When you introduce processes associated with things like BIM (building information modeling) into homebuilding, it tends to have an impact on all other operations associated with the build cycle. From sales, to customer relations, to purchasing, and even estimating and accounting, builders need to prepare for a change in technology when adopting BIM.

But in the past such functions remained isolated within a building company. Integrated efforts have long tried to piece it all together, but with little-to-no success. This week at the Intl. Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, four software companies are hoping they have the formula to finally make the integrated approach a success.

Combining workflow management and scheduling from BuilderMT, www.buildermt.com, Lakewood, Colo., sales and CRM (customer-relationship management) from Sales Simplicity, www.salessimplicity.net, Chandler, Ariz., and design and modeling software from ITW Instinct, www.itwinstinct.com, Glenview, Ill., all with BIM services from CG Visions, www.cgvisions.com, Lafayette, Ind., this group believes it has the answer to finally helping homebuilders understand the true impact of BIM.

At the core is the ability to link BIM and CAD home-design files to sales, estimating, accounting, purchasing, work orders, and scheduling. The group is promoting the ability for custom and semi-custom homes to now be built at production speeds. In addition, the costs and predictability can now be controlled better by being able to handle the process more efficiently, says the group.

A great example cited by the group is the ability to link the sales process, option-selection system, workflow management tools and 3D architectural software in a comprehensive BIM solution. This will allow builders to dynamically link any option-configured home plan directly to estimating and purchasing. With such information they are able to estimate the lot-specific costs, along with individual cycletimes, in a more quick and efficient manner.

Integration seems to always be at the top of the wish list for any builder using technology. Likewise, such efforts remain germane to the long-term strategy for many software and solution providers. This group of companies has long made integration a primary objective amongst its set of solutions. However, builders aren’t always strictly tied to these particular solutions, and the question becomes how well would the process integrate when using a system outside of this alliance?

True integration still seems far off. At least in this alliance, the homebuilding software market looks to take one step closer towards the overall goal. However, true integration in the market still seems far off. Are we any closer?