2017 BIM survey results revealed

During January and February, Construction Manager and BIM+ once again surveyed our readers to gauge how user trends had moved since the 2016 survey. Here’s what the results revealed.

The respondents

The survey had 392 respondents, including  63 clients, of which 41 worked in the public sector and 22 the private sector. And 42 said they were project managers either working in the private or public sector. Spendingwise, our client respondents were also drawn from across the spectrum, with roughly a third in the £10m or less bracket, a third in the £10m-£100m and the remaining third bigger spenders with budgets of between £100m and £1bn plus.

In terms of other respondents there were 55 tier one contractors working for companies with a turnover of £100m or above and 24 below that figure; 16 tier two, or specialist contractors; 105 said they were design consultants; 22 cost consultants; and 65 were people in other disciplines in the built environment.

The values of contracts respondents were procuring or working on in the coming year were also spread: a third working on projects of £10m or under; roughly a third in the £10m-£100m range; and a third were £100m-£1bn or above.

As a client what are your requirements on BIM?

Turning to the questions about BIM, we first of all asked our client group about their BIM demands. Chiming with the sentiment of the round table, the results arguably confirm that BIM’s progress is unlikely to be client driven. Almost half (49%) said they did not make BIM a requirement on projects, though teams were free to use it. In 2016 45% of clients said they did not make it a requirement. In this year’s survey 20% of clients said they currently asked for BIM Level 2 on all projects, compared with 23% last year.

Broken down into client type, the survey offers some interesting results:

  • 38% of those from central government departments said that they make BIM Level 2 mandatory on all projects, while 23% said it wasn’t a requirement.
  • Only 17% of other publicly funded clients asked for it on 100% of projects — and 62% said not at all.
  • In the private sector 11% said they demanded Level 2 BIM on 100% of projects, with 50% not at all.

How often have you encountered BIM as a contractual requirement when bidding for new work?

Again results were patchy, showing there is still some way to go for centrally-funded government projects to take on board the BIM message. The survey shows that just 27% had encountered BIM on over 50% of central government-funded work and this was down to 14% for public projects outside of those funded by central government — affirming the results in the previous question.

That said, this is significantly higher than a year ago — when asked the same question, only 15% had encountered a BIM requirement on 50% or more of central-funded government projects and 10% publicly funded but not by central government.

Again there was little movement in the private sector, with 13% claiming that more than 50% of private sector contracts they had encountered in the past 12 months had BIM as a contractual requirement, compared with 10% in 2016.

How many past and current projects has your organisation been involved in that use Level 2 BIM?

The number of respondents saying the organisation they worked for had not been involved in BIM was still high at 38%, but this had fallen from 49% in the previous year. Those who have been involved in 10 or more BIM projects has risen to 16% from 10% the previous year.

Broken down into the different industry tribes, larger tier one contractors and designers were clearly those with
the most BIM experience:

  • Clients — 52% had none, 4% had experienced BIM on 10 or more projects.
  • For designers, the figures were 30% no experience and 22% 10 or more BIM projects.
  • Tier one above £100m, this was 20% none, 30% 10 or more BIM projects.
  • Tier one, below £100m, 40% in this group still had no experience, though 20% had experienced BIM on 10 projects or more.
  • Finally, in terms of tier two, 52% had no experience and 10% 10 or more.

In terms of a company’s experience of following the “eight pillars of Level 2 BIM” on projects so far, responses to the 2017 survey showed that there had been progress in experiencing all eight, with the numbers who claimed to have already embedded PAS 1192-3, doubling.

On projects you have worked on that used BIM, what was the impact?  

If we look at how BIM is impacting in the areas it is meant to — including improving efficiencies and reducing costs, there were very little noticeable strides in the last 12 months, and in terms of some areas, the impact of perceived benefits had actually reduced. Again, like 2016, our respondents for 2017 flagged up greater collaboration as the main benefit, with 64% saying they have seen positive signs or good results.

Turning to respondents by groups, the most positive answers came from designers — and tier one contractors with clients registering noticeably less impact across the board (see table).

Again, asked for their views on how BIM would develop, 52 % agreed that BIM would help achieve better margins and/or productivity and 63% thought that BIM would be a catalyst for collaboration. However, 74% said that BIM projects would need experienced clients for improvements to materialise.

What is your organisation’s experience of the NBS Digital Plan of work?

Similarly, the same trend can be observed with respondents to the NBS digital plan of work. In 2016 47% of respondents said they had never trialled it or used it, whereas the figure for 2017 was 40%. However, conversely the number of those who said they has tried it, but had no plans to use on a live project has gone up. In 2016 13% said they had no plans to use, in 2017, this had risen to 17%.

Thinking about your own BIM processes in general, how confident do you feel about delivering level 2 BIM?

In the confidence scales, again this showed some improvement with 61% said they had at least some confidence or above, and 22%  were confident to fully confident. Looking back to 2016,  52% of the respondents said they had ‘some’ confidence or above, and just 17% were confident to fully confident.

Image: George Mayer/

Evidence of positive BIM impact by profession (%)

Postive signs or good results

 Tier one contractors

Saved time in pre-construction design 67 58 43
Saved cost in pre-construction design 60 53 36
Saved time in construction design 65 66 54
Saved cost in construction design 62 61 45
Helped cut project’s carbon footprint 27 35 15
Promoted safety and regulatory compliance 38 52 35
Created efficiencies in the hand-over phase 46 56 37
Created efficiencies in the operational phase 40 40 33
Promoted collaboration and reduced silo working 73 68 43
Has improved our margins/fees/profits 48 38 26
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  1. The lower values of the Client appreciation of the benefits could be considered an initial understanding of the benefit and the final reality of the result. The benefit of early engagement is that the Client is involved with sufficient information at hand to make better decisions

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