Building Information Modeling Gains Ground

by | Sep 23, 2009

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BIM-LEEDprojectsNearly half of the construction industry is using building information modeling (BIM) tools or BIM-related tools, according to a new report from McGraw-Hill Construction. Measurable business benefits include increased productivity, profitability and reputation, but the study finds there is still work to be done in terms of the convergence of BIM with lean and green strategies.

BIM offers a new way of creating and leveraging digital models for the design, construction and operation of projects, and is changing the way firms communicate, solve problems and achieve better building performance, according to McGraw-Hill Construction.

The report, The Business Value of BIM: Getting Building Information Modeling (BIM) to the Bottom Line, produced with Autodesk and 26 other industry organizations, profiles the  adoption of BIM in North America.

Forty-nine percent of survey respondents said they were using BIM tools, which is a 75 percent increase over the previous year’s adoption rate. Yet, only three percent scored “positive impact on sustainability” as a top-rated business benefit of BIM, with 12 other benefits ranking higher.

The study also shows that two-thirds of BIM users say they see a positive return on investment (ROI) with their overall investment in BIM, 87 percent of expert users are experiencing positive ROI and 93 percent of users believe there is potential to gain more value from BIM in the future. Current BIM users of all skill levels expect to double their application of it on projects over the next two years, according to the study.

BIM has limited impact on green building processes today to help deliver sustainable buildings, but research indicates it could be a valuable tool in the near future.

The study reveals that one-third of users say BIM is highly to very highly beneficial in delivering better-performing completed buildings, ranking it well below other potential benefits. Fifteen percent of users are currently getting a high level of value from using BIM for energy analysis — a key process in gauging building performance, according to the report.

Three in five users say BIM will be highly to very highly valuable in producing better-performing buildings in five years.

In a separate study from McGraw-Hill Construction, sixty-nine percent of respondents said they are forecasting their use of BIM on U.S. Green Building Council LEED projects to increase by at least a moderate amount in the next two years with 35 percent predicting a high increase.

Seema Pandya, senior consultant with New York-based YRG Sustainability, stated in the report “while BIM aids in the design process and recording the predicted energy usage of a building, BIM should help integrate ongoing measurement and verification of actual building energy use and compare it to the predicted model to inform owners how their building is performing against the designed energy standard.”

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