Report: BIM Is Valuable to Infrastructure Projects

A new SmartMarket Report from Dodge Data & Analytics, New York, shows that the use of building information modeling is increasing in the horizontal construction market. “The Business Value of BIM for Infrastructure 2017 SmartMarket Report”—produced in partnership with San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk and with support from New York-based Deloitte—analyzes how engineers, contractors and owners are using BIM for transportation infrastructure projects in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and U.S. It shows that commitment to BIM is skyrocketing among firms who use it with 52 percent now reporting they deploy it on more than half their projects versus only 20 percent of them implementing it at that high level just two years ago. (Download the report free.)

This information updates a previous SmartMarket Report from 2012 on the value of BIM for infrastructure in the U.S., which showed that its use on all types of infrastructure projects significantly lagged vertical building construction. However, the new study suggests that BIM is well on its way to becoming established for transportation in the U.S. and European markets.

“Dodge has been closely tracking the growth of BIM for buildings globally since 2007,” says Steve Jones, senior director of Industry Insights Research at Dodge Data & Analytics. “We have seen steady growth in both its usage and the tangible business benefits that its users receive. It is exciting to now see a similar pattern rapidly taking shape for transportation infrastructure and the dramatic global growth expected for that segment is certain
to accelerate this trend.”

The majority (87 percent) of BIM users in the study report they are receiving positive value from their use of BIM, and most believe that they have only begun to experience its full potential. Critical benefits reported by users include fewer errors, less rework and greater cost predictability, all of which improve project delivery for transportation infrastructure.

In addition to improving project performance, most users report having BIM capability yields important internal benefits to their own businesses, which include:

  • Increasing revenue by expanding their ability to offer services (56 percent) and maintaining business with past clients (52 percent).
  • Conducting their business more effectively by improving the ability to teach younger staff about how projects go together (58 percent), establishing a consistent and repeatable project-delivery process (54 percent) and, for design professionals, spending less time documenting and more time designing (50 percent).

Despite the fact that many of the respondents—especially those in France, Germany and the UK—are relatively new to the use of BIM, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) believe they experience a positive ROI from their BIM use, and more than one- quarter (28 percent) believe ROI is 25 percent or greater.

In addition to these top findings, the report features projects that exemplify the value being gained from BIM, including for rail, airports and smart roadways. Other articles in the report explore how BIM is of particular value to infrastructure owners—from the ways it can support city planning efforts to asset manage- ment long after construction is complete, including a case study on an ambitious project to model Glen Canyon Dam. The SmartMarket Report also includes a summary of the use of BIM and the value it provides in the four countries included in the study.

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