How BIM Should Create Value for the Owner

Architects and engineers seem to be especially convinced about the business value of using building information modeling. But to what extent could building owners reap benefits from BIM?

A much-cited McGraw-Hill report from 2010, The Business Value of BIM in Europe, presents a chart entitled “Project Participants Who are Perceived to Experience the Most Value.” Architects are on top, with 71 percent of all stakeholders feeling that they get the most value. Owners are in fourth place, with 42 percent.

Perceived value

The report’s conclusions regarding benefits are based on opinions, rather than hard evidence. The subject matter has not been studied systematically, and this report, like most others, presents anecdotal evidence. The report states that BIM users are looking for owners to take the initiative in using the technology on a project. Three-quarters of contractors say this is highly important. If that is the case, then owners should be clear about the value they receive.

I could find mentions of the following areas where owners should be looking for BIM benefits:

  • Comparison between room specifications and the design model
  • Overall project quality
  • Communication of changes in the design
  • Cost control
  • Project lead time
  • Marketing communication
  • Sustainability requirements

A wish list

What could be the main value drivers that would make owners more interested in requiring the use of BIM on their projects? I imagine that if the owner could make the following ten claims and see most of them realized, BIM would not be a tough sell:

  1. I can analyze alternative solutions quickly and base my decisions on facts.
  2. I can define business, functional, aesthetic, and performance requirements easily and follow up on their delivery at any point of the process.
  3. The users of the building get superior service during the project and after its completion.
  4. The overall cost-to-quality ratio of the project is superior.
  5. Project lead time is below average.
  6. Project and business risks are lower than average.
  7. The building will be energy-efficient and its maintenance cost-efficient.
  8. Alterations required by evolving needs in the building will be quick and cost-efficient.
  9. The property will be a better than average investment.
  10. The property will help us reach our CSR goals.

Which claims on the list are realities today?

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