FIEC survey shows low BIM utilisation

By Leila Steed12 May 2021

BIM-SPEED digital image

A survey into the use of Building Information Model (BIM) by European construction companies has found that over a third of companies have not been involved in any projects that use the technology.

Part of the European Construction Industry Federation’s (FIEC) BIM-SPEED project, the BIM-SPEED T.8.4 Survey results showed that while the industry’s utilisation of BIM is widely increasing, 37.3% of firms had no experience of BIM projects to date.

While roughly the same number of businesses said they had worked on more than three BIM projects and 25% said they had been involved with three or fewer BIM projects, around half of these did so by outsourcing their BIM requirements to specialist firms, rather than actually using it themselves.

The results lend weight to the argument that the low use of BIM in the sector is a key reason Europe’s construction gains are so poor.

Over the past two decades the region’s construction productivity rate has risen by just 1%, compared with a global industry increase of 2.8% and a 3.6% increase in manufacturing.

According to the FIEC research data, which was collected from 269 businesses in 24 countries between November of 2020 and January of 2021, a lack of skills is a “major obstacle” – particularly for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) – preventing firms from using the technology.

A higher number of SMEs also said return on investment associated with BIM was yet another prohibiting factor.

The research summary said this indicates a significant difference in the way large firms and SMEs perceive the return on investment associated with BIM. This is further supported by the fact that 33.9% of companies do not have any digitalisation strategy in place.

Of the respondents, 34.9% said they still do not have a designated person responsible for working with data. While 50.6% of firms said they did have someone responsible for digitalisation, this was listed as an extra task on top of their regular duties.

While this is yet another area of concern for a sector already suffering a skills shortage, survey participants also said that low demand, a lack of regulation and guidelines and uncertainty about the legal and regulatory requirements were also key barriers to them using BIM.

The BIM-SPEED research also found that significant adoption of BIM is lowest among construction and operations companies, with only 3.8% of the firms who are using BIM claiming they are heading towards using the technology to its “full potential”.

The BIM-SPEED project aims to provide an affordable BIM cloud platform to help all construction stakeholders adopt BIM tools and methods.

It also aims to deliver interoperable tools and standardised procedures for as-built data acquisition, modelling, simulation, implementation and maintenance of renovation solutions.

A short version of the results of the BIM-SPEED survey can be found here.

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