BIM (Building Information Modelling) is a tool with massive potential for every player in every segment of the construction industry. Essentially, it is a digital model used in construction projects by all participants to store, apply and manage all the relevant information throughout all phases of the project.
The impact of using BIM is greatest if it is applied from the very beginning all the way to the end of the value chain. Great efficiency gains are achievable in the design phase, for instance, and the cooperation between partners in the chain. Working with BIM, moreover, can help enhance the image of the building industry. A coordinated, industrywide drive to introduce BIM, however, means changing the culture of the industry. And that takes time. These conclusions are explained in further detail in ABN AMRO’s report ‘BIMmen in de Bouw ’, which was published today.
Optimum impact when used across the value chain
ABN AMRO observes that the BIM’s potential lies first of all in the building process itself. Over 85 per cent of building companies believe it will improve cooperation between parties, as well as preparation, execution and results of building projects. In ABN AMRO’s view, this makes BIM an excellent solution to the problems in this fragmented industry. Thanks to technical innovations, the introduction of standards, but most of all positive user experiences, BIM is finding its way into more and more companies. Currently 72 per cent of them use BIM and 32 per cent believe the model should be used in all segments of the building industry. One in five companies not yet using BIM plans to introduce it in 2015.
Advantages abound, but changing corporate culture takes time
More than 6 out of 10 contractor and installer firms indicate that BIM gives them a competitive edge, and over half believe they can expand their market share this way. So BIM clearly offers advantages to businesses. The report does show, however, that it takes some time for the effects to make themselves felt. ABN AMRO points out that this is true of any fundamental change in the way a company does business, It’s a matter of mobilising support in the organisation, buying the right hardware and software, defining processes and integrating the company’s own model with that of its partners. ABN AMRO emphasises that BIM is a business process change that cannot be introduced overnight.
Installers catching up with building contractors
Use of BIM is more widespread among building contractors than among installers, and started earlier. This is because installers are further down the value chain and are not always taken on board in time to participate in BIM. In recent years, contractors have increasingly insourced work for which they used to hire installers. Going forward, though, ABN AMRO foresees an uptrend in BIM use among installers. The building process simply demands it. More efficient, higher quality and faster building methods are needed to meet customers’ increasingly complex demands. The Installer’s input, ABN AMRO observes, is needed right at the start of the project to guarantee a smooth building process. The more so because installers these days increasingly remain responsible for the performance of the installations after delivery.
“BIM is a great opportunity for all players across the industry. The biggest gains will come from integrating their sometimes very different attitudes and business processes. This calls for a change in culture, both in the building industry and in its approach to BIM. These days, BIM is more than just a 3D-model: it’s about connecting information flows. To make it a success, it’s vital for all players in the process to be involved from day one. Not just the contractors, but also the installers,” says Annemijn Fokkelman, Sector Banker Bouw van ABN AMRO.