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The research undertaken in this investigation project assessed the impact that Building Information modelling had on efficiency KPI's in the civil and construction industry. The investigated KPI's were; output per man-hour, on time completion cost ($), quality control, safety (lost man-hours) and overall efficiency. All KPI's were seen to improve apart from 'safety' which remained 'undetermined' as a anomalies in the data didn't allow for a finite conclusion to be drawn on that specific KPI. In the data collection phase, data was collected through a variety of methods which were industry surveys, industry interviews and student surveys. The primary data was that collected from the industry professionals and the student data was used to add value to the primary data. To conclude the results were discussed with respect to all three data types and Building Information Modelling was found to have an overall positive effect on civil and construction industry KPI's.
The purpose of this report is to evaluate the effect that Building Information Modelling (BIM) has on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) within the construction industry. It will evaluate whether BIM improves or inhibits KPIs with respect to efficiency.
How KPIs are used in the industry
Key performance indicators referred to as KPI's are well established elements within the civil and construction industry. They can be defined as measures that provide management with the most vital performance information to enable them or their stakeholders to comprehend the performance level within the organisation or a project. KPIs can link the strategic objectives of the organisation in the most efficient and effective manner and therefore help monitor the execution of the business strategy. KPI's can be used to measure both financial and operational goals of a company or a project and in turn are implemented to help assist organisations and businesses on how to identify how well they are performing with respect to their strategic goals and objectives. A KPI will act as a tool to provide the most important performance information, which in turn enables organisations or their stakeholders to understand whether the organisation or project is on track or not.
To summarise these indicators can be used to pilot organisations or projects towards their key objectives, and thus making it more likely to achieve a successful project or organisation.
The need for improved KPIs
As a result of the current tough economic and financial situation within the Civil and Construction industry, clients and organisations are steadily increasing their demand for improved KPI's with respect to costing, quality of service, on-time completion and environmental impacts. For this reason KPIs are an invaluable tool as a way to present quantifiable measurements to contractors in order to evaluate performance and achieve the proper standards on projects. Furthermore as construction is continually becoming more complex, the industry is becoming more specialized. These specialisations have resulted in fragmentation in the industry resulting in inefficiency and duplicate data. These subsequent fragmentations lead to net monetary losses" In August 2004 the US National institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a report stating 'an estimated $15.8 billion was lost annually by the U.S. capital facilities industry due to inadequate interoperability arising from the highly fragmented nature of the industry, the industries continued paper based business practices, a lock of standardization, and inconsistent technology adoption among stakeholders". These losses being substantially significant can be improved with the integrated system of BIM resulting in processes being less fragmented and more rationalized, improving productivity, communication and quality of work and reduced costing thus improving current industry KPI's.
How BIM can be used to improve industry KPIs
This section will demonstrate the basic benefits of BIM, a more in depth explanation of its specific benefits will be explained in section 3.4 'BIM benefits'. Building Information Modelling can marginally enhance productivity within the construction process. It has the ability to create virtual models of complex structures, work in real time with engaged stakeholders, collaborate with other specialities, ensure high quality construction and fabrication efficiency.
BIM offers a variety of direct and indirect benefits to all many key performance indicators within the construction industry which can be seen below (The Allen Consulting Group);
â€¢ Improved information sharing;
â€¢ time and costs savings that can be directly translated into productivity gains;
â€¢ improved quality;
â€¢ greater transparency and accountability in decision making;
â€¢ increased sustainability; and
â€¢ labour market improvements.
Furthermore Building Information Modelling has the prospective ability to modernize processes throughout a building or project's lifecycle through the integration of design, engineering, construction, maintenance and decommissioning information about a built asset project into a single diverse model as stated by The Allen Consulting Group (2010).
As the investigation project topic 'Improving industry KPI's through BIM modelling' is quite broad with respect to 'industry KPI's' a more precise approach will be taken by introducing specific KPIs. The primary focus will be on improved 'efficiency' through BIM software. The focus KPIs can be seen in section 220.127.116.11. I will be taking a survey/interview methodology approach to derive whether BIM modelling can be used to improve civil/construction industry KPI's.
