McGraw Hill Construction recently published its first SmartMarket Report on the adoption and use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) for construction projects worldwide. The report focuses on nine of the world’s 10 largest construction markets – Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the U.K., and the U.S. – and analyzes significant amounts of data on industry trends. McGraw Hill surveyed a total of 727 contractors across these countries in researching the report. You can download The Business Value of BIM for Construction in Major Global Markets here.
McGraw Hill’s findings are reflected in the BIM experience of Aconex – over half of all new construction projects on the Aconex platform now involve cross-organizational teams working on BIM models. The SmartMarket Report states that from 2007 to 2012, BIM adoption in North America jumped from 28% to 71%, while the region’s contractors recently passed architects on the adoption curve (74% to 70%). The conclusion is that contractors will continue to drive BIM innovation, metrics and value throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Reduced Project Cost, Better Construction Processes
Contractors in Japan, Germany and France report the highest return on investment (ROI) in BIM, while those in South Korea, the U.S. and the U.K. report the lowest. ROI metrics are principally financial – reduced cost, higher profitability and higher productivity – and are supported by other metrics for project delivery – fewer Requests for Information (RFIs), fewer unplanned changes, higher customer satisfaction, and less process disruption. Across all regions, 60% of the contractors surveyed indicate that improved BIM collaboration as a result of visualization enhancements would positively impact their BIM ROI.
The major project benefits cited by contractors are reduced errors and omissions (41%), collaboration with owners and design firms (35%), and reduced rework (31%). Respondents point to better cost control and predictability, as well as shorter cycles for workflows and approvals, as key construction process advantages of BIM. McGraw Hill shows a correlation between contractors’ level of BIM engagement and their reported ROI – the deeper the engagement, the more positive the ROI. Investments in BIM management and collaboration, training and software, as well as mobile access to BIM data and processes, rank high in contractors’ plans for the next two years.
“Model-based technologies and processes will continue to power the industry’s evolution.”
Based on its research, McGraw Hill poses a number of recommendations for the global future of BIM:
- Performance metrics can help both new and experienced BIM users continuously improve ROI for their BIM projects and make the case for new or increased investment.
- Contractors should explore new technologies – such as laser scanning, augmented reality, simulation and analysis, and immersive visualization – to leverage the value of their BIM data and processes.
- Construction is moving toward model-driven prefabrication and assembly of modular building elements on site, which will require contractors to adapt their BIM projects to a new paradigm.
- As their BIM engagement surpasses that of designers (the trend in North America), contractors have opportunities to redefine their long-term relationships with owners in project planning, standardization of custom-built modules, and model management.
The last item speaks to the emerging role of BIM in contractors’ post-construction handover of operation and maintenance (O&M) manuals and in owners’ use of BIM models enriched with project data for long-term facility and asset information management.
Of particular note for contractors either using or considering construction management software are McGraw Hill’s findings on BIM collaboration between different organizations:
“Collaboration skills, standardized deliverables and repeatable workflows are vital to improving the effectiveness of the broader BIM ecosystem, and they represent an important evolution of BIM maturity for the whole industry.”
More than half of the contractors with very high BIM engagement report investment in external collaborative BIM processes as a high priority for the next two years, while 43% of all contractors surveyed cite its importance.
BIM and Mobility
Mobile access to BIM models and processes from the field is another priority identified by contractors:
“Bringing the value of BIM from the office to the project site is an area of increasing interest for all contractors, and investing in the hardware and connectivity to enable that is a first important step.”
Sixty-one percent of the contractors with very high BIM engagement say that new or upgraded tablets and other mobile devices for their teams represent a key investment for the next two years. By comparison, 38% of all contractors have similar plans.
BIM and the Cloud
The use of cloud solutions for BIM management and model hosting is another area of focus:
“Contractors are no exception to this trend, and while this research shows that no more than half the respondents on average are using the cloud for project or business activities, the shift from desktop and enterprise to cloud-based services is certain to continue.”
According to the survey, 52% of the contractors with very high BIM engagement use cloud solutions to host models for team access, while 65% use it for access to project information and processes. These figures compare to 44% and 50%, respectively, for all contractors.
What’s Your BIM Game Plan?
Whether you’re a beginning, intermediate or advanced user of BIM, you can always improve the efficiency and quality of your BIM projects and increase your BIM ROI. As the McGraw Hill Construction SmartMarket Report notes, BIM is no longer a purely design-driven discipline. It’s being mandated by governments and owners and initiated increasingly by contractors as the future of successful construction project delivery.
Wherever you currently are in the BIM landscape, Aconex can help. Please download our free eBook – BIM: Breaking Down the Barriers – and contact us today for a demo of our construction collaboration software for managing BIM projects between different organizations.
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