Building Information Modelling gathers pace

The uptake of Building Information Modelling (BIM) more than doubled in the year to late 2011, according to a survey by NBS of nearly a thousand construction professionals. The adoption of BIM has recently been described as ‘unstoppable’ by the Government’s chief constriction adviser Paul Morrell, who has reiterated over the last 12 months the intention to make BIM compulsory.

The key findings of the NBS National BIM Survey are summarised below.

• Almost a third (31%) of construction professionals are now using BIM — up from 13% in 2010. The number of those unaware of BIM and its benefits has halved with 21% saying they were unaware of the technology and not using it, compared to 43% in 2010.

• Three quarters of those construction professionals currently aware of BIM predict they will be using it on some projects by the end of 2012, and almost 19 out of 20 people expect to be using it in five years’ time.

• 74% of those using BIM believe clients will increasingly insist on BIM adoption.

• More than 80% agreed BIM increases the co-ordination of construction documents, with 65% of those using the technology saying BIM delivered cost efficiencies.

According to the survey, the perceived expense and time commitments involved in adopting BIM technology remain the main barriers to greater industry-wide adoption in the current economic climate, particular for smaller businesses. 63% consider that BIM is too expensive to consider at the moment, with 48% saying that they need to get through the downturn before looking at BIM.

74% see BIM not just as a synonym for 3D CAD drawings, and 46% agreed that unless specifications are linked to the CAD model, it’s not BIM.

Commenting on the survey, Dr Stephen Hamil, director of design and innovation and head of BIM at RIBA Enterprises, said, ‘The survey clearly shows that in the UK the question is no longer if BIM will be adopted but how quickly. The fact that three quarters of those aware of BIM predict they will be using it on projects by the end of the year shows the speed with which things are moving.’

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