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  • Lee Calver
  • 22 April 2014
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Is BIM starting to give users a competitive advantage?

According to new research, 70% of construction professionals using BIM believe it has given them a competitive advantage.

The fourth annual National Building Specification (NBS) BIM Survey also revealed that awareness of BIM is now almost universal at 95% and adoption rates are accelerating, with more than half of respondents now using it and 93% predicting adoption by 2016, which is the Government's deadline for BIM use on publicly funded projects.

The survey, which questioned more than 1,000 people from across the construction industry including architects, engineers, surveyors and contractors, is the largest independent piece of research into usage of and attitudes to BIM in the UK, according to the NBS.

Despite these positive figures surrounding BIM, the survey found that only 27% of respondents felt they could trust what they hear about BIM.

However, the benefits do appear to be outweighing the negatives. Improvements in productivity, increased efficiencies, better coordination of construction information and higher profitability were among the benefits cited by adopters of BIM with a mere 4% wishing they hadn’t begun the journey.  

There is a clear divide in awareness and adoption of BIM between small practices (defined as those with between one and five staff) and larger organisations though. In all measures, smaller practices are falling behind their larger counterparts by around two years, with cost still being seen as a major barrier to adoption.

Offering a warning to smaller firms, the NBS said that “given the Government’s mandate on BIM for publicly funded work, there is a risk that smaller organisations may be excluded from significant sources of revenue".

Commenting on the findings, Richard Waterhouse, Chief Executive of RIBA Enterprises (parent company to NBS), said:

“In the UK, through BIM, we are at the forefront of a significant change in how buildings are conceived, designed, built and maintained. This change has the potential to bring improved efficiencies and profitability to the construction sector, and better buildings to clients, something current users of BIM have reported in this survey.

“There remain significant challenges and investment of both capital and time are needed. However, there is a wide appreciation of the benefits BIM will bring and the projections of BIM adoption tell us that the UK can be world leaders in this.” 

Further findings show that more than half of respondents are now sourcing BIM objects from a specialist BIM library, a figure which is expected to only increase as more manufacturers make their products available in this way.

Commenting, Ian Chapman, Director of the NBS National BIM Library, said:

“It is vital to the success of BIM that manufacturers are in a position to provide accurate, up to date information via BIM objects. We’re delighted to see how many of the respondents in the survey are already using the NBS National BIM Library and we’re continuing to introduce improvements which benefit both the manufacturers and specifiers.”

He continued:

"We believe the key to our success is our commitment to make both generic and proprietary objects available so that designers and consultants can use the library right from the concept design stage through to completion and maintenance, in line with the core objectives of BIM.”

The full NBS National BIM Survey will be launched at the BIM Show Live in Manchester tomorrow.