BIM … the picture one year on

In our last Newsletter, we looked at the results of Building Magazine’s annual BIM survey.  This highlighted several obstacles to BIM take-up, including the level of investment needed and the lack of understanding – both still major concerns.

Two recent surveys carried out by NBS and Construction Manager & BIM+ show that many companies continue to be wary of the technology.

At Digital Inc, we realise that taking that initial step into BIM can be daunting, which is why we work alongside our clients, offering assistance and advice on Building Information Modelling, and its implementation into workflow practices.

When BIM Level 2 came into force a year ago, there was hope that it would lead to a wider understanding of the process involved.  However, although the mandate stated that all public contracts procured by Central Government needed to be BIM compliant, these two surveys show that the government themselves are failing to make BIM a requirement when engaging firms.  This is having a huge knock-on effect into the private sector, and while the use of BIM is on the rise (at least among larger practices), so far clients are still split between those who can see the benefits of BIM, and those who think it’s just one more upfront cost.

NBS Survey

In this survey, with over 1,000 construction industry professionals, 51% of the respondents felt that Central Government had not lived up to its own targets for BIM.  At local government level, the use of BIM is not mandated, and many architects feel that some local authorities don’t understand what BIM is, let alone how to procure it.  In the private sector, 72% felt that clients (in general) did not understand Building Information Modelling and the benefits to be gained from its implementation.

There was also some concern about the industry’s own ability to deliver on the mandate, with around half of the respondents saying the construction sector had failed to take up the challenge of BIM.

Thankfully, there is a glimmer of hope, as other parts of the survey revealed an increased awareness of the process.  More than 62% said that they now use BIM – a huge jump from 54% in 2016.

The NBS survey also showed that many more firms are realising the benefits of the technology.  Around 70% thought that BIM would help reduce costs, and 60% said it would save time.

The Construction Manager/BIM+ Survey

Construction Manager and BIM+ regularly survey their readers to gauge the trends in Building Information Modelling.  This year the respondents included clients, project managers, contractors, consultants, and other construction disciplines from the public and private sector.

This survey agreed that client take-up was the key to the wider acceptance of BIM.  But, again, it showed that clients – including the government – are still reluctant to embrace BIM, partly due to the cost, and partly the lack of understanding.

At the same time, many more organisations said they had experience of using BIM, although these were mainly larger practices and Tier 1 contractors.  As in previous surveys, it’s the SMEs that are still lagging behind, dissuaded by the high upfront investment needed (in technology, staff training and recruitment).  It also appeared that belief in the benefits of BIM (such as improved cost efficiencies) had reduced, or changed little from last year.  However, well over half the respondents highlighted greater collaboration as being the main benefit, with 64% saying they have seen positive signs or good results.

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