KPI: A key performance indicator (KPI) is a term used to describe a performance measurement. They help organisations achieve goals by evaluating information and data which enables stakeholders to assess if the organisation is on track or not.
IPD: Integrated project delivery is a concept based on that means that all participants of a project collaborate and have a holistic approach to the project, rather than concentrating exclusively on their individual part. This allows for more informed decisions to be made, and a better quality product for the owner. BIM is essential to efficiently achieve the collaboration required for IPD (Future Direction: Integrated Project Delivery, 2010).
BIM: Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a concept that can be used to drive integrated project delivery. It is a concept that incorporates a range of disciplines and allows them to collaborate in a single integrated software package. The software allows a homogeneous approach to the design, analysis and engineering and real time 3D clash detection of a project development.
Efficiency: Using resources in such to maximise the production of goods and services with respect to time, cost and effort.
This section of the report will review a series of literature relevant to Building Information Modelling and Key Performance Indicators. It will aim to establish a theoretical framework though the investigation of existing studies, research papers and journals.
Current industry KPIs used to gauge projects and construction
As the construction industry is becoming more complex, stakeholders and management are pushing harder than ever to reach performance goals. The Australian Construction Forum (ACIF), being the peak body for construction industry in Australia prepared a set of Australian wide construction key performance indicators for the construction industry. These metrics for building and construction can be summarised in table 2 below. As the main focus of the report is going to be on improving 'efficiency KPIs' it can be seen in the table that this would fall into the categories of 'productivity', 'construction cost' and 'construction time'.
Client satisfaction - product
Client satisfaction - service
Energy use - product
Energy use - process
Predictability - cost
Water use - product
Predictability - time
Water use - process
Qualifications and skills
Waste removed from site
Equality and diversity
Commercial vehicle movements
Impact on biodiversity
Area of habitat created/ retained
Investors in people
Whole of life performance - product
Table : Current construction KPI's
Source: QUT, Australian Construction Industry KPIs, 2010
When implementing KPIs it is important to ensure that the appropriate goals are defined, this can be done by following the SMART criteria first developed by George T. Doran in 1981. A KPI which follows the SMART criteria will integrate the following characterics; specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time sensitive which can be illustrated in figure 1.
Figure : SMART system
â€¢ Specific - When setting goals they are to be as specific and unambiguous as possible. By making goals as specific as possible you are able to see if the goal has been achieved removing all uncertainty.
â€¢ Measurable - The goal must have specific criteria for measuring towards accomplishment, this can be either qualitatively or quantitatively. The reason for this is if you don't assign a measuring criterion to the goal it is not possible to know whether progress has been made towards successful completion of it.
â€¢ Achievable - It must be within realistic and achievable boundaries. This means the goal should neither be out of reach or below standard performance, but it should be formulated in such a way that it is challenging in a way that it will inspire members of the organisation to strive for goal achievement.
â€¢ Relevant - It is vital that there is a clear reason for the implementation of the KPI, otherwise support may not be provided in order to successfully reach the goal
â€¢ Time Sensitive - Every goal must have a set specific time frame as to when the goal has to be achieved by. The fact that the goal is time sensitive makes it easier to measure the improvements on the way towards the goal. This also makes it possible to make a schedule with strategies to reach the goal and a time-bound goal will usually provide a sense of urgency which will lead to greater efficiency
Current status of BIM within the construction industry
Building information modelling has begun to quickly spread throughout the construction industry. Many small and large scale businesses have started to integrate it into their toolbox. Although in December 2010 a survey was conducted and concluded that the government and industry associations need to be more active in promotion of the use of BIM software (BIM in Australia, 2010). It should be noted that it is in the government's interest to push for the universal changeover to the use of BIM software as it has a macroeconomic implication. Adoption of BIM across Australia would make a "significant difference to national economic performance and that there is a compelling economic case for encouraging greater use of BIM in Australia, 2010" (Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry Science and Research, 2010). If this support to implement BIM nationwide is continued by the Government and industry leaders, the rest of the industry will be in a more prospective position to uptake BIM.
