As we navigate through the complexities of the 21st-century architectural landscape, one technology stands at the forefront of the industry's digital revolution: Building Information Modeling (BIM) Detailing. BIM Detailing is an innovative approach that integrates architectural, engineering, and construction processes into a seamless, cohesive system. This game-changing tool allows for detailed 3D models of buildings with which project teams can enhance communication, reduce information loss, and facilitate problem-solving throughout the building lifecycle.

The practice of BIM Detailing has had a global impact, revolutionizing the way we envision, design, and construct our built environment. Yet, like many aspects of the digital age, much of this work has been offshored - moved to countries with lower labor costs. Although we seem to see this as standard practice, we think it’s time to ask ourselves, “Is this really the best approach for the American architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry?” 

We’ve found the answer more complex than simply reducing immediate costs. When looking at this question from the larger picture of the overall health and sustainability of our industry, it quickly becomes more about investing in our people, ensuring efficient and compliant construction, and creating systems that allow US-based companies better communication and control during the full lifecycle of their projects. 

Bringing these services back to the United States — onshoring BIM — represents a new path forward. This move holds vast potential not only for improving project outcomes but also for fueling job growth, fostering innovation, and maintaining competitiveness in a rapidly evolving industry. 

By onshoring BIM Detailing, we enable closer collaboration among project teams, allowing for real-time communication and quicker response to project alterations or issues. It ensures a higher level of quality control, as all the operations are under one regulatory and cultural environment, familiar to all involved stakeholders.

We’d like to delve into the importance of onshoring BIM Detailing in the USA and examine its potential benefits and impacts on the local industry. As we venture into the new era of digital design and construction, it's time we look towards onshoring as a viable, beneficial strategy for the future of BIM Detailing in the United States.

The Current State of BIM Detailing

BIM Detailing is no longer an emerging novelty but a well-embedded cornerstone of contemporary architecture, engineering, and construction processes. It has become a globally adopted practice thanks in large part to its ability to streamline collaboration and refine the design process. But as with any digital innovation in a globally connected world, the question of offshoring versus onshoring has inevitably arisen.

Offshoring, the practice of outsourcing work to lower-cost countries, has been a common business strategy in various industries, including the BIM sector. At first glance, offshoring BIM Detailing might seem like a cost-effective solution. It offers potential savings on labor, operating costs, and overhead due to the lower wage standards in some overseas countries. However, the offshoring approach also comes with a set of unique challenges and disadvantages that can affect the reputation, quality, efficiency, and overall success of projects.

The first major challenge is communication. BIM Detailing requires regular and detailed communication between all involved parties. Particularly, between the field and the Detailers. When these services are offshored, the geographical distance, time zone differences, lack of USA field-experience, and potential language barriers can hinder effective collaboration. This communication gap can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and potential errors in the detailing process.

Secondly, there are distinct differences in regulatory standards and practices between countries. What might be standard practice in one country could be considered a code violation in the USA. Thus, when BIM detailing services are offshored, there's a risk of misunderstanding or misinterpretation of local building codes and regulations.

In light of these challenges, the notion of onshoring BIM Detailing in the USA is becoming increasingly appealing. Many of the largest sub-contractors in the country are now strictly using field-experienced BIM Detailers here in the USA. But this progression has come at a cost of using offshore labor and having a project, or several, go sideways. Its a large expense to get fab out on site and it doesn’t fit. It’s been seen time and time again, money saved upfront on cheaper labor has cost more in the end. 

Benefits of Onshoring BIM Detailing in the USA

While offshoring BIM Detailing may provide initial cost savings, the long-term benefits of onshoring these crucial services far outweigh the potential short-term gains. Transitioning back to a US-centric model can yield tangible benefits for communication, quality control, and the local economy.

Improved Communication and Collaboration

Onshoring BIM Detailing brings operations back into the same geographical location, drastically improving the lines of communication. With less time zone disparity, real-time collaboration becomes much easier, speeding up project timelines and allowing for faster, more accurate exchanges of information. Furthermore, eliminating language barriers and cultural differences can result in more effective and efficient team collaboration. When everyone has the field-experience in their respective trade, the likelihood of misunderstandings decreases significantly.

Better Quality Control and Assurance

Quality control is pivotal to successful BIM Detailing. By onshoring and using field- experienced labor, firms can have more direct oversight and control over the entire process. Standards of training, practice, and regulation are universally understood and adhered. This uniformity leads to a higher assurance of quality and compliance with local building codes and regulations, reducing the risk of expensive and time-consuming change orders during the course of construction. Getting changes worked out prior to installation is always the more cost effective route.

Positive Economic Impacts on Local Industry

Beyond the scope of individual projects, onshoring BIM Detailing can also have broader positive impacts on the US economy. It helps retain and create jobs within the construction industry, fostering skills development and feeding technological innovation. This, in turn, can stimulate growth within the sector and increase the competitive standing of the US in the global AEC industry. Onshoring also contributes to building a more resilient and self-reliant economy, less susceptible to global disruptions.

When BIM Detailing is completed by American companies for American projects, we open up a new era of growth and innovation in the AEC industry. By focusing on local strengths and capabilities, the industry can deliver superior results, creating a sustainable future for BIM Detailing in the USA.

