Building Magazine 4th Annual BIM  Survey:  ups and downs

Building magazine’s annual survey has once again provided us with valuable snapshot of how BIM is viewed within the construction industry.

As always, the survey attracted a wide cross-section of respondents – nearly 600 from all over the country.  In the main, these were architects and consultants, but also included contractors and subcontractors (around 14%), and a small number of clients (3%).  About 44% of the total represented companies with a turnover of under £5million, and 22% were from very large organisations, turning over £100million or more.

In previous years, this survey had shown a steady increase in BIM uptake.  Worryingly, this appears to have slowed to a crawl, with the percentage of those using it on any project falling back 3% from a high of 73% last year.  Even more worryingly, 40% of the respondents felt that BIM was overhyped – a big jump from 34% in 2016.

Despite this, many companies (approximately two-thirds of all respondents) reported seeing the benefits of BIM.  Mark Bew, Chair of the Government’s Digital Built Britain programme, feels that the Level 2 mandate should take a lot of the credit for this, telling Building Magazine, “Seventy per cent using BIM in five years is amazing; without the intervention [of the government mandate] it would be more like 30%.”

As in previous surveys, clash detection, greater collaboration, and the ability to make better, more informed design decisions were noted as the main benefits of BIM.  Challenges faced include difficulty in managing the complexity of the data, and higher up-front technology and project costs.  And although the recruitment of skilled and experienced staff was no longer seen as the main barrier, it is still a significant problem for all employers.

However, once again, the biggest challenge is seen as client uptake, with many feeling that the increased cost at design stage is a major stumbling block.  There are signs that this is improving, though, with a slight rise in those saying it results in not only in better design but also in time savings.

According to Paul Swaddle, head of business solutions at NBS, this is the key.  He told Building magazine, “We need to communicate to clients that these benefits may be across the entire life of a project, not necessarily in the design phase, and that the increased time and effort at the design stage is worthwhile later.”

The full survey results are available at building.co.uk/focus/bim-survey-model-answers/5090505.article

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2018-01-10T11:57:07+00:00
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