Currently there are many key challenges for the adoption of BIM throughout Australia. The major challenge is 'getting acceptance from senior management' (Building Information Modelling, 2008), as well as all staff need to develop and expand BIM skills, tools and resources (Future Direction - Integrated Project delivery 2010)
The way that BIM is perceived throughout the industry varies drastically between the different groups of users. Looking at figure 2 contractors have the most positive perception of BIM, but this does not correlate with the most active group using BIM, that being architects. It should be noted that as architects are the most active in using BIM software that there is only a 5% recorded negative feedback (Mcgraw-hill construction, 2008) towards it. This shows that the prospective future of BIM implementation is looking quite positive.
Figure : Impact of BIM adoption
Figure : BIM adoption and usage
The awareness of BIM is rapidly growing throughout the industry, with almost half of the industry having had some form of experience with the concept. In a study conducted in 2010, as a general comment, respondents said 'there was less stress when using BIM and the project was more enjoyable (Kent, 2010). It was suggested that 'despite the best efforts of professional organizations, there is still a need for professional development and education on the topic as one-fourth of the respondents are uninformed about IPD'. A similar response was concluded in a report in 2009 report by Aranda-Mena 'Respondents enjoyed their experiences with BIM, and BIM is on track to compete against traditional methods that deliver projects in a fragmented fashion'.
BIM helps a variety of aspects of the building and construction industry; architects, engineers and construction services all benefit throughout the lifecycle of a project. Unlike CAD, which uses software to generate digital 2D and/or 3D drawings and models, BIM uses an innovative approach which creates designs with intelligent objects. This means in spite of unlimited changes to the design or who changes it, the data will always remain consistent and coordinated and thus more accurate across all stakeholders. Models created using BIM software are 'intelligent' because of the relationships and information that are automatically built into the model (Autodesk - BIM, 2011)
BIM technology has the ability to vastly enhance the productivity and efficiency. A McGraw Hill survey found that two-thirds of those integrating BIM into their construction process report a positive return on investment on their overall investment in BIM. Furthermore it was also stated that 87% of expert users have also been experiencing a positive return of investment with BIM (Building Information Modelling, 2008). It should also be noted that the 2007 McGraw Hill survey on interoperability found that the industry perceives interoperability to be a major determinant of productivity growth, "collaboration instead of competition within the design/construction team results in better, faster, less-expensive projects" (Novitski, 2010).
Looking at Architects, being the most active users of BIM technology, it was seen that drafting costs increased by approximately 22% (BIM in Australia, 2010). This increase in drafting costs will be insignificant in the overall scope of cost reductions and productivity, as the construction process will be improved as there will be fewer change orders and requests for information (Kent, D, 2010).
BIM has a range of benefits specifically to structural engineers to enhance their ability to model and evaluate projects. A survey on structural engineers in the 2008 SmartMarket report on BIM yielded that four out of five BIM users frequently model steel columns, beams, trusses and concrete. It was also stated that more detailed elements posed a greater challenge for users. The report also found that three in ten frequently model steel details and reinforcing, while 6% model framework through the use of BIM technology.
Looking at the current use of BIM by structural engineers, it has been seen that they will see benefits both internally and at the project level.
