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BIM in infrastructure projects

2017 report on business value and benefits of BIM

A new report published by Dodge Data & Analytics, sponsored by Deloitte, and produced in conjunction with AutoDesk, explores the growing use of building information modeling (BIM) in infrastructure projects. Learn more about the benefits of BIM and the positive ROI organizations are realizing.

Surge in BIM use

The use of BIM in transportation infrastructure projects has skyrocketed in the last two years—up from 20 percent in 2015 to more than 52 percent in 2017. And growth is expected to continue.

In addition to their positive outlook on increasing the percentage of projects that use BIM, poll respondents—owners, engineers, and subcontractors in France, Germany, the UK, and the US—also report achieving a variety of benefits from its use. This is reflected in the positive ROI they attribute to BIM.

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BIM implementation

When asked about their involvement with BIM for transportation infrastructure projects, over three-quarters of respondents who use it (76 percent) report that they are creating their own models. The remainder work with models authored by others. In this research study, both of these categories are considered BIM users.

Dodge Data & Analytics measures the growth of BIM implementation (the percentage of projects on which a user deploys it) as a significant indicator of the dynamics of BIM usage. While there was a surge of heavy BIM users between 2015 and 2017, the growth of heavy users is predicted to slow somewhat over the next two years. But within that group, the proportion of very heavy users (deploying it on 75 percent or more of their projects) is expected to grow by 100 percent to 200 percent in the four countries studied.

This implementation pattern reflects an evolving BIM maturity that Dodge Data & Analytics has observed in other sectors. It’s also a positive indicator that the use of BIM in transportation infrastructure projects will likely continue to advance.

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Benefits of BIM

Owner demand and mandates in the UK and Germany have been important to drive the use of BIM in transportation infrastructure projects. But the internal business benefits that BIM users experience, and the improvements to project processes and outcomes that BIM generates, are also some specific drivers for adoption and implementation.

  • Most BIM users (87 percent) report positive value from their deployment of building information modeling
  • Seventy-three percent say they have not yet received even half of the potential value they believe BIM can provide

Five business benefits, in particular, were experienced at a high or very high level by 50 percent or more of respondents:

  • Improving ability to show younger staff how projects go together: 58 percent
  • Offering services: 56 percent
  • Establishing consistent and repeatable project delivery process: 54 percent
  • Maintaining business with past clients: 52 percent
  • Less time documenting, more time designing: 50 percent

Respondents were also asked to select the top three benefits they experience from using BIM. Their average responses, organized into five categories, were:

  • Fewer errors: 34 percent
  • Greater cost predictability: 22 percent
  • Better understanding of projects: 21 percent
  • Improved schedule: 16 percent
  • Optimized design: Eight percent

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While many respondents are not formally measuring the ROI they see from using BIM, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) perceive that they get a positive return. Even more impressive, over one-quarter (26 percent) believe that their BIM ROI is 25 percent or more. The US respondents lag those in other countries in the ROI they report. But they also notably lag in the percentage who are formally measuring ROI, which suggests that they may be underestimating the value they get from BIM.

To learn more about the use of BIM in transportation infrastructure projects—including BIM benefits, investments, and ROI—download the full report: The business value of BIM for infrastructure 2017.

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