You are probably thinking you are going to read how BIM is making the food service industry a success for everyone in this sector. “A Game Changer!” “A God Send!”

But at the moment, this movement towards BIM in the food service industry has been an almighty shock wave of conflict, confusion, indecision, and more expense. It’s meant to be the solution not the catalyst to those things mentioned above.

BIM programs are meant to bring construction-related disciplines closer together allowing a smoother relationship between them. To be able to create a model of a building and coodrinate each other’s work, thus resolving conflicts very early in the design process. Everyone agrees this is one of the welcome pluses. But companies are finding it hard to justify the initial cost of investment. I can see why! When only half the companies, well here in the UK are using BIM or starting the movement towards using it. Yet the other half are not even considering touching it ever, and going for cheaper alternatives. A miss mash of different cheap / free programs that give the illusion of BIM. BIM in some respects is closing work that was once guaranteed for companies. But due to main contractors slowly deciding to only use sub-contractors that are BIM compliant.

BIM works at its best when everyone is working in it. In America where 90 percent of companies are now using BIM in the food services industry, to most of those companies it is that game changer people believe it to be. I have seen the benefits first hand for the companies that invested early into the technology here in the UK. The cost saving benefits and the better coordination early on and the promise of fewer changes late in a project (translating to a lower chance of overrunning the project).

But I can see why not everyone has jumped on the BIM bandwagon and how the confusion over BIM is slowing the uptake. When Revit (the most popular program for BIM) Architecture was developed specifically for architects with content included to create architectural models. Likewise, Revit MEP and Structure were designed to meet the specific requirements of engineers. But where does that leave a specialty consultant like foodservice? And what are the additional challenges that are unique to the foodservice industry?

  • Very few manufacturers have made families (the blocks, symbol’s) available increasing the cost for consultants to invest in making their own blocks.
  • No specialist training for food service professionals, most of the training globally is suited for architects and M&E engineers.
  • Software is expensive and not backwards compatible. making it harder for foodservice companies to keep up with rich architect practices with upgrading the current versions.
  • Bespoke custom items are very common in the food service industry more common than other industries, making it very time consuming to create these.

For the time being, the introduction to BIM to the food services industry has been chaotic and by no means a godsend. But I do foresee that it is only a matter of time when it may be a blessing and advantageous, with everyone one day using BIM models drawn in Revit will be  like how people use Autocad to create kitchen plans today. I am personally excited the direction BIM is taking the food service sector. It is just going to take time and for others to take a leap of faith.

A company that can help with your transition to BIM. Is a company called Specifi®, that are a company that are food service specialist but also BIM specialists, they have the customer support, a huge selection of families. Resolving some of those issues brought up in this article with why some companies are holding back. Why don’t you have a look at their website for more details or even request a free no obligatory 30-day trial.