Specific benefits likely to be seen by structural engineers in comparison to other engineers (The power of BIM for structural engineering, 2012):
Helping maintain repeat business with past customers. This is their top-ranked internal benefit. (SmartMarket, 2008)
Reducing overall project duration
Presentation and visualization of architectural design
Design more efficiently with intuitive structural engineering tools that support the BIM process and help improve accuracy and reduce errors
Optimize outcomes by exploring design alternatives more easily and cost effectively during conceptual design
BIM has currently been emerging as a common tool used by Civil Engineers. Fewer Civil Engineers use BIM in comparison to Structural Engineers but it is stated that 'it will be a valuable tool in the future (NBIMS, 2007)
Civil Engineers are likely to see benefits in the following aspects:
Greater client engagement
Greater community engagement
Critical benefits for engineers
The following figure represents the most important internal benefits perceived among engineers (McGraw Hill Construction, 2008)
Figure : Most important internal benefits for engineers
BIM and a buildings lifecycle
BIM can be used to streamline a variety of processes throughout the lifecycle of a building. It does this by the singular collation of design, engineering, construction maintenance and decommissioning information in a single model. Below is a table which shows possible BIM capabilities to the different stages of a buildings lifecycle.
APPLICATION OF BIM TO VARIOUS STAGES OF A BUILINGS LIFECYCLE
Ensure the right facility is designed
Develop better cost estimates
Keep track of built assets
Evaluate the design from multiple perspectives
Ability to track work in real time
Manage the facility proactively
Evaluate the dseign against building codes and sustainability prior to construction
Ability to manage site and flow resources
Capability to schedule maintenance
Demonstrate the construction process
Table : BIM and a buildings lifecycle
Source: adopted from CRC for construction Innovation, 2008
Simplified and summarised BIM benefits
Below in table 3 is a simplified and summarised table of the possible benefits
Faster and more effective processes
Information is more readily available for sharing
Building models can be meticulously analysed with simulations, resulting in improved and more innovative solutions
Controlled whole-life costs and environmental data
Lifecycle cost analysis can take place and environmental performance is more predictable
Better production quality
Documentation output is flexible and exploits automation
Digital product data can be exported and be used for manufacturing/assembling of structural systems
Better customer service
Design and project proposals are better understood
Requirements, design, construction and operational information can be used in facilities management.
Table : Summarised BIM benefits
BIM plays a part in project cost reduction. According to BIM in Australia, 2010 there is a 7% reduction manufacturing cost and a 9% reduction in installation time when using BIM.
Table 4 shows the possible outcomes with respect to cost savings when using BIM.
Table : Estimated Cost Savings by Key Users In Australia
Source: (Submission to the Public Commentary on the NBESARF, 2010)
According to the 'Australian Government Department of Innovation' the cost reductions induced by the use of BIM software over the period of 2010 to 2025 through an increase in productivity (6-16% increase), Australia could possibly produce an economic benefit equivalent to $5billion added to Australia's GDP. Furthermore it was stated that BIM is estimated to improve the productivity of the Buildings Network by drastically significant 6-9%, resulting in an extremely high benefit cost ratio (BCR) of 10 to 1. (Sue Holliday, 2010)
Statistics developed by the Stanford University Center for integrated Facilities Engineering (CIFE) based on 32 major projects where BIM was used, resulted in the following benefits (CIFE, 2007)
Up to 40% elimination of unbudgeted change.
Cost estimation accuracy within 3%.
Up to 80% reduction in time taken to generate a cost estimate.
A savings of up to 10% of the contract value through clash detections.
Up to 7% reduction in project time.
A major concern expressed by respondents (31.1%) in a study conducted by Kent (2010) was that that industry use of BIM technology is not yet advanced enough to support integrated project delivery as intended. Furthermore it is stated that software is inhibiting the use of BIM because of the following reasons; Lack of training, interoperability, cost and lack of standards.
Current users of BIM software have stated they are seeing value in its use, but the full potentials have yet to be realized (McGraw Hill construction). A study conducted on the 'level of business value of BIM' yielded some significant results, with 3% of respondents stating 'they are getting everything out of BIM that they believe it can provide us'. 45% of respondents stated they were getting a lot of value from BIM but believe there is far more to be gained. Of the total respondents only 4% said they were getting no meaningful value from BIM software.
Below is a comprehensive collaboration of available BIM software sorted by its different categories. From this list it can be seen that there is a vast array of currently implemented software available to help improve the construction industry and appropriate KPIs.
