Royal Institute of British Architects enterprise business NBS’s latest Building Information Modelling (BIM) survey has revealed that adoption rates have fallen from 54% last year to 48% this year.
The survey, which is now in its fifth year and is designed to tracking attitudes to and adoption of BIM, also revealed that skills shortages and lack of client demand are also impacting on adoption rates.
In a statement, NBS said: “Awareness of BIM remains almost universal at 95% and the same proportion envisaging usage within five years. Figures regarding adoption are more complicated with a slight fall - from 54% to 48% - being recorded. One possible reason for this is that adoption is simply following the standard lifecycle, awaiting the ‘Late Majority’ to follow on from the Early Adopters, the Innovators and the Early Majority.
“Cost and lack of expertise and training remain major barriers to BIM adoption, and, as the economy improves and workloads pick up, around half of those surveyed cite a lack of time to get up to speed.
“Perhaps most interestingly, almost two-thirds (63%) of participants said that lack of client demand is the main reason for not adopting BIM. This raises the question of how something that is mandated by central Government and is likely to spread quickly throughout the public sector can penetrate the consciousness of private sector clients.
“A significant minority (43%) claim that the projects they work on are too small, suggesting a continuing belief that BIM is for large scale projects.”
Nonetheless, the NBS said that more than 80% of respondents to this year’s survey believe that BIM in some form will be compulsory on public sector projects and 70% feel that the government will mandate BIM in the way specified in the construction strategy document in the form of 3D collaborative BIM, which is also known as “Level 2”.
In its statement, NBS said: “Encouragingly for the government and its UK BIM Task Group, the majority believe that the industry is “on the right track” with BIM, but only a quarter believe that the UK is a world leader, with a further 45% ambivalent.
“With regards to the specific targets, a majority of those surveyed believe that BIM will help reduce both costs and time, whilst 41% see it as a tool to aid a reduction in carbon emissions.”
According to the NBS, the benefits of BIM are clear to those that have adopted it. The report says that 59% see cost efficiencies, while respondents also reported a 56% improvement in client outcomes, 51% an increase in the speed of delivery and 48% an increase in profitability. NBS said that, according to those who have adopted BIM, there is, in fact, a real and growing market for it and a belief that clients and contractors will increasingly insist on it.
Commenting on the survey, NBS head of research, analysis and forecasting Adrian Malleson said: “This has been one of the more interesting sets of findings of our National BIM survey. Previously we have seen year on year growth in adoption, but this year, shortly before the government mandate comes into force, we see a pause in BIM adoption.
“There remain a significant number of practices that do not see the advantages of BIM and chose not to adopt and others that are currently unable to adopt BIM, because of time, cost, or expertise. However, the direction of travel remains clear – BIM will increasingly become the norm for the design and maintenance of buildings, and its widespread use is central to achieving the Government’s construction strategy.
“There is more going on here than an adoption of a particular set of technologies, standards and working practices to support an improved process for construction. Data collection, aggregation, and interrogation, through collaborative working, is driving fundamental changes in how people work, across all sectors. It allows rapid learning, and increasingly sophisticated ways to form, test, and act upon evidence based hypothesis. The construction industry is no exception to this. Younger generations are attuned to this, and perhaps it is they who will see the BIM reach its full potential.”