Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process of digital representation of a building’s physical and functional characteristics which aids the AEC industry in decision making for a construction project. A BIM model acts as a useful resource to share knowledge at different levels from its inception to demolition. It is an amalgamation of all processes constituting a building life cycle, including construction management, cost management, facility operations and project management. Being a relatively new technology, BIM is catching up fast in an industry usually slow to adopt changes. According to Pike Research, an information research company, the BIM technology market stood at $1.8 billion in May 2012. This figure is expected to surge by over 250% to reach $6.5 billion by 2020.
BIM Adoption Rate Trends
Though the BIM concept was first adopted in 1987, its pace picked up only in the past few years. As some early adopters started using this technology, its evident benefits made others in the industry take notice. Slowly but steadily, BIM adoption rates have been climbing up the numbers ladder. According to a report by McGraw Hill Construction, 28% AEC companies adopted BIM in 2007 in North America. The number grew to 49% in 2009. Similarly, in Europe, BIM adoption increased from 24% in 2009 to 36% in 2010. Another study by the NBS National BIM survey concluded that almost a third of construction professionals in the UK are using BIM, which is close to 31%, up from its 2010 figure of 13%. Also, design firms were clearly the biggest adopters of BIM.
Gradually, BIM grew to being thought of as much more than just a technology. It came to be regarded as a complete process. The design team uses BIM as its construction model, client as its financial model and the developer as its facility operations model. This thought process was propounded by Prof. Richard Laing of Robert Gordon University and James Harty of Copenhagen School of Technology and Design. Earlier, building designs were made with paper and pencil in two dimensional drawings. BIM surpasses the old practices by a huge gap. It gives not only design and geometry of the building, but also covers geographic information, light analysis, spatial relationships and characteristics of building materials. All this has been made possible by the use of three to five dimensional digitization models.
Building Information Modeling is here to stay as more and more architectural, engineering and design firms are being attracted to this ever evolving technology. BIM’s adoption rate will see rocketing growth as substantiated by many surveys and studies. The tool has been instrumental in giving advantages specific to a firm’s domain in the AEC industry while considerably increasing efficiency of all processes from design to post construction.