Autodesk Revit Architecture
Nemetschek Allplan Architecture
Gehry Technologies - Digital Project Designer
Nemetschek Vectorworks Architect
4MSA IDEA Architectural Design (IntelliCAD)
Autodesk Ecotect Analysis
Autodesk Green Building Studio
IES Solutions Virtual Environment VE-Pro
Bentley Tas Simulator
Autodesk Revit Structure
Bentley Structural Modeler
Bentley RAM, STAAD and ProSteel
Graytec Advance Design
StructureSoft Metal Wood Framer
4MSA Strad and Steel
Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis
Autodesk Revit MEP
Bentley Hevacomp Mechanical Designer
4MSA FineHVAC + FineLIFT + FineELEC + FineSANI
Gehry Technologies - Digital Project MEP Systems Routing
CADMEP (CADduct / CADmech)
Solibri Model Checker
Vico Office Suite
Vela Field BIM
Glue (by Horizontal Systems)
Vintocon ArchiFM (For ArchiCAD)
Table : Available BIM software
This section outlines the methodology used for this investigation project. A vast mixture of qualitative and quantitative research methods will be implemented, to allow for the discovery of patterns from observation, careful documentation, and thoughtful analysis of data collected from interviews and surveys.
Choice of respondents
In order to attempt to attain the richest data possible I have chosen to acquire data from both industry professionals and students. The industry professionals will provide me with the primary data needed to undertake the analysis and the student data (undergraduate or post graduate) will be used to add further value to the data acquired from the industry professionals.
Qualitative data is vastly varied in nature. It is the collaboration of virtually any information that one can attain that does not follow a numerical nature. It attempts to make sense of, or interpret concepts in terms of the meaning people and data bring to them. This type of research involves methods such as studies, personal experience, and introspection, and in the case of this investigation project 'interviews'
Quantitative data is a data collection method of data in a numerical form which can be put into categories, ranked or measured. This type of data can easily be displayed in graphs or tables. The objective of this type of data is to develop and employ mathematical models, theories and or hypothesis. In the case of this report ranked 'surveys' will be used in order to derive valuable statistical data and furthermore conclusions.
The interviews will take on a prewritten series questions. The interview is designed to be short and concise allowing the interviewee to provide more in depth answers. If presented with the opportunity I will push them to go into more detail which will help to provide richer data.
As part of the industry research, an online survey will be undertaken. The survey will be emailed around to approximately 30 industry professionals.
Industry focus KPIs
The following KPIs were concluded from the literature review to be the most integral civil/construction KPIs and therefore will be used in the industry survey to collect data on whether BIM can improve them to any degree.
Output per man hour
On time completion
Safety (lost man-hours)
Table : Research focus KPIs
Industry survey objectives
To establish a clear background of the respondent
To collect quantitative data about the effects of Building Information Modelling on specific efficiency related KPIs with respect to their real life, firsthand experience
In order to add further value to the data collected via industry professionals, a 'student survey' will be conducted in order to evaluate experience with Building Information Modelling that they may have had during university studies or industry work. The questions have been structured in a way in which the answers can be used to derive a direct relationship with the questions in the industry survey.
Student survey objectives
To establish whether the respondent has heard of Building Information Modelling
To establish whether the respondent has had any experience with Building Information Modelling
To collect quantitative data on whether BIM has helped to improve specific aspects of projects and university or work related tasks with regards to efficiency
The survey consisted of a series of questions in two parts; the first was to establish a background on the respondent with respect to their experience and discipline and if they have had exposure to Building Information Modelling. The second part the respondents were asked to rate their perception of BIMs influence on the focus KPIs.
Industry online survey
What is your discipline?
How many years of industry
experience do you have?
Have you had exposure to or used BIM?
Table : Initial Industry professionals survey responses
The respondents were asked the following "How would you rank BIMs effect on the following KPIs?"
