The Real Issue With BIM Adoption

16 October 2019All



Are Building Information Modeling (BIM) based workflows and technology taking over the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry? Although many believe that BIM adoption is prevalent in the United States, some sources suggest that adoption is slower in the US than in other countries that have BIM mandates, like the United Kingdom. By the numbers the US may be leading, but for those countries with government mandates the percentage is greater due to need.

A question that is often asked is, Why I should implement BIM? An organization should adopt BIM if there is a compelling reason to do so – a project with a BIM requirement would be one reason. It is likely that most business owners recognize there is value in the efficiencies and capabilities of the BIM process over CAD. But people generally fear change and things they don’t know much about. Business owners want guarantees that making a change will be worth it. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. The Road to BIM is paved with good intentions.

If an organization assesses its current workflow, learns what a BIM-based workflow can and does provide, and objectively reviews the capabilities of each, then BIM will be recognized as an empowering change. This change can transform an organization and allow it to shift the way it executes the design process and delivers projects. One must be educated in order to make an informed decision.

There are different uses for BIM, and every firm’s adoption of BIM can vary depending on many factors. For those firms steadfastly resisting the change from a predominantly 2D-based CAD workflow to a 3D-based BIM workflow, identifying the cost of adoption and the need for adoption are key drivers. If no one is requiring a business to deliver projects using the BIM process, then there may not be much incentive to change. Many firms do recognize the benefits of a BIM-based workflow, but they have no compelling event or demand to make a change. If a business is successful without it, is there a need to change?

One could argue that a firm will ultimately be more profitable if it does adopt BIM, even if it isn’t being required to do so. Although it’s hard to quantify reduced litigation, fewer RFIs or the value of a safer jobsite, the Autodesk eBook “Achieving Strategic ROI – Measuring the Value of BIM” relates that one fully BIM functioning firm achieves three to five times payback on the dollars invested in a project. But why go through the effort and cost if design and delivery of projects using CAD is making money now?

Over time the industry will be standardized on BIM. The question is when. Without owner and jurisdictional mandates to deliver projects in BIM, the adoption is a choice and thus slower on the uptake. Those who have adopted, for any reason, and have recouped their initial cost of the changeover, are rewarded with an information rich process that better informs and predicts successful project outcomes. The extra effort it takes to do similar tasks in CAD shows that using BIM makes them faster and more intuitive. See the Applied Software blog for John Ade’s “The Elusive ROI of BIM Adoption,” about the search for Return on Investment justification for switching to BIM.

It is fair to say that BIM adoption continues to grow but at a slower pace in the US than originally expected. Although the General Services Administration (GSA) developed BIM requirements and promotes BIM deliverables for projects it awards contracts on, the requirement and enforcement across all government agencies are lacking. Also lacking are consistent guidelines for the delivery of BIM projects. The National Institute of Building Sciences and buildingSMART alliance® published a consensus-based standard for BIM. The NBIMS-USTM V3 is available for anyone to use and was last released in 2015. Because there is no mandate in the US for BIM, the NBIMS-US V3 is not widely in use.

The ROI for BIM adoption varies by company. Any successful implementation of new design technologies and workflows requires a deliberate approach based on knowledge of current workflows and changes needed to implement new workflows and technologies. Casual implementations either take longer and cost more, or they fail. Successful implementations are those with a plan, strategy, acknowledgement of the costs, and a commitment to see it through. Following a sound plan will ensure higher a degree of success in less time.

Where should you start your BIM implementation plan? With Applied Software. The industry-trained experts at Applied have been guiding companies through the BIM implementation process since the early days of Revit nearly 20 years ago. Contact Applied for a short discovery call to see how you can get started on the Yellow-BIM-Road today.




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