More IT investment needed to grow BIM adoption, says study

Construction needs to invest more in technology if adoption of building information modelling (BIM) is to become more widespread, according to a new survey.

The research, by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) 2050 Group, sought views across a range of issues, including innovation. Some 734 construction professionals were surveyed.

Asked “Where is innovation happening?”, a majority of respondents (56%) identified design and technology – and particularly BIM.

However, the report said that while “many answers are neutral or positive with regard to BIM, some suggest that there is the need for improvements”.

Some respondents warned that BIM is often seen as a “panacea” and that innovations beyond BIM are needed too, to help create “a holistic and intelligence-based industry”.

Many thought that wider innovation and investment was needed in ICT, including in broadband provision, data management, 3D printing, software functionality and interoperability of software. Several noted that such issues were also relevant for the development of BIM.

Many respondents wanted enhanced education and training, including on BIM, and also for subcontractors, trainees, and in management skills more generally.

Collaboration was the most-commonly cited “sub-theme”, alongside BIM. One comment called for contractors, architects, clients and engineers to “listen and value each other more”.

The report summarised: “The integration of BIM with working practices, including better compatibility with mobile technology and improved integration between the disciplines within the industry, are key themes [from the responses].

“Therefore the conclusion from this is that the industry should be investing more in getting technology streamlined with existing job roles in order for BIM to be better adopted within construction.”

Other issues covered by the CIC survey were:

Attitudes to the industry
Only 33% were inspired by the achievements of their organisation on diversity – adoption of flexible working practices would ensure the industry continues to appeal to both genders up the career ladder.

Not enough is being done to improve environmental sustainability and further progress is needed around water and biodiversity. Reuse and refit of existing buildings is seen as important.

Social media
Some 60% of respondents thought that construction used social media well. They thought it could help with key communication challenges, and also with improving the industry’s image.

The full results of the survey can be viewed here.

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