Whether glazing contractors like it or not, Building Information Modeling is here to stay. In fact, it’s still very much on the way up.

That was the message from panel members Wednesday during a webinar hosted by McGraw Hill Construction, which focused on giving specialty contractors an overview of BIM and what it means for them.

“BIM is the most significant technological advancement that is purveying the industry right now,” says Cliff Brewis, senior director of editorial operations at McGraw Hill Construction.

The presenters cautioned that, while BIM may not be for everyone at this point in time, it has grown well beyond being considered just a supplemental add-on of a given project into what many owners have now made a requirement.

“A lot of the institutional owners and commercial owners are in fact demanding BIM models be incorporated,” says Christian Burger, principal at Burger Consulting Group. “Because they want to capture that data at the end of the project, or they want to use some of their own data as they’re beginning to develop those historical models for their own building portfolio.”

Aside from the benefits owners reap from having all of the data collected in the BIM process at their fingertips after the project is complete, BIM can provide a major boost in efficiency for contractors across many different levels.

Code compliance is a major one.

With specialty contractors—contract glaziers, in particular—needing to be involved early in the design process in order to ensure the project complies with the ever-increasing stringency in building and energy codes, BIM can be very helpful in alleviating some of those headaches.

“One of the things the model is particularly good at is providing a feedback on the compliance for the building itself,” says Burger. “Are you LEED compliant? Are you compliant with hospital, healthcare and safety regulations? So the model can inform a lot of people involved in the project in terms of compliance.”

Another factor raised in the webinar is the “reduced risk” BIM provides in projects from a trial and error standpoint.

“Resolving virtual issues is always cheaper than RFI’s during construction,” says Todd Ellsworth, director of virtual design construction at BuildingPoint Midwest. “If I can resolve something when the designer is still involved—before I have laborers out in the field, before I have ordered materials—that’s always going to be cheaper.”

Burger adds that BIM can be very useful in “doing energy analysis for cost of operation,” which, like many other aspects of BIM, can impact things long after the keys are handed over to the owner.

“The model is really going to become much richer, more informative, more valuable,” he says. “And that’s going to influence more contractors and more owners to want to use it.”