Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

OCT 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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36 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • OCTOBER 2017 R oughly four or five years ago, BIM (building information modeling) took the foodservice industry by storm. This product was supposed to revolutionize the way the foodservice industry designed operations. And for good reason. BIM's benefits are many — chief among them is the ability to provide operators with a three- dimensional preview of their kitchens before they are built, clash detec- tion that helps coordinate utilities and structural elements, and the ability for entire project teams to work together in real time. Given the game-changing nature of these benefits, BIM should be the default foodservice design platform by now, right? Not so fast. Adopting this technology comes with some significant hurdles, including costly software licenses, expensive technical infrastructure requirements and a steep learning curve. And lest we forget, the foodservice industry did not craft its high-touch, low-tech image overnight. So where does the foodservice industry stand with BIM today? What does the future hold? Let's find out. Adoption Rate While the foodservice industry con- tinues to transition to BIM, it's taking longer than expected for it to become the default design tool. "Four years ago, we believed in five years BIM would be the default design program," says Doug Fahrenholz, vice president of the foodservice group for The Wasserstrom Company, a Columbus, Ohio-based dealer. "But four years later it's still not it. I would say 20 percent of our busi- ness is in BIM, and the architects are the ones driving that. So, at the rate it's going now, it will take another 5 to 7 years before it takes over 50 percent to 60 percent of our projects." How well the transition is going can depend on one's perspective. "Some of my designers feel it has developed the way they anticipated," says Mark Green, principal at C&T Design and Equipment Co., an Indianapolis-based dealer. "From a management perspec- tive, though, we thought it would be a tidal wave of projects that could crush you. And it has not quite been at that level. Like a snowball rolling downhill, it continues to gain momentum, but slower than we anticipated." Despite its slower-than-anticipated start, make no mistake: BIM will even- tually become the design platform for the foodservice industry. "What's forcing the continued growth is that the ticket for entry for many projects is being able to do all of your submittals in BIM," Green adds. "It's spreading not because of the end user. It's spreading because of the archi- tect. In their world they had to commit to all BIM, all the time. And that's just how they do their business now." While the architects continue to drive the use of BIM, this community doesn't appear to be 100 percent on board when it comes to using this design tool. In fact, James Camacho, principal at the Atlanta design firm Camacho Associates Inc., estimates that only 80 percent of his firm's architectural clients work in BIM. What Happened to the BIM Boom? By Joseph M. Carbonara

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