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By Sharon Yap, WA State Manager | 16 May, 2019

The days of 2D drawings are over, as the digital era brings with it 3D building information models that deliver bottom-line benefits.

Nearly nine in 10 global property leaders surveyed in the 2018 Altus Group Real Estate Development Trends Report named BIM (Building Information Modelling) one of the three most disruptive influences heading the industry’s way.

The global survey of 412 senior property leaders revealed that 89 per cent believe BIM will have either a “significant” or “disruptive” impact on the development industry, while just 10 per cent think it will have minimal or no impact.

Those of us working on the coalface of construction projects have been watching BIM’s evolution with interest for years – but 2019 will be the year that BIM really takes off, driven by three trends.

  1. The ROI is irrefutable

Many construction companies have been wary of BIM – and with good reason. BIM requires extensive training which can add considerable costs to a project. But those costs are coming down rapidly as technology evolves, as the industry upskills, and as the once elusive-ROI is firmly established.

A host of surveys and studies have found BIM offers value for money in a myriad of ways. BIM enhances communication and collaboration, identifies and resolves clashes earlier and easier, improves scheduling and sequencing, enhances safety and supports better management and operation throughout the life of an asset.

When you consider that around 30 per cent of building materials and 40 per cent of working hours are wasted, efficiencies gained through BIM can quickly add up. Just one 2018 report from PwC found using BIM Level 2 on all its projects could save the UK government £400 million – or nearly AUD $750 million – a year.

  1. Mandates and standards are being set

BIM adoption has been stymied by a lack of standards – but this is also changing. Since April 2016, the UK government has required all construction suppliers tendering for centrally-procured government work to use BIM Level 2. Essentially, if you don’t embrace BIM you won’t work with the UK government.

The UK government recognises it can extract significant value in terms of cost and carbon abatement by insisting on open, sharable asset information. A ‘single source of truth’ means projects are better organised and better planned – and deliver more value to the taxpayer.

In a globalised economy, the UK’s mandate is changing construction practices, as multinational wanting work in the UK are now training their people to meet standards that can be applied in other jurisdictions.

While Australian governments don’t include BIM requirements in their contracts – yet – the state government in WA is starting to use BIM on high profile projects, like the $1.2 billion Perth Children’s Hospital. The Victorian Government it busy testing BIM and Transport for NSW is managing Australia’s first trial of 5D BIM for infrastructure. It’s only a matter of time before BIM becomes business-as-usual for governments.

  1. A young demographic demands new ways of working

According to McKinsey & Company, the construction industry is one of the world’s least digitised sectors, spending less than one per cent on IT. But digital natives are entering the workforce at an accelerating speed, and they expect to use digital technology to solve problems, reduce risk and improve efficiency.

These young people aren’t interested in spending days chained to their desks. They understand the days of paper and scale ruler measurements are behind us. And they won’t be enticed into the construction industry if we remain behind the curve on digital innovation. Ultimately, BIM will be embraced faster as tech-savvy talent rise through the ranks and demand a different way of working.

In today’s digital world, many of the measurements and calculations that once took a quantity surveyor hours to complete can be extracted in an instant with the help of BIM.

When a BIM model is part of the project, quantity surveyors can spend that extra time undertaking cost analyses of new materials, comparing construction methods to solve tricky problems or scrutinising designs to uncover hidden value.

Let us help you uncover the hidden value on your next project. Contact Altus Group to find out more.

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