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Industry’s current BIM practices

Construction performance has been improving over the years with new waves of best practices in quality management and implementation of new IT systems. More recently, the industry, around the world, is witnessing the uptake of the Building Information Modelling as an enabling tool to further improve the industry performance and to set even higher sustainability targets along with reducing capital and operation expenditure.

Although there has been a wide-scale implementation of BIM, the focus is mainly on the development of the projects’ 3D models to leverage some direct benefits such as clash management.

1. Such an approach has focused on technology, i.e. “How to develop 3D models” with little attention, if any, is given to:

  • a.“What is it for?”
  • b.“Why is it required?”
  • c.“What can be achieved from its deployment?”
  • d.“How best it can be embraced into current work practices?, and
  • e.“How best BIM can be developed to meet clients requirements?”

2. This approach has led to over-sighting the essence of BIM which is an enabling tool to help improve performance and sustainability through better collaboration among stakeholders.

3. For this reason most of BIM implementation nowadays is resident with a single stakeholder such as consultants and/or contractors.

4. As a result, its development process becomes limited to either meeting the consultants’/contractors’ needs or clients’ minimal requirements as specified in contracts.

5. Client QA/QC is mostly absent as BIM requirements, deliverables, standards, roles and responsibilities, BIM applications, etc., are not clear and/or not specified in contracts.

6. Therefore, clients who should be the most beneficiary of BIM are not gaining the full benefits of BIM.

In order to gain the full potentials of BIM, BIM best practices have to be fully embraced by construction and real estate organisations. Depending on the nature, size and maturity of the organisation, a clear implementation roadmap should be adopted (as part of an overall BIM strategy in line with the organisation’s strategic objectives) to enable managers to effectively implement BIM best practices across their organisations.

Client organisations, in particular, need to practice strong BIM leadership to turn BIM deployment to their advantage and to ensure that clear plans are set for all project’s stakeholders to comply with. Clients should adopt BIM to facilitate and encourage higher collaboration between all stakeholders leading to design and construction optimisation, energy saving, waste reduction, meeting time and cost targets and ensuring higher quality projects.