and fellow members of MCAA’s BIM Committee members were combined to develop a set of best practices and proven, how-to information. The result is a guide that will help contractors better navigate this complex issue and make more informed business decisions about spatial coordination and BIM.  It will also serve as an educational resource for their employees who must act on those decisions.”

The purpose of this Guide is to:

  • Provide MEP contractors with a roadmap for implementing spatial coordination in their businesses;
  • Identify factors MEP contractors should consider when adopting BIM technologies;
  • Help MEP contractors align their spatial coordination processes with industry best practices;
  • Enable MEP contractors to critically evaluate emerging BIM and spatial coordination software solutions and select the solutions most suitable for their own work;
  • Promote collaborative and fair contract language; and
  • Increase MEP contractors’ profitability and reduce customers’ costs by implementing best practices that increase prefabrication, optimize systems installation, minimize or eliminate rework, shorten construction schedules, reduce waste, and produce a better result.

Download at:

Authored by Dave Quigley:

Thanks to Cindy James for referring me to this document.

“on a building project that is made more efficient by VDC it is the subcontractors that have most to gain particularly when you also recognise that subcontract margins are up to seven times that of a head contractor. It makes sense really because it is the subcontractor that is actually doing the construction work.”