Building Magazine’s 2016 BIM Survey

This is Building magazine’s 3rd annual survey, looking at all aspects of BIM, how many practices are now using it, difficulties in implementing it, the benefits seen, and the problems encountered.  The results make interesting reading, especially from our perspective.

As expected, the number of respondents using BIM has continued to rise and is now up to 73% (of the 350 respondents).  And while most of the results were positive, one or two were less-than-favourable.

Surprisingly, there is still a huge amount of cynicism about BIM – around 35% of respondents consider it to be more hype than substance.  This result may be because (predictably) the larger firms are taking the lead in adopting BIM.  Smaller firms are holding back, and maybe not just through cost or lack of experienced staff.  There may be a ‘wait-and-see’ approach, or just simply an unwillingness to believe that BIM can deliver on its promises.

One major concern highlighted is the increased time and costs spent on BIM in the pre-planning stages.  Currently, this may be the case, at least while the industry is getting to grips with implementing the technology.  But it is also noted that using BIM ultimately means fewer changes and less re-work.  Clash detection software is seen as one of the main benefits, eliminating potential problems that may not be spotted until the project is on site – with a severe impact on timescale and budget.

Building’s article on the survey results makes a couple of other points with regards to BIM take up:  one is the lack of any clear process or industry-defined standard.  My recent blog, Surveys in BIM: Where are we now?’, looks at exactly this problem.  Without such a standard, deliverables can easily fall short of what is required or needed, becoming, in effect, useless.

The second point made is the difficulty in recruiting staff with the necessary skills.  The skills shortage is another topic I have written about.  My article ‘Local BIM skills shortage? Think Globally!’ discusses how businesses are overcoming this by implementing a global sourcing strategy, giving them access to experienced BIM technicians – meaning enhanced services to clients, with increased profits and greater cost efficiency … all leading to sustainable business growth.

Overall, however, it does appear that getting our industry BIM-ready is going to take some time – and through baby steps rather than giant leaps.  But as this survey shows, the trend is very much onwards and upwards.

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