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Survey reveals industry split over BIM

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A new survey launched by standards and specifications expert NBS has revealed an ‘alarming lack of awareness’ of BIM across the construction industry.

The survey of 386 construction professionals, including 155 architects,showed that 43% were either unaware of or hadn’t used Building Information Modelling (BIM).

The results come just a month after chief government construction advisor Paul Morrell revealed plans to introduce BIM into the public procurement process.

Of the respondents to the NBS survey who were aware of BIM, only 10% were currently using it for the majority of projects. However, more than 70% believed that BIM was the future of project information management and two thirds expected to use it for the majority of projects within the next five years. 

More than half of those already using BIM said it had improved profitability and 81% said it had improved productivity.

NBS said that the largest barrier to widespread adoption of BIM was the perception that introducing the process would mean expensive and drastic changes to their existing systems. Only 18% of respondents believed that BIM was a synonym for Cad drawing - a misconception often cited as a barrier to widespread adoption.

“The main risk is that the industry splits in two,” said Stephen Hamil, head of BIM at NBS. “Half the industry is clearly making steps to adopt BIM and these practices will win competitions and will have better people wanting to work for them. You’ll end up potentially with a two tier system.”

Hamil said that the survey had also revealed a surprising variety of software packages being used across the industry.

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Readers' comments (11)

  • Mike Duriez

    I prefer BMi and MiB to BiM.

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  • What percentage of architects use Mac's? And what percentage of BIM software is compatable with Mac's?

    Not particularly easy or affordable to keep changing packages.

    Also what percentage of graduates know how to use a pencil? Those that do are far more useful.

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  • http://unit2fc.blogspot.com/

    No computers in March Unit 2 at Scott Sutherland. Hand drawings and models only. Quite a radical idea for a school of architecture in the 21st century

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  • james francis

    BIMs as a concept should be embraced, in these tough times every edge must be taken and it offers architectural practices a doorway to really giving better value to clients (I will now get back to banging my head on my desk about not being upto speed on BIMs!)

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  • So say the industry DOES split in two. Who is going to come out on top? Those using a collaborative, integrated, efficient process (when done right) to decrease overall bid price or those saying "Sorry, we don't do that." I'd throw my hat in with the BIMers.
    Get on board here: www.Manageddesigninc.com/online-training

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  • I don't doubt BIM stuff is great,but as the article notes, there are numerous packages out there. Autocad Architecture and Revit from Autodesk, Vectorworks, Bentley, Archicad and so on. Which would a firm buy at great expense, train staff to use at even greater expense, and hope like anything they get a return on investment fast enough they don't go broke? And hope that if they need additional staff they can find enough suitable candidates training to the level required?

    Look at the ads in BD4Jobs. If I was looking for something, for all my skills in taking projects and resolving them at a detailed technical level, being 15+ years experienced, and fully fluent in Autocad, Autocad Architecture, with some usage of Sketchup, I know from experience not to bother going for a job where I cannot demonstrate that I am "proficient".

    Why should it be any different with companies taking the same view?

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  • Adoption of BIM can mean doing more with less architects. BIM can be expensive to buy and expensive to get up to speed with. Essentially 3 main stream options for architects: ArchiCAD, Revit and Bentley Architecture. ArchiCAD has been around decades, easy to learn, intuitive, and used extensively in Australia. Bentley Architecture is a logical extension to Microstation, requires fair amount of training, Revit rapidly being adopted world wide, many in the construction industry are jumping on this band wagon without any really knowledge of the products limitations and without any real knowledge of the other two mainstream BIM platforms. If you are Mac based ArchiCAD would seem the logical choice as you will have enhanced performance and stability using Mac OS, and can export directly to Cinema 4D for great CGIs and animations, however through Boot Camp with windows any Macs can run the Windows based BIM programmes no problem, issues will be with the rest of the practices Mac software that would need to be changed... or have a mix system. BIM used poorly is a an expensive toy, so expensive training for the less intuitive programmes is a must and may well be out of reach of many practices.

    On an international note, Singapore now offers grants to encourage architects to submit planning and building control documents as BIM models and in less than 18 months will be mandatory to submit in BIM format....the world is moving quickly forward.

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  • The surly irreverence of some of the comments to this article give a pretty good picture of the way that the architectural community likes to polarise itself into meaningless factions. Pencil-tech and BIM-tech are both, and skills.

    And all you whining mac users. Do you think you're client is going to be sympathetic to the fact the bought the wrong computers to run a serious design package.

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  • BIM is the future. That's a fact. Drawing by hand is a nice skill to have but how many practices really do all their drawings by hand?

    Macs are nice things but they're just flashy and expensive. I've been using the same PC for the past 6 years and it works just fine.

    BIM increases productivity and efficiency. Where you would normally need, say, three architects to work on plans, sections, elevations, schedules, coordination, BIM requires only one architect to perform all these tasks simultaneously. This is fantastic, you might say. But those architects who do not know how to use BIM are at a risk of becoming redundant. In the current state of affairs, and with a lack of projects on the market, this is a serious issue. What are they going to be doing? Hand drawings, I suppose....

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  • Most of the comments show yet again how inward looking the architectural world is, successful use of BIM requires a fully integrated approach , where all design disciplines as well as other non design construction professionals can communicate in a single model environment. From the design prospective autocad is a good base, each design discipline can select the software that suits them as long it is compatible and sits on the same platform. BIM is undoubtably the way forward but lets all move together.

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