Building Information Modeling: Back to the Future

Sean Meehan, LEED AP

In 2007, McGraw-Hill proposed that 2008 would be the year that BIM (building information modeling) would reach a ‘tipping point’ where it became the primary methodology for completing construction projects.  Three years later in 2010, their survey-based statistics show increased usage, but the ‘tipping point’ still does not appear to have been reached.  Roughly half of their survey respondents (made up of an industry cross-section of architects, engineers, owners and contractors) use BIM in some capacity, but very few use it exclusively on all projects.  Traditional 2D CAD software is still the primary methodology out there.  So why are we all stuck in the past?

The likely answer to this question is the recession.  While it has provided some of the downtime needed to allow BIM training to occur, the lean fees and scarce workload out there have had the opposite effect, forcing many organizations to stick with their current software and curtail expenditures like BIM training in favor of paying the rent and keeping the lights on.

The reasons to make a full switch to BIM are compelling though.  Most BIM users report a substantial ROI based on efficiency and productivity once they have adjusted to the software.  New marketing opportunities and expanding services go hand-in-hand with adopting building information modeling.  Another strong motivation is created by the risk of being left behind, as industry leaders like SOM and HOK have been effectively BIM-only for years now.  It is without a doubt the future of the design and construction industry.  The many benefits of BIM are nicely explained in this PDF slideshow:

ADMG is in the process of on-going training and certification with AutoDesk’s version of BIM, Revit.  We will begin incorporating Revit as our project design and documentation software on selected projects in 2011.  Time to put the plutonium in the flux capacitor, McFly!


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