How is UtahBIM Different than a GC’s BIM Department?

A couple of weeks ago, I had a someone ask me what sets UtahBIM’s BIM/VDC services apart from a BIM/VDC department of a General Contractor.

It was a great question, and something I had not put down to paper.  Here is the email I sent back:

Good Morning ________,

I’ve been giving your question a lot of thought over the last few days, and I have found the answer to what sets UtahBIM apart from a BIM department of a General Contractor.

The number one thing that sets us apart is
our ability to think outside of the BIM box, reducing rework, saving time and money.

Our company specializes in two things: 


  1. 1-BIM/VDC Coordination
  2. 2-Software extension creation for BIM tools (like Revit and Navisworks)

Over the last seven years, I’ve learned how to automate tasks in Revit (the main BIM software that your organization and your contractors use for your projects) by coding programs to handle repetitive, error-prone, and time-consuming tasks.

Most general contractors just coordinate when it’s time to coordinate and trust that the subs will either figure it out or fix it on their dime. We don’t do it that way. We help our design teams and the subcontractors solve their most frustrating problems and act as a partner, rather than just another manager.



Lessons from Lindon

Transparency in Coordination Progress during Design Phase


When I first started coordinating with the Lindon Temple Pre-construction team during the design phase, I tried coordinating the Temple just like any other building. I set up the model to clash and send out issues to each of our design team members, and asked them to review and resolve the issues. I was really optimistic about this working, but it didn’t.

I learned that Temple projects require more transparency in their reporting of our coordination efforts.

So, after a few weeks of not getting any real response from our design team, I created a PowerBI dashboard showing all of the open design issues and clashes and presented it to the entire team. The SPM on that project, was surprised that we still had so many outstanding clashes and had some private conversations with the architect to have them respond to these issues in a timely manner so the drawings would be ready for CD’s. And they were.

I also adopted a slightly different approach in assisting our design team’s consultants and the GC’s subcontractors.


Helping Electrical Engineer Fix Their Model


The electrical engineer was tasked with making sure that their electrical outlets and light switches were showing up correctly in their elevation views. Placing these electrical fittings from a floor plan can be EXTREMELY difficult. Baseboard profiles, millwork, and extra layers of drywall make it almost impossible to discern the finish layer of drywall for placement.

As a result, dozens of outlets and switches get hidden behind drywall, millwork, etc. and won’t show up in elevation views, making it impossible to coordinate their locations on the walls.

I wrote some code for the electrical engineer that would mark each buried outlet or switch in red on their floor plans, allowing them to find the buried object and make sure it was showing up in the elevation views for proper coordination.


Live Clash Detection Code

I also wrote a piece of code giving our design team the option to run clash directly within Revit based on our BIM Execution Plan instead of having to export their models to Navisworks to run clash.


Concrete Shear Wall Geometric Difference Calculator 

During the construction coordination, I wrote code to show the geometric differences between the architectural and structural models of the concrete shear walls to help the concrete subcontractor locate discrepancies between the architectural and structural drawings. We sent in the necessary RFI’s and these discrepancies were resolved.


Virtual Install and Pre-Check of Steel Fabrication Members

Once those same concrete shear walls were being installed, I took a LiDAR scanner to the site and scanned these over 100’ tall shear walls and measured the difference between the real-life location of the embeds against where they were located in the steel fabrication model. I then helped the steel subcontractor adjust their steel beam lengths accordingly before they were pre-fabricated so the beams would fit perfectly when installed.


And so on…

These are just a couple of examples of what we did for the Lindon Temple. We also:

  • Automated king stud and corner stud placement
  • Modeled in and clashed the rootballs of the site trees against civil utility lines 
  • Converted model file formats in crazy ways to make the model work perfectly in Procore
  • Used LiDAR to check the window openings to make sure they were the correct rough opening when no one could reach them to measure

For the Yorba Linda Temple:

  • Implemented tri-weekly agile scrum meetings to help coordination go more smoothly
  • Wrote code to automatically model the deflection of the steel beams
  • Wrote code to help us lay out the sloped civil utilities pipes 10 times faster

Why UtahBIM Is Different than GC BIM Departments

In short, it’s because we help our partners solve their problems by using our ability to think and code outside the box when necessary. This reduces the amount of time the design team spends working on the problems, as well as the GC, saving all of them time and money (and snack food). We have the flexibility to try new things, an incredible attention to detail, and a vested interest in the project going well.



We constantly are pushing the limits of the BIM tech world at our company, and would love to bring that mindset to your projects.



If you are building and doing things that no one else has done before, we should partner up. That’s what we excel at.



Thank you for your consideration,

Bowen Call