BIM from the Business Perspective – Revealing Survey Results

BuildingSMART Finland published in August 2013 the results of the national survey on Building Information Modeling. The results are especially interesting for two reasons. Firstly, Finland has a reputation of being the global BIM leader. Secondly, the same survey template has been used in the UK, New Zealand, and Canada, which allows us to make interesting comparisons.

The questionnaire originates from the UK where RIBA Enterprises published the National BIM Report for the third time in 2013. How representative the results are, depends naturally on the type and number of respondents who completed the survey. Here are the numbers of respondents from each country:

  • UK – more than 1,350
  • New Zealand – more than 500
  • Finland – 400
  • Canada – 78

The Canadians are clearly the underdog here, whereas Finland and New Zealand have been able to attract relatively more attendees than their market size would imply.

Many of the survey’s questions are technical or operational, but there are a few that reveal the respondents’ opinions on business related issues. I picked up the following results for those respondents that already use BIM.

Client requirements drive BIM adoption

Client requirements and pressure from contractors seem to be strong drivers for the use of BIM. Here are the percentages of respondents who agree, based on their experience, that clients or contractors will “increasingly insist on us using BIM” (contractor percentages are in parentheses):

  • UK – 73% (66%)
  • New Zealand – 58% (46%)
  • Finland – 84% (68%)
  • Canada – 79% (72%)

That the highest client demand figure is for the UK is certainly a result of the government’s decision to require the use of BIM on every publicly funded project by 2016.

Profitability increase is not yet reality for the majority

The adoption of BIM has not yet clearly increased profitability for the majority of users. Here are the percentages of respondents who unequivocally agree on the profitability boost claim:

  • UK – 46%
  • New Zealand – 33%
  • Finland – 27%
  • Canada – 43%

Many users experience cost efficiency improvements

Profitability is partly attributable to efficiency. How has the use of BIM brought cost efficiencies? Again, here are the numbers for those who clearly agree that they have seen an improvement:

  • UK – 55%
  • New Zealand – 46%
  • Finland – 24%
  • Canada – 55%

It is noteworthy that the Finnish respondents have been most doubtful. Perhaps this is due to seeing BIM predominantly as a technical solution, not as a business opportunity. Another reason might be that Finnish A/E/C consultants already operate quite efficiently, and a radical productivity increase is therefore hard to reach.

BIM adoption has been mostly successful

Adopting BIM is demanding and a continuing process. It is the biggest change in work practices since the introduction of CAD. Not only does it require investment in new tools, but also new skills and changes in core business processes.

The success rates are high. In Canada 60%,  Finland 68%, and New Zealand 66% of BIM users consider their BIM adoption a success. This figure could not be found on the UK report.

Is BIM the future for project information? Definitely yes, since 75% to 86% of respondents agree, and over 90% in the four surveys claim that they will use BIM in five year’s time.