The adoption of digital technologies across the construction industry has been an issue for a number of years, one that has recently been compounded by the pandemic and resulting lockdown. Organisations across the globe have been forced to find new ways of sharing information and collaborating on projects to ensure progress continues.
One key area of digital collaboration is the use of BIM. The NBS National BIM Report 2019 states that levels of BIM awareness and adoption grew from around 10% in 2011 to around 70% in 2019, with 48% of respondents stating that using BIM has increased their productivity, and 96% of respondents planning to use BIM within the next five years.
Although this paints a relatively positive picture, the report also highlights a stagnation in the uptake of BIM compared to recent years, and a lag between those already engaged in using the technology and those who have yet to adopt, with those in the latter category appearing more resistant to adoption than in previous years.
It is a reality that within the BIM industry there are issues such as inconsistent approaches to model design and competing design platforms with risks in exporting to common formats. The lack of designers with the relevant skills to effectively utilise the technology, and confusion over design responsibility is also a cause for concern.
The introduction of the new ISO 19650 series of standards in 2019 should go some way to tackling the issues outlined above, as they define BIM as a process that facilitates the exchange of information by way of a collaborative process and using a common data system.
In addition, the standardisation of BIM in this way should also increase the number of organisations that are able to deliver a positive experience of BIM for their clients, thus encouraging confidence and uptake of the process.
The construction industry still has a way to go in adopting technology in way that could prove to be truly transformative, but it gets closer with each new project that puts BIM and other construction technologies at its core.