A study on BIM adoption conducted by the NBS National Survey showed that 78% of the surveyed professionals considered BIM as the future of project information. However, four out of five respondents voiced their concerns around the industry still being unclear of what actually BIM is capable of doing. Construction industry professionals are still apprehensive about embracing BIM in its entirety for their building projects. Although BIM implementation is an uphill task, the right approach can save AEC firms a lot of effort and cost in the adoption of this revolutionary technology.
Barriers to BIM
According to Construction Users Round Table 2006, some of the barriers faced by AEC firms in their path to BIM success include:
- Conflicting business models
- Traditional processes and deliverables
- Training costs
- Risk aversion
- Client side limitations
- Immature technology and infrastructure
In order to overcome these obstacles, the right approach to BIM implementation is essential. An optimized process that follows a well defined approach would help an AEC firm quickly move from one phase to another with ease.
The Right Approach: Key Elements
The responsibility of ensuring that the right path is being adhered to is vested with the owners of AEC organizations. The scope of this optimized process is not limited to the procurement process. It also defines the terms of contract based on shared goals, expectations, interrelationships and definitions of project success. Establishing which key elements need to change in order to achieve an optimized implementation of
BIM is also crucial. These elements are:
- Pre-planning: Develop a mutually acceptable plan that includes project scope, criteria, budget and goals. This is critical to the success of BIM implementation in any organization. This step must be completed before beginning the design phase of a construction project.
- Legal contracts: Shift from traditional contracts that focused on individual goals towards a more integrated approach that facilitates collaboration. Contract terms and relationships must be aligned with project goals.
- Cost focus: Shift in focus from a ‘lowest cost’ objective to a ‘best value’ outcome.
- Cost management/Contingency: To manage project risks appropriately, owners must give a certain level of authority to the team for contingency planning.
- Technology: Uniformity in the technology being used by different stakeholders is crucial for project success. Support to create industry standards is another step towards optimized project delivery.
- Information exchange: Information sharing and exchange are among the fundamental transformation elements required to achieve an optimized BIM project. Unless all parties involved are able to interoperate and communicate freely, the purpose of an integrated digital model is defeated.
- Compensation: Compensation must be based upon the fulfilment of pre-decided quality and performance criteria. Time, risk and cost objectives should also be included.
- Incentives: Devise incentive programs based on outcomes that are consistent with desired goals of the owner for the project. Also, rewarding the desired performance directs and focuses the team towards an optimized path for project delivery.
All these recommended elements for the success of BIM must be taken into account when formulating an implementation strategy. Failure to do so can create hurdles in the process at a later stage when the implications could be a lot more than anticipated.