Published: December 1, 2022

Why you Need a Detailer with Field Experience



The success of a construction project relies on the accuracy of the model it’s built from. Scheduling delays and cost overages are often due to a disconnect between what’s been detailed and what’s constructible in the field. An un-constructible model leads to increased labor hours due to impractical design, conflicts between scopes, and needing to make adjustments on the fly. 

The solution to closing the gap between detailing and constructibility lies in the skills and knowledge of your detailing team. Detailers who have worked in the field know what works on-site and approach their detailing tasks through that lens. Bringing these skills together means that the building models are designed with precise, code-compliant, constructible systems, keeping projects on schedule and on budget. 


How Does a Project Benefit from a Detailer with Field Experience?

2-1MEP System Benefits

Whether your build is residential, commercial, or industrial, MEP detailing will be required to get your project off the ground. Having a Detailer on your team who has not just detailed, but also installed these systems provides invaluable insight into your build. 

Engineering drawings are designed with the “what” in mind; what the building needs to meet functionality and safety standards. The “how” of your project comes down to your Detailer. When your Detailer has experience installing and repairing systems, they not only understand what the system has to do but the most effective way for the system to do it. 

A field-experienced Detailer is able to troubleshoot problems and reroute systems before they are ordered and installed. This allows for confident prefabrication and efficient installation. They also have an understanding of code requirements and can ensure that the systems installed will be code-compliant. There are many ways Detailing helps a project succeed. Here are 10 ways BIM/Detailing saves you time and money.


Mahonrri Penilla who is now a BIM Manager with ICON BIM


Process Piping Benefits

Process Piping is a specialized area of expertise and not something to be handled lightly. Depending on the purpose and complexity of your project, process piping can be vast and face strict requirements. A Detailer that has a deep understanding of the intricacies of process piping can have huge returns on your project. 

Many of these projects deal with technology that has never been built before. With systems at this level of complexity, your Detailer isn’t simply modeling the existing engineering drawings. They are creating the full system layout from a blank screen. The Process and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs) created by the engineer outline the requirements of the system, but it is up to the Detailer to visualize how the system will exist in the space and meet all the necessary safety and functionality parameters. 

Without prior knowledge of the installation and fabrication of these systems, your Detailer may deliver models that are simply un-constructible and don’t meet specifications. A Detailer who has worked on projects such as semiconductors and biopharmaceutical processing plants delivers models that are constructible, functional, and accessible. 


What a Field-Experienced Detailer Brings

Relevant Code Requirement Knowledge

A Detailer with local field experience knows the specific code requirements in the USA. This knowledge is invaluable during the detailing phase as they are able to identify compliance issues before any systems are ordered, fabricated, or installed. 

Without code knowledge, deficiencies are often not identified until inspection, after installation is complete. Performing rework to become code-compliant causes increased labor hours, equipment reordering, and system reinstallations. 


Precision Pre-Fabrication 

Prefabrication has many benefits, including more efficient scheduling, staging, and installation. However, the success of prefabrication relies on the expertise of your Detailer. Prefabricated systems that have been improperly detailed result in cost overages and schedule delays. Systems that don’t fit or function need to be uninstalled, re-detailed, re-fabricated, and reinstalled. 

A Detailer with field experience understands how these systems will be used and installed. This knowledge allows them to identify problems before fabrication begins and ensure everything is fabricated correctly the first time. Precise prefabrication protects your schedule and budget. This process is typically done during detailing and coordination of a project. This is the critical aspect of accurate prefab. Why should you care about MEP coordination? Find out more here.


We're onsite with the general foreman going over the scanned model and piping design for a central plant replacement before Detailing and fabrication begin.The Ability to Visualize

While a 3D model is a clearer representation than 2D blueprints used to be, it still requires experience to visualize h

ow that model translates to real life. Having a detailer who is also a tradesperson means they have the background knowledge to know how systems will look once installed. 

Being able to mentally connect a virtual model to a physical structure allows for a big-picture perspective that Detailers without field experience simply don’t share. This skill is invaluable in understanding how intricate systems and process piping will exist both in the space itself and around each other.

We're onsite with the general foreman going over the scanned model

and piping design for a central plant replacement before Detailing and

fabrication begins.



Recognizing a system issue is only the first step in constructible modeling. The other piece is correcting the problem without compromising functionality, efficiency, or code compliance. Having installed systems before, field-experienced Detailers have the knowledge to adjust systems during the detailing process in the most efficient, cost-effective way. 

Building models are not static, but grow and change as new details are brought forward or scopes are adjusted. In-depth knowledge of both detailing and installing systems allows a field-experienced detailer to adapt systems to new changes or requirements while maintaining functionality and constructability. 

Maintenance and Access Foresight 

While a finished project marks the end of construction, it begins the maintenance cycle required by complex systems. A Detailer with field experience understands maintenance and access requirements and can plan for them in the detailing and construction phases. 

Without proper access, systems may need to be entirely shut down to perform a single maintenance task. Or without a strategically placed shutoff valve, an entire piping system may have to be emptied to replace one part. Oversights like these can cost building owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in future maintenance inefficiencies. 


What This Means for Your Next Project

When a project isn’t delivered on time, it costs the end-user untold amounts in lost revenue, talent, production, and efficiency. Maintaining a reputation for on-time, on-budget projects ensures your company is well respected and sought after by developers who prioritize quality, predictable builds.  

Working with a field-experienced Detailer comes at a higher upfront cost, but by frontloading these expenses, you’re investing in a build that is completed on schedule with minimal additional costs. When you choose to invest in a field-experienced detailer, you’ll see clear returns, including:

  • on-schedule completion
  • faster build time
  • less rework
  • less material waste
  • lower maintenance costs

Don’t leave the success of your next project at risk. Work with a detailing team that brings a minimum of 10 years of field experience to every project. 

DrewAt ICON-BIM, our Detailers and Leadership are all Journeyman tradespeople with a 5-year union apprenticeship. We approach detailing from a fieldwork standpoint and make constructability the top priority in every model. Our unique combination of innovative BIM technology matched with field knowledge shows we are detailers from the field, detailing for the field. 

To learn more about how our field-experienced detailers can ensure the success of your next project, get a free estimate or learn more about our services. We’d love to discuss how we can bring your next project in on time and on budget!






At ICON-BIM everyone, including the Director of Sales, has field experience.







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