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NBS's national BIM survey reveals latest adoption figuresMarch 2012

Nearly 1,000 construction professionals complete the BIM survey

78% say that BIM is the "future of project information" but is it the present?

Results from an annual industry-wide survey undertaken by NBS have provided a detailed picture of UK BIM (Building Information Modelling) and its growing influence within the built environment industry. 

Unquestionably one of the hottest topics in construction, the adoption of BIM has recently been described as "unstoppable" by Paul Morrell, the government's chief construction adviser, who has reiterated over the last 12 months, the intention to make BIM compulsory for public projects.

NBS's National BIM Survey was completed in late 2011 by nearly 1,000 construction professionals representing a range of business sizes and disciplines from across the industry including architecture, engineering and surveying.

The key findings of the NBS National BIM Survey are:

  • Almost a third (31%) of construction professionals are now using BIM - up from 13% in 2010
  • The number of those unaware of BIM and its benefits has halved with just over a fifth (21%) saying they were unaware of the technology and not using it compared to 43% in 2010
  • Three quarters of those construction professionals currently aware of BIM predict they will be using it on some projects by the end of 2012, and almost 19 out of 20 people expect to be using it in five years' time
  • 74% of those using BIM believe clients will increasingly insist on BIM adoption
  • More than 80% agreed BIM increases the coordination of construction documents, with 65% of those using the technology saying BIM delivered cost efficiencies

The survey revealed that the perceived expense and time commitments involved in adopting BIM technology remain the main barriers to greater industry-wide adoption in the current economic climate, particularly for smaller businesses. Almost two-thirds (63%) agreed that BIM is too expensive to consider at the moment, with nearly half (48%) saying they needed to get through the downturn before looking at BIM.

Despite 78% saying that BIM is the "future of project information", the survey also revealed that, in terms of understanding how BIM works, there is still much progress to be made with 4 out of 5 agreeing that the industry is not yet clear enough of what BIM actually is.

On a positive note, a high percentage (74%) see BIM as not just as a synonym for 3D CAD drawings and the majority (46%) agreed that unless specifications are linked to the CAD model, it's not BIM.

Commenting on the survey, Dr Stephen Hamil, Director of Design and Innovation and Head of BIM at RIBA Enterprises, said:

"The survey clearly shows that in the UK the question is no longer will BIM be adopted but how quickly? The fact that three quarters of those aware of BIM predict they will be using it on projects by the end of the year shows the speed with which things are moving.

It is the job of the construction industry data providers and software companies, such as NBS, to provide the tools necessary to make the adoption of BIM an easy process. Whether it's specification information, technical guidance, manufacturer product information or geometric objects, the digital information that is produced must be structured to work in the BIM environment."

The 2011 National BIM Survey represents the latest stage in NBS's campaign to promote debate on BIM, and BSRIA was pleased to support them in this. When you have read the full report on the NBS website, download a presentation of responses from BSRIA members which shows how similar they were to those from other people participating in the survey.

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