Do you use BIM (building information modeling)? This is a question we poised to our readers, and the response was a bit surprising to me.

As part of our biannual Constructech IT Playbook, we survey readers on technology adoption. The 2015 survey shows roughly 33% of respondents report not using BIM at all. The survey examines in-depth the reasons, facts, and figures why. However, the encouraging part of all of this is that overall growth rates have improved. Looking back to the 2011 and 2013 numbers, adoptions rates were far lower than they are now.

For the construction industry, BIM creates both challenges and opportunities. One of the biggest challenges, perhaps, is the lack of a tangible, concrete ROI (return on investment). As such, what is ultimately going to have to drive BIM—and has driven BIM in the past and in other countries—is a mandate from either government or project owners to implement BIM on specific construction projects.

Certainly, the United Kingdom is heads and tails above the United States when it comes to this, as the industry is gearing up for the government’s mandate that the public sector use BIM by 2016. What’s more, the United States isn’t too far behind, as some organizations such as the U.S. GSA (General Services Admin.),, Washington, D.C., have also mandated BIM on projects.

Still the benefits of BIM—while not always quantifiable—can help speed up project delivery, improve collaboration among widespread team members, and even help promote a construction firm as being technology progressive. That last point is a big one for many construction companies, as all different types of construction businesses—specialty trades, general contractors, and more—are looking to provide that value-added service for clients. Oftentimes, BIM is that value-added service.

And so that leads to one of the next key questions for construction companies: In which ways have your projects benefited from the uses of BIM? While answers varied in the survey, the general consensus is that there are many different ways that BIM provides value to construction companies.

And so I ask you: How have you benefited from BIM? What challenges do you still face today, and how can the industry work together to overcome those challenges?

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