Has BIM (building information modeling) evolved in the last 20 years? Or is it still much of the same? In a recent episode of Constructech TV, Peggy Smedley defined BIM. She covered the basics of BIM, but also dived into opportunities and hurdles.

The reality is the opportunities of BIM are huge. The potential to share data across an entire lifecycle of a building, home, or piece of infrastructure offers opportunities to not only save time, but also save a significant amount of money for the project owner.

It is promising to see predictions that BIM will continue to grow. MarketsandMarkets, for one, projects the BIM market will grow from $4.9 billion in 2019 to $8.9 billion by 2024. One of the driving factors for this growth? Government initiatives will lead to greater adoption of BIM. This might be true across the pond, but here in the states, I am not so sure if that is going to be enough to drive BIM growth to the 12.7% that is anticipated. The report goes on to say North America will account for the largest share of the BIM market.

Now, I realize some states here in the U.S. do have BIM mandates for publicly funded projects and the U.S. GSA (General Services Admin.) has BIM mandates for its projects, but it is a far cry from what other countries have done with BIM mandates. But I digress.

So what needs to happen to get to widespread BIM adoption in North America then—and by widespread I mean both the types of projects that use BIM and also throughout all stakeholders on those projects? I think we need to address the hurdles head on.

Naturally, for some of the smaller projects, the biggest challenge is cost. That will be a tough one to overcome because technology does cost money. But there are some others that can be addressed. Let’s look at two.

On that episode of Constructech TV, Maria Laguarda-Mallo of VIATechnik, points to a big challenge: construction is a mature industry, which means it can be challenging to implement new technology into a space that has worked essentially the exact same way for the last 100 years.

So is the solution then simply waiting for the baby boomers to retire and the younger generation to take the reins? Probably not the best idea. The more experienced workers have the knowledge of how the industry works. That know-how is so desperately needed to ensure processes and technology work in conjunction with each other and that is why it is so critical to solve this challenge now. We need to get the baby boomers and the millennials together, in one room, so to speak, to recognize we need both generations to come together to make this work.

The second big challenge is one Constructech has been espousing for quite some time. The lack of integration between technologies hinders BIM adoption—although some companies are making strides in this area. Trimble, for example, offers its Constructible process.

We also often see third-party providers emerge to address this challenge. Project Frog, for example, announced KitConnect, which is an end-to-end data flow solution built on Autodesk’s Forge platform. The objective here? Manage data flow for BIM from building design, to manufacture, to construction.

The construction industry is making progress with BIM, but there is still a long way to go for widespread adoption. What are your thoughts? What are the challenges and hurdles of BIM? How might we overcome them?

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Laura Black
Laura Blackeditor