New study claims vast majority of builders now enjoying advantages of BIM

ConstructionA new report from McGraw Hill Construction claims that contractors in nine of the world’s top construction markets who use Building Information Modelling (BIM) believe that the technology helps them to improve productivity, efficiency, quality and safety on their projects, as well as their own competitiveness. The Business Value of BIM for Construction in Major Global Markets SmartMarket Report reveals that contractors in markets with well-established BIM use, such as Canada, France, Germany, the UK and US, as well as those in markets that are still in the initial stages of BIM adoption, such as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, and South Korea, are seeing a positive return on their investments in BIM, from project benefits like reduced errors and omissions, to process improvements like the ability to enhance collaboration, and internal business benefits such as enhancing their company’s image.

“The markets that are just beginning to adopt BIM have really benefitted from the experience of other regions,” says Steve Jones, senior director at McGraw Hill Construction. “These results are exciting because they demonstrate that these newer-to-adopt markets are already outperforming the more established regions in several key areas, including ROI, offering innovative new services and using BIM in the non-building sector. It suggests that BIM is set to transform the approach to construction globally.”

The report’s authors claim that the results also provide evidence of unrelenting growth in the use of BIM that can be expected in the near future. Over the next two years, contractors expect the percentage of their work that involves BIM will increase by 50 percent on average. Given the fact that the study also demonstrates that companies more engaged with BIM achieve more benefits and realize a stronger return on their BIM investments than those less engaged, these results position BIM for powerful growth in all these markets in the next few years. For example, around half of the contractors with a very high BIM engagement report returns in excess of 25 percent on their investments in BIM, while 40 percent of the contractors with very high BIM engagement levels report that BIM significantly reduced rework on projects, resulting in a significant cost savings.

“As greater industry demands unfold, BIM is emerging as a vital process to promote efficiency and leaner operations throughout a construction project’s lifecycle,” says Lisa Campbell, vice president, Industry Strategy and Marketing at Autodesk, Inc., which was the study’s premier partner. “And contractors are poised to see tremendous benefits from BIM across all regions.”

The study claims to provide further evidence of strong future growth in the use as contractors report making aggressive investments in their BIM programs. All eight potential BIM investments measured in the survey, including investments in training, processes, hardware, software and custom 3D libraries, were considered a top priority by at least one third (32 percent) or more of the contractors surveyed.

More contractors with a very high BIM engagement level (61 percent), which the study claims might be considered a gauge for future behaviour regarding BIM, are investing in mobile devices, than the average across the contractors (38 percent), demonstrating that the future of BIM for contractors lies in getting it more widely used in the field.

“With the advent of cloud and mobile technologies, access to all aspects of project data now extends from the office to the field and back,” continues Campbell. “Getting valuable BIM data that has been enriched over the life of the project by all participants, to all project stakeholders can transform project delivery and oversight at the point of construction and beyond. This ubiquitous access to project data further extends the value of BIM and will transform how projects as well as buildings are managed forever.”

In addition, the study describes a broad range of uses to which contractors across the globe are deploying BIM, including how use varies by specific markets. For example, while 82 percent of US contractors use BIM for multi-trade coordination, leading the globe in this area, Brazilian contractors notably lag in this area, with only 25 percent using BIM for the purpose. On the other hand, contractors from Brazil lead in the integration of the model with schedule (4D), a practice only used by 21 percent of firms in the US.

In-depth analysis is provided for several ways contractors use BIM in the preconstruction, construction and post-construction phases of a project, including emerging areas like managing the model for the owner beyond closeout, a trend emerging strong in Asia and Europe but still lagging in North America.

“Using BIM in post-construction by adding maintenance and operations data to the model and managing the model for the owner beyond closeout has the potential to open up new revenue streams,” says Harvey Bernstein, vice president of industry insights and alliances at McGraw Hill Construction. “While nearly half of contractors are adding O&M data, less than one-third are managing the models for the owner. Firms that can use BIM to expand their involvement in the building beyond construction are at the forefront of a potential, highly profitable sea change in the industry.”