Output per man hour
Table : Industry survey response - Output per man hour
On time completion
Table : Industry survey response - On time completion
Table : Industry survey response - Cost ($)
Table : Industry survey response - Quality control
Safety (lost man-hours)
Table : Industry survey response - Safety (lost man-hours)
Table : Industry survey response - Overall efficiency
Industry interview responses
In your experience has BIM improved KPIs specifically with respect to efficiency? (time, cost and effort) and if you haven't worked with it do you believe it has the potential to do so?
"Within the first couple of months into my graduate job I was introduced to BIM and immediately assigned training.
I've collaborated with multiple architects on projects that have involved BIM. I've found it to be challenging at times. This was due to multiple models being used by the Architectural teams and Structural team, making communication a key element in successful closeout of a project."
"BIM software packages are much better at eliminating clashing."
I believe that it would be handy to be able to take the architectural drawings - which can then be handed over to the engineer and appropriate member sizing and structural checks can be made and thus minimising cost and time."
"I've also found that BIM software improves documentation efficiency. You don't have to try and interpret what people were thinking as BIM will show you."
"Yes, I have. I've managed two projects where the team
was using it."
"From experience there is definitely a significant decrease in cost
overall. But looking at a design perspective there is more cost involved then the traditional way as there has to be more detail and documentation whereas 2D elements can be skimmed over and allows interpolation. "
"BIM definitely the potential to offer better quality to the client, but the difficulty comes in trying to sell this to the client."
"I have also been exposed to the fact there is a lot less uncertainty in the construction phase. Once contractors learn that documentation is more accurate and therefore less issues on site. They will stop putting as much contingency in their lump sum to build things. Less probability of variation and their prices will eventually be lowered."
"No I haven't actually. Some of my work colleagues have used it but I wasn't involved."
"In all honesty I haven't really thought about it. I haven't been assigned a project or task that has anything to do with it."
"I've worked on a few projects that have used Revit. It can be difficult at times because a complete model must be made before the structural analysis is done. Looking at the traditional system of the engineer and drafter working at the same time (drawing and designing) - once the engineer is finished they will inform the drafter of the member schedule is. The difference with BIM is you cannot do this, the engineer needs to do the model and sizes then it need to be drafted."
"I do, but there are times when it should be used and shouldn't be used. There is always going to be little jobs that don't have the need to be modelled with BIM software. With BIM you either model a project in its entirety or not at all, so it's important to apply it to specific types of projects to ensure you don't incur unnecessary costs."
Table : Industry interview responses
Similar to the industry survey, the student survey first established a background on the respondent with respect to if they had heard of Building Information Modelling and if they have had any experience with it. The second half asked them to answer 'yes' or 'no' on questions about BIMs effects work they may have undertaken during university studies or industry work.
Student online survey
Have you heard of the concept of Building Information Modelling (BIM)? i.e Revit
Have you had any experience
Table : Initial student survey responses
Total respondents with BIM
Did BIM improve your
productivity during any of your projects?
Table : Student survey response 1
Did BIM help meet project
Table : Student survey response 2
Did BIM help improve the
quality of your projects?
Table : Student survey response 3
Did BIM allow you to perform past the limitations of conventional CAD?
Table : Student survey response 4
Did BIM help improve the
overall efficiency of your project?
The industry online survey yielded a total of 8 responses which came from a great distribution of disciplines and years of industry experience (figure 5). Looking at the data collected the survey showed that 100% (8/8) respondents have had some exposure to BIM or used it firsthand. Although there were only 8 responses to the survey, the value comes from the vast variety of roles and varying years in the field of expertise.
Figure : Industry survey - years of experience
Figure : Graph - output per man hour (Industry professionals)
Figure 6 demonstrates that the majority of respondents (62.5%) believe that BIM can improve the overall output that can be produced with respect to man-hours. 25% of respondents claimed that BIM has absolutely no effect on their output per man-hour. It should be noted that 0% of respondents claimed that BIM inhibited the effect on output per man-hour which is a significant indicator that BIM has further potential.