How ICON-BIM is leading the way

In the pursuit of onshoring BIM Detailing, ICON BIM stands as a pioneer. With a focus on field experience and prioritizing innovation, ICON BIM is actively reshaping the narrative, demonstrating how keeping these operations in the United States can yield significant benefits for the industry.

Overview of ICON BIM's US-based services

ICON BIM offers a comprehensive range of BIM Detailing services, all based within the United States. Our capabilities span the entire lifecycle of a project, from initial design and planning through to construction. By leveraging advanced technology managed by our team of field-experienced trades people, we provide accurate, reliable, and high-quality BIM Detailing services tailored to meet the unique needs of each project and contractor.

Our services include Integrated Project Delivery, MEP/F BIM Detailing up to LOD 500, MEP Coordination, and Spooling. By offering a comprehensive suite of services in-house, we maintain a consistent quality level across all stages of a project. Whether it be working with the design team and owner to handle all BIM efforts before subcontractors estimate the project, working with subcontractors during the design-build phase, or handling a project on a plan spec or design-assist basis, ICON-BIM has the experience to work through any issues before installation begins in the field.  

ICON BIM's Commitment to Quality and Locally-Based Operations

At ICON BIM, we are deeply committed to delivering top-notch quality and believe that onshoring our operations is key to our quality and success. Our locally-based operations enable us to closely collaborate with our clients, ensuring clear communication with the field, and a deep understanding of the means and methods subcontractors use during installation. We know this because all our BIM Detailers started their careers working with the tools in the field. 

Furthermore, being based in the USA, we adhere strictly to local regulations and standards, ensuring that all our projects align with the required codes and norms. No more discovering during install that the sanitary waste system doesn’t meet local code requirements. And through our commitment to onshoring, all our projects contribute to the local economy, creating jobs and fostering skill development in the AEC industry. 

At ICON BIM, our dedication to onshoring is about optimizing quality, fostering collaboration, and contributing positively to the US economy. We stand at the forefront of this movement, leading the way toward a more efficient, sustainable, and innovative future for BIM Detailing in the USA.

The Process of Onshoring BIM Detailing

Onshoring BIM Detailing is not merely a decision - it's a transition that requires strategic planning and execution. When considering how implement this transition, there are specific steps you should work through to see the most reward while reducing any risk. 

Steps to Transition from Offshoring to Onshoring BIM Detailing

  1. Analyzing Current Operations: Begin by thoroughly understanding your current BIM operation's true costs. Determine how frequently you need to verify and correct deliverables/fab, the cost associated with that QA/QC or rework of the fab, the strengths and weaknesses of your current BIM detailing, key areas of improvement, etc. 
  2. Strategic Planning: Develop a comprehensive plan for the transition, accounting for factors like time, cost, resources, and potential challenges.
  3. Partner Selection: Choose a reliable, experienced onshore BIM service provider. Look for providers who demonstrate quality, adherence to regulations, and strong communication.
  4. Transition Management: Manage the process carefully, ensuring a smooth transfer of services with minimal disruption to ongoing projects.
  5. Continuous Review: After the transition, consistently review and refine operations to ensure continued quality and efficiency.

How ICON BIM Can Assist Companies in this Transition

At ICON BIM, we understand that transitioning to onshore operations can be a complex process. That's why we offer our expertise and support to companies making this significant move.

We begin by providing a comprehensive review of your current BIM operations, identifying potential improvements and efficiencies that can be gained from onshoring. We then assist with strategic planning, using our extensive experience in onshore BIM to guide your transition process. Post-transition, we provide ongoing reviews and refinements to ensure your onshore BIM operations are performing at their best, constantly delivering value to your projects.

Our goal at ICON BIM is not just to assist with the onshoring process but to create a successful, sustainable, and beneficial BIM Detailing operation between our companies right here in the USA. When you partner with ICON BIM, you are choosing a dedicated team that prioritizes clear communication, high quality, and strict adherence to regulations. We help you manage the transition and ensure a seamless shift with minimal disruption to your ongoing operations.


As the AEC industry continues to evolve, focus is shifting toward creating more efficient, sustainable, and collaborative practices. Central to this transformation is the strategic decision to onshore BIM Detailing.

This shift towards onshoring can have wide-reaching implications for individual projects and the industry as a whole. When a company chooses to onshore their BIM Detailing, they’re choosing to enhance communication and collaboration, improve quality control, and contribute positively to the local economy. The process, while complex, brings long-term gains that far outweigh the potential short-term advantages of offshoring. It paves the way for a more resilient, innovative, and sustainable AEC industry.

At ICON BIM, we are committed to driving this industry shift. As pioneers in the onshoring of BIM Detailing, we leverage our extensive experience, innovative technologies, and team of skilled professionals to provide high-quality, US-based BIM services. We guide companies through their onshoring transition, providing strategic support at every stage of the process. We foster innovation, enhance local industry growth, and pave the way for a more resilient and efficient AEC sector.

From where we stand, the onshoring of BIM Detailing in the USA is not just a trend; it's a significant shift in the way we think about and execute building projects. As we move toward this new norm, ICON BIM stands ready to lead the way, championing the benefits of onshoring and demonstrating its potential to transform the AEC industry.