The Benefits of BIM For Design Firms

    By Steve Jones, Senior Director, Industry Insights Research

    Since 2008 Dodge has been formally studying the adoption and uses of BIM (Building Information Modeling) and model-based technologies that leverage BIM data around the world. These research studies have been published as free reports with the goal of quantifying this rapidly advancing trend and helping everyone better understand how they are participating in the digital transformation that BIM is driving.  

    Our latest report, Accelerating Digital Transformation Through BIM, is based on a survey of architects, engineers and contractors who are using BIM on vertical and/or civil projects in North America, France, Scandinavia, Germany, Japan, Australia/New Zealand and the UK. The findings explore the wide variety of workflows where digital information is being deployed, the ROI and benefits users are experiencing and the challenges they face in optimizing their usage. 

    BIM for Architects and Engineers

    Highlights of findings that compare design firms (i.e., architects, MEP and structural engineers, civil engineers) with contractors include:

    • BIM ADOPTION: Architects have been using BIM the longest with 31% reporting adoption in 2012 or earlier, compared with 19% for contractors, 14% for MEP/structural engineers and just 10% for civil engineers. 
    • BIM INTENSITY: Almost two-thirds (60%) of architects are currently using BIM on at least half of their projects, versus 50% of MEP/Structural engineers, 46% of civil engineers and 41% of contractors.  
    • PERCEIVED ROI: 91% of civil engineers and 88% of architects believe they have a positive ROI on their BIM investments, followed by contractors (84%) and MEP/structural engineers (70%).
    • ADVANCED USAGE: 54% of architects engage in four or more of the 22 BIM-related activities studied, compared with 43% of MEP/Structural engineers, 41% of contractors and 36% of civil engineers.

    Benefits for Architects and Engineers

    The research explored 41 separate benefits being received by design firms in several categories. Highlights of those findings for all the types of design firms studied include: 

    • BUSINESS BENEFITS FROM BIM: Over 75% report improvements to client satisfaction, design quality, industry recognition, talent attraction/retention and service expansion and diversification. 
    • SUSTAINABILITY BENEFITS FROM BIM: Over 70% report BIM use enables their firm to exceed performance requirements, better consider environmental impact during design, reduce materials required, increase project life cycle expectancy and reduced emissions.
    • RISK REDUCTION BENEFITS FROM BIM: 80% of more say BIM improves their ability to manage complexity, meet customer and design requirements, increase stakeholder engagement and reduce errors/rework. 
    • OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY BENEFITS FROM BIM:  80% or more also say team collaboration is improved as well as data handover, and that BIM both increases their firm’s workload capacity and reduces overall design time required.  

    Commitment to BIM is the Major Driver for Benefits

    The research explores the relationship between the degree to which firms are receiving benefits and their depth of engagement with BIM. The findings point clearly to a consistent pattern where firms doing a higher percentage of their projects in BIM (i.e., have a higher BIM intensity) are receiving more of the benefits that BIM can generate. 

    The chart below summarizes this point, showing that the companies with higher BIM intensity believe they are getting much more value from it. 

    Graphical user interface

Description automatically generated

    Other Findings From the Accelerating Digital Transformation Through BIM SmartMarket Report

    We will share other findings from this landmark report in future articles on COLUMN.