NEW YORK — The benefits of building information modeling (BIM) and other technology advancements that allow the exchange of information on design and construction projects, including improving labor productivity and reducing costs for construction companies, are just the beginning of what can be achieved, according to a new study released by Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with Bentley Systems.
The findings are published in a new report, “SmartMarket Brief: BIM Advancements No. 1,” the first of a series that will examine how BIM and information mobility are transforming the construction industry, based on respondents from the largest architecture, engineering, and contracting companies in the U.S. The report is available to download here. For the first time for a SmartMarket study, the findings can also be accessed on a microsite at SmartMarketBrief.com, which allows easy mobile access to the data and offers the opportunity to go deeper into the findings.
The study explores three discrete topics, with the overall theme of improving the industry through technology: BIM success factors, construction modeling, and information mobility.
The BIM success factors section explores both the measurable benefits achieved from BIM and the factors considered most critical to help achieve those benefits. The benefits of BIM make it clear that it is a competitive advantage for companies that use it:
• Nearly half (48 percent) see a 5 percent decrease or more in final construction cost because they use BIM;
• Over half (51 percent) see the same level of reduction in their project schedules;
• Nearly one third (31 percent) report seeing a 25 percent improvement in labor productivity.
The study also determined the factors that have the greatest impact on achieving that level of success with BIM, including planning (creating a common methodology for use of BIM across the project team), platform compatibility, and BIM-integrated meetings. “Time and again, our research has demonstrated that BIM is most valuable as a means to enhance collaboration,” said Steve Jones, senior director of industry insights at Dodge Data & Analytics. “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.”
“Implementing BIM successfully involves behavioral, cultural, and technological changes: transforming your organization, adopting new processes, and implementing new standards,” said Anne Busson, industry marketing director, AEC, at Bentley Systems. “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.”
The study also shows that construction modeling is currently under-utilized, with less than half (41 percent) of the respondents currently seeing construction modeling on their projects, but nearly three quarters (72 percent) of those who use it reporting its value. The findings reveal that general contractors do the majority of construction modeling, and that the activities considered the most valuable are construction work packaging and sequencing, and project site logistics. However, modeling among the trades is still emerging, except for HVAC and structural contractors. The greatest areas of unmet demand according to the findings are for interior, building envelope, and electrical contractors to engage in construction modeling.
However, BIM is not the sole technology advancing the construction industry. Seventy percent of the respondents currently use information/document management systems and online meetings, with over 80 percent expecting to use them in two years. The greatest increase in use is expected for cloud storage services, which jump from 56 percent who use them currently to 89 percent in two years.
Contractors see the greatest benefit from these modes of enhancing information mobility, with nearly half (43 percent) reporting that they have experienced a very high degree of improvement in information mobility in the last two years, compared to 28 percent of architects and 37 percent of engineers.
Among all of the survey respondents, 70 percent or more place a high importance on having improved devices for job sites, more reliable and ubiquitous connectivity, more standardization and interoperability of data platforms, and greater ability to store and access project information in the cloud. “The findings make clear that all players see opportunities to improve their information mobility further,” said Jones. “They indicate that the construction industry is still just beginning to see the full benefits offered by information mobility improvements.”
For more information about Dodge Data & Analytics, visit www.construction.com.
Publication date: 12/23/2015