The global digital transformation of the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is picking up steam as governments drive the adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) policies. As the conversation gets underway in the United States, and industries beyond AEC will also benefit from BIM standards. The value of government BIM policies are more widely recognized every day, and new forums for collaboration among governments and private industry are emerging.
BIM offers the promise of seamless collaboration among stakeholders and across disciplines with intelligent 3D modeling through the design, construction, and operation phases of a built asset. BIM-based projects utilizing cloud solutions enable communication and coordination among extended, multi-disciplinary project teams, data, and processes. A BIM-based project often results in better decision-making and a reduction in design time, construction time, and change orders for many of our customers’ projects. The result is innovative more profitable projects, delivered at lower costs in less time.
Autodesk’s leadership shared its policy priorities with the new leadership in Washington, DC. Learn more.
Cost-Benefit of BIM
Autodesk has been talking about the benefits of BIM for decades and leading its advancement through the industries we serve. Increasingly, the pursuit of these practical benefits and efficiencies have placed governments in the driver’s seat of the AEC industry’s digitization. According to Adam Matthews, Head of the International Stream of the Centre for Digital Built Britain, the U.K.’s BIM program cost about $5 million to implement and has led to 33% lower construction and whole life costs of built assets and 50% faster delivery.
Matthews often speaks about the motivation for creating a U.K. BIM policy. He explains the government “started off looking at how we can drive savings,” establishing better procurement practices and construction. Matthews notes the implementation of BIM policies was not a program just for the sake of technology. The U.K. adopted level 2 BIM standards in 2016 requiring collaborative 3D BIM with data attached.
Some U.S. government agencies require BIM for capital projects, but policies and standards are far and few between and justifiably inconsistent across these agencies because they are formulated independently of one another. While this presents an obvious challenge, Autodesk thinks it is a great starting place to begin the discussion. Why? Simply put, these agencies have become advocates and, like the U.K.’s success, the benefits are clear.
U.S. BIM Policies: Beginning a Conversation
U.S. BIM policies got a boost in February when approximately 40 business and government leaders met to discuss the need for a coordinated program to advance collaboration and innovation in the building industry. Convened by The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), the Building Information Management Executive Roundtable included partners from the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. General Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, along with business partners from Autodesk, Google, Microsoft, Epic Games, ESRI, HDR, Kieran-Timberlake and WSP.
Amazon Web Service’s Sandra Benson, Worldwide Head of Engineering/Construction and Real Estate attended the roundtable suggests adoption will be driven by “an innovation-focused program with buy-in from the players.” Sandra notes the public and private sectors must be “galvanized and at the table,” and there is no disagreement about the “value proposition of universal BIM standards and policies.” She adds now is the time to begin working together to get there.
BIM standards have implications beyond the traditional AEC players. As technology enables the convergence of industries and processes, media and entertainment companies now have a seat at the table too. Epic Games, best known for Fortnite, sees opportunities for BIM standards to enable viewing on Unreal Engine, its advanced real-time tool.
Epic Games’ Ken Pimentel, who also attended the roundtable, explains, “The tools of tomorrow will be built on the data of today.” Ken recognizes digital twins, smart cities, and other forms of innovation “can only be efficiently deployed if the underlying BIM data is coherent across buildings, cities and regions.” Ken’s hope is Epic Games’ involvement in the U.S. BIM program will “result in a more inclusive perspective as to both the implications and opportunities of BIM policies, leading to smarter data, higher-quality tools, and higher standards for all.”
The Call to Action
A first-of-its-kind, the Global BIM Summit on March 17 will serve as the launch of the Global BIM Network. The network is designed to ensure BIM policy efforts, like the one underway in the U.S., can benefit from best practices, shared knowledge, and lessons learned from public and private sector AEC community members around the globe.
It is clear the digitization of the AEC industry is under way and it is an evolution which will not slow. However, it is also true that most construction companies are still at the earliest stages of their digital journey, with few at the most advanced stages.
As the global BIM community comes together in mid-March, private firms will have a chance to accelerate their digital transformation and better understand the direction of the AEC industry worldwide. For government entities, attending the summit is a step toward understanding and perhaps embracing standards to support more cost-efficient infrastructure and building projects. The summit will bring together public sector leaders, private industry, and investors to shape and advance the adoption of global BIM standards. Online registration is open to this free virtual event.
Be a part of directing the future of BIM standards in the U.S. and around the world.
Therefore, we encourage both those dipping their toes into digitization and BIM, and those far more advanced, to get involved in the conversation. Be a part of shaping the global digital transformation of the AEC industry.