An Action Plan to Accelerate Building Information Modeling (BIM) Adoption

World Economic Forum
Shaping the Future of Construction

An Action Plan to Accelerate Building Information Modeling (BIM) Adoption

In collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group

Executive summary

To keep pace with innovation and be more productive, the infrastructure and urban development (IU) industry must embrace digitalization. Building information modeling (BIM) is an important first step towards that. BIM is a collaborative process in which all parties involved in a project use three-dimensional design applications, which can include additional information about assets’ scheduling, cost, sustainability, operations and maintenance to ensure information is shared accurately and consistently throughout total assets’ lifecycles. BIM acts as the centrepiece of the industry’s digital transformation. It powers new technologies such as prefabrication, automated equipment and mobile applications for team collaboration. It also enables new services, and helps determine which new assets best complement existing built environments.
BIM adoption has been slow, despite its many advantages. Only about one-third of IU companies describe themselves as using at least BIM Level 2.
Design and engineering firms have been among the earliest adopters, followed by construction firms. BIM has great potential to transform operations and maintenance (O&M), but adoption by asset operators lags behind other players, largely because the technology is inaccurately perceived as a purely 3D design
application. Furthermore, commercial BIM applications to support O&M remain scarce. Other deterrents include a lack of clear benchmarks to determine return on investment (ROI), substantial start-up costs, which can deter design firms and other stakeholders working at the beginning of projects to use BIM, and limited use of cost- and benefit-sharing agreements. To identify actions that could facilitate faster BIM adoption, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Construction Initiative – in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group, the Government of the United Kingdom, and Atkins and Arup – hosted the “Accelerating BIM Adoption” roundtable on 17 October 2017 in London. Among the participants were 35 representatives from leading global design, engineering and construction firms, asset operators, industry associations, governments and academia who convened to create the action plan outlined in this report.
Providing players in the IU value chain with the right motivation and understanding of BIM’s benefits could serve as a foundation for faster adoption. It would also help highlight BIM’s potential as a value creator rather than a cost factor. In addition to the financial benefits, players must understand BIM’s strategic role as an essential first step to industry digitalization.
Successful BIM adoption requires a high level of collaboration among stakeholders. Steps toward that
include increased use of integrated contracts and open standards for data sharing. Adoption also requires a coordinated effort to attract new talent with digital and BIM skills, upskill existing workers, and changing corporate cultures to support new processes. As major owners of built assets, governments must make a long-term commitment to the technology by piloting it in public works projects and creating regulations conducive to its acceptance, including backing innovative forms of financing.
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