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The Candy Bar Technique

February 20, 2017 4 min. read

Everyone agrees about the benefits of BIM. A key element of its' success is bringing the models into the field, in the hands of superintendents and foremen. Darren Roos, corporate BIM/VDC director at Bernards, a Southern and Central California general contractor and construction management company, discussed this topic in an awesome interview with James Benham, Josh Bone, and Rob McKinney.

First, the BIM Track crew must give a big shout-out to Darren and Josh for mentioning us during the interview. It’s a pleasure to be a game-changer, associated with reducing latency in the coordination process, and being an essential collaboration tool for coordination with the sub-trades, superintendents, and foremen.

As great as it can be, it’s not why I wanted to write a blog article on this. I had to share a glimpse of all important elements mentioned in that episode of the @TheConTechCrew. You can listen to the interview Episode 55 or read the rest of this article to get my favorite moments. It’s a great episode because of the practical takeaways Darren gave the listeners, but his Star Wars candy bar technique for BIM adoption made it epic. Hang on, we’ll get to the candy bar technique in a second.

First, the main topic of this episode was around getting the models out in the field. The superintendents and foremen can then leverage BIM to reduce waste on-site. Here are a couple of great takeaways Darren gave to bring more people into the BIM process from the field.

  1. Let your subs do it themselves: Don’t do things for people that can do it for themselves, don’t do your sub-trades' models. If you let them do it, the results will be better scheduling, VDC empowerment, and trust.
  1. Don’t be the smartest person in the room: Because you’ve invested in a tool doesn’t mean it’s the best tool for everything. Share knowledge and compare your notes with each other. Work as a team. If someone did something better, check it out.
  1. Don’t wait for meetings before talking about items: You should have a process for identifying and addressing issues at any time, and store it in a place where it’s trackable.
  1. Don’t have 4-hour meetings: If your meeting lasts more than an hour, you were not prepared enough. Worse, the participants might not come back, especially if they are superintendents and foremen. Organize the meeting by filtering the issues by priorities to talk only about the most critical issues.

You’re probably thinking, well I know, it’s common sense. Yes, it is!

Now that you have set in place these crucial rules, you’re wondering how you get people to use the models. That’s when the candy bar technique comes into play. Darren faced this challenge about 10 years ago on a project. There were 25 field personnel on site for that project. A plan room was set up with a computer that had Navisworks on it. Darren did a training session to show the basic features. It was in the plan room and everyone was avoiding it. The idea came to him, it needs to be fun for them to use it. They’ll realize its' power simply by using it. So here is what he did. He created a 3D R2D2 and hid it in the model, moving it around every day. If a team member found it and told him one thing they learned while looking for R2D2, they won a candy bar. After a few days, people were lining up for the computer to find R2D2. Some even started using more advanced functionalities such as filtering or hiding elements. It was a great turnaround, and it proved that sometimes, the best ideas are the simplest ones.

One last thing I want to share from this interview are the tips Darren gave on lean. “Lean thinking is about continuous improvement”, he said. Below are actions you should do to achieve a leaner approach on your projects:

  • Ask questions
  • Don’t be offended when you get criticism
  • Survey at the end of the project
  • Keep moving

We learned great, simple ways to make better coordination and better projects during this interview. Thanks to Darren for sharing.

To book a BIM Track demo: Click here

Christian Proulx

VP of Customer Operations

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