Study reveals the benefits of BIM

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A new study has shown BIM offers substantial benefits to the construction sector, allowing information mobility and pushing down costs…

US firm Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with Bentley Systems has released a study outlining the benefits of building information modelling (BIM).

BIM, which enables the exchange of information on construction projects, has the ability to improve productivity and reduce costs. In the UK, the value of BIM has certainly been recognised by the government, and as a result all public sector contracts must use Level 2 BIM from next year.

This new report, ‘SmartMarket Brief: BIM Advancesments 01’, represents the first in a series that will examine how BIM and information mobility are transforming the construction industry, giving a quantifiable evaluation of the benefits.

The study will draw on information from a number of large architecture, engineering, and contracting companies based in the US.

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It will focus on three areas, including BIM success factors, construction modelling, and information mobility.

The first area, BIM success factors, looks at the benefits achieved from BIM and considers the factors most critical to achieve them. The study found there were clear measurable advantages of using BIM. Some 48 per cent of respondents reported seeing a five per cent decrease or more in final construction costs, 51 per cent said they saw the same level of reduction in their project schedules, and 31 per cent saw a 25 per cent improvement in labour productivity.

BIM planning (a common methodology), platform compatibility, and BIM-integrated meetings are among the other factors that have the greatest impact on achieving success.

Senior Director of Industry Insights at Dodge Data & Analytics Steve Jones said: “Time and again, our research has demonstrated that BIM is most valuable as a means to enhance collaboration.

“These findings demonstrate that you achieve the best results when BIM is at the heart of a transformed process built on sharing information, rather than simply the deployment of software.”

Anne Busson, Industry Marketing Director, AEC at Bentley Systems said the successful implementation of BIM involved behavioural, cultural, and technological changes within a firm.

“Achieving change can be easier said than done. That’s why we have set up the BIM Advancement Academy program for owners.

“Our program provides an effective way for owners to on-board contractors and their supply chain, to align their efforts through common processes that advance information creation and information flow within each project.

“The goals are to advance industry best practices, drive standards, capture and recycle lessons learned, and advance BIM processes via awareness sessions, forums, targeted seminars and working groups.”

Findings of the study also revealed many firms do not utilise construction modelling. Less than half (41 per cent) currently use it on projects, but 72 per cent of those who do reported its value. It was also found that general contractors undertake the majority of construction modelling. Construction work packaging and sequencing, as well as project site logistics were considered the most valuable, while the areas of greatest unmet demand are for interior, building envelope, and electrical trade contractors.

Interestingly, the study also revealed that BIM is not the only technology advancing the construction industry. Around 70 per cent of respondents reported using information or document management systems and online meetings, with 80 per cent expecting to use this technology in the next two years. Cloud storage services are expected to increase in usage with the 56 per cent of users set to grow to 89 per cent over the same time period.

Contractors reported the greatest benefits, with nearly half (43 per cent) experiencing very high degrees of improvement in information mobility in the past two years. Comparatively, only 28 per cent of architects and 37 per cent of engineers reported the same benefits.

Jones added: “The findings make clear that all players see opportunities to improve their information mobility further.

“They indicate that the construction industry is still just beginning to see the full benefits offered by information mobility improvements.”

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