Building information modelling (BIM) is an important tool in improving efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the construction industry.
BIM provides for the gathering of information relating to design, functionality and life span in forms that can be shared by the participants in the project. In this way, designers, contractors and suppliers can have a current view of the progress of the building project and have an influence on the design and specification prior to, and during, execution. 3D representation is a key element of BIM, however, this can be widened to 4D – which includes time frames, and 5D – which additionally comprises cost management.
BIM in construction
A number of governments have been taking steps to drive the adoption of BIM. The UK government, for example, stipulated in the Government Construction Strategy 2011 that BIM Level 2 should be used on all public procurement projects from April 2016. The adoption of BIM is seen as a means to achieve a 20% reduction in the construction and operating costs of new buildings. BIM Level 2 requires each member of the design team to develop building information in a collaborative 3D environment that may also include data relating to costs or modelling, but created in separate discipline models. Information should be transferable to all of the project’s participants.
BIM Level 3 aims for full collaboration between all disciplines by means of using a single, shared project model held in a centralised repository. All parties will be able to access and modify that same model with the benefit being that it removes the final layer of conflicting information. BIM has been implemented worldwide with the more advanced economies of the US, Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, Brazil, Canada, Australia and New Zealand recording significant take-up.
In the second quarter of 2019 GlobalData surveyed over 100 organisations involved in construction projects, including contractors, surveyors, civil engineers and architects, to obtain an understanding of the state of BIM uptake in the global market and its perceived effect on return on investment (ROI), as well as the barriers and future plans with respect to BIM usage.
The results of this latest survey compared with one undertaken in 2016 show that BIM usage has picked up. According to survey results, 64% of respondents stated that they currently use BIM, compared with just 29% of respondents in the 2016 survey.
In the latest survey, 17% stated that usage was “extensive, across the majority of projects”, while 47% said usage was “limited, across a minority of projects”. Usage levels were highest among respondent based in North America (75% of the total), just ahead of those Western Europe (73%). The share of respondents stating they had yet to use BIM and had no intention of doing so in the year ahead stood at 21% in the 2019 survey globally, down from 41% in the 2016 survey.
One key driver of this expansion appears to demand from project owners. When asked about their company’s assessment on BIM technology, 39% of respondents stated that owners were increasingly requiring the use of BIM technology on their projects. This was up from 19% of respondents in the 2016 survey, and mainly reflects the high number of respondents providing this response in Western Europe (46%) and North America (43%).
It is also apparent that respondents are becoming increasingly aware that BIM is going to be the future of the building information industry, with 35% of respondents stating this in the current survey, marginally up from 33% in the 2016 survey. There was also a drop in the share of respondents stating that the industry had yet to get a clear idea on BIM technology. However, there is still some way to go to broaden BIM usage, with 24% stating that there was limited or no demand for BIM in their business areas.