The use of BIM is becoming the norm, but there is still some progress to be made until construction can be described as totally digital
Construction has made another leap into the digitalised space, with the use of BIM becoming the norm among construction firms. The latest annual survey from technical information provider NBS shows that just 1% of respondents, mostly made up of architects but also including other disciplines, are unaware of what building information modelling actually is. Unfortunately this does not translate into 99% usage, but take-up is growing and at its fastest rate since 2014: now 74% are using BIM, up 12 percentage points from last year.
So definitely progress, but still some way to go until we can say construction has gone totally digital. Last year’s survey identified clients as a blocker, particularly government departments seen as not enforcing 2016’s BIM Level 2 mandate. This year the industry feels much the same, with 69% saying a lack of demand from clients is the main obstacle to embedding BIM. While this sentiment is concerning, it’s possible opinions may not have caught up with the efforts some are making to become “good BIM clients”.
BIM enthusiasts vouch for large private sector clients that are latching onto the cost and quality benefits of transparent data and standardised processes. There are positive signs from the government too, with its launch of the Centre for Digital Built Britain last year promising to pump much-needed resource into realising construction’s digital revolution. For the 26% of firms still not using BIM, client-led investment will undoubtedly be the game-changer, so it’s in the clients’ interests to move on this fast.
Chloë McCulloch, deputy editor, Building