Survey: BIM Use Increasing, IT Investment Lacking

Words: Bronzella Cleveland

JanuaryFebruary 2008
Industry News

Survey: Use of BIM Increasing, IT Investment Still Lacking

According to the FMI/CMAA Eighth Annual Survey of Owners, there is a continued lack of investment in information technology (IT) in the construction industry, despite the expanding use of Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Construction industry management consultants FMI, and the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) report that BIM is paving the road for construction companies to make the ‘technological shift’ to better address the current needs of construction programs. However, their survey finds that nearly 25 percent of owners do not know how much IT spending takes place to support project objectives. Further, those owners who do apply technologies use them in ways that have limited observable impact, making financial or productivity-based justifications for their use difficult, the survey finds.

“One consistent trend we’ve noticed throughout the years is the increased application of collaborative work models,” said Marisé Mikulis, senior consultant with FMI. “This is happening in the office and the field. Technology use in construction is obviously resulting in higher quality project execution, but owners are still having trouble justifying IT as a business cost.”

The CMAA and FMI conclude that with every new technological shift, building and construction company owners should plan and prepare for capital and training investment. FMI offers the following ways building and construction company owners can recognize IT as a sound business investment:

  • Make the decision to adopt BIM, and make it a priority. Assign a champion in the organization to be accountable for leading and teaching others about the technology.
  • Persuade top management to support your new technology adoption. Conduct quarterly (or more frequently) internal strategic technology discussions, and seriously explore opportunities for embracing technology for profit, with a focus on the field, not the office.
  • Communicate early and often about the program, to keep all levels of the organization informed about changes and receptive to adoption.
  • Choice of actual technology and products should fall lower on list of adoption concerns. Many sound options are available from multiple providers. The technology that works for your business process is what is most important.
  • Document in advance areas where BIM can generate benefits. Identify “hard” quantitative benefits (i.e., time and cost savings, business growth) and “soft” qualitative benefits (i.e., collaboration successes, risk avoidance).
  • Work with partners and suppliers who have adopted BIM. Be prepared to educate or change your business relationships.
  • Mandate competence in technology as a requirement for advancement in your company.
  • Use technology to educate and train your employees.
  • Technology adoption is a journey; proceed at a measured pace. MD
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