Figure : Graph - On time completion (Industry professionals)
Looking at the results in figure 7 you can immediately see that the majority of respondents (75%) said BIM improved 'on time completion' and 1 respondent (12.5%) claimed it optimised it. Although only one respondent claimed it to have no effect this still should be taken into consideration and not considered an 'outlier' in the data. This shall be elaborated on further in the discussion.
Figure : Graph - Cost ($) (Industry professionals)
Looking at the results yielded by the respondents on BIMs effect on cost ($) it is straight away evident that the results are quite spread out with 50% of respondents saying it improved cost and 37.5% of respondents claiming it to inhibit them. As discussed in the literature review it was found in a study that drafting costs increased by 22% due to BIM. This may be a direct correlation and shall be examined more in depth in the discussion.
Figure : Graph - Quality control (Industry professionals)
Looking at the results it can be seen that the majority (75%) of respondents claimed BIM had improved 'quality control'. 12.5% of respondents felt it optimised quality control whereas 12.5% also felt it has no effect.
Figure : Graph - Safety (lost man-hours) (Industry professionals)
Looking at figure 10 it is clear that 50% of respondents felt BIM imposed safety (lost man-hours) and the other 50% of respondents felt it had no effect. This implies that respondents may not be seeing the full potential of BIM and its ability to design-for-safety and discover hazards prior to development.
Figure : Graph - overall efficiency (Industry professionals)
Figure 11 demonstrates the overall perception of the industry professional's perception on BIMs effect on efficiency. It is clear that the majority of respondents (87.5%) claimed that BIM did help improve efficiency in their experience and 12.5% of respondents claimed it optimised their efficiency. 0% of respondents claimed it to have 'no effect' or 'inhibit' efficiency. This is a substantial finding as it makes it clear that those using BIM are seeing an improvement in efficiency KPIs.
A total of four industry professionals were interviewed and were asked the following series of questions;
What is your role?
How many years of industry experience do you have?
Have you worked with BIM?
In your experience has BIM improved KPIs within your job specifically with respect to efficiency? (Time, cost and effort) and if not do you believe it has the potential to do so?
Do you think BIM has the potential to further improve KPIs in the future?
The industry professionals came from a good distribution of disciplines being two structural engineers a civil engineer and a project manager with a range of 4 to 18 years of industry experience.
The survey resulted in 75% of respondents (3/4) have had direct exposure to BIM or used it firsthand. The respondent who did not have any exposure to BIM did answer that 'some of my work colleagues have used it but I wasn't involved'.
The general consensus was that BIM did have quite a significant impact on improving KPIs with 75% of the interviewees claiming that 'BIM software packages are much better at eliminating clashes', 'lowering costs', 'automating tasks' and 'eliminating uncertainty in the construction phase'. It was also noted that smaller jobs do not necessitate the use of BIM. This is because of the higher level of detail and time taken to complete a model 'with BIM you either model a project in its entirety or not at all' and thus the higher costs to achieve this. It seems that BIM is most effective when dealing with large-scale projects which require precision detail.
The interviewee's responses towards BIMs potential to improve KPIs in the future were unanimously positive. Even the respondent who had no firsthand experience with BIM mentioned that 'the general opinion that I've heard if that it can be used to marginally improve costing/time'. One respondent went as far to say that BIM could potentially eliminate the entire department of drafting which would be seen as quite an extensive cost reduction.
The online student survey yielded a total of 11 responses and of those 11, 8 (73%) have had some form of exposure to BIM. The purpose of the student survey was to 'add value' to that obtained from the industry survey and industry interview. It does not directly answer the objectives set out. It does, however, help reinforce the results with a Tertiary Education perspective.
75% of students claimed BIM has helped improve productivity during projects undertaken throughout their tertiary studies. A substantial figure of 87.5% of students believed BIM assisted in helping them meet project deadlines. This was reinforced with 87.5% of students answering yes to BIM improving the overall efficiency during projects. As far as quality goes, 75% of students answered they noticed an improvement in quality which was evident in 75% is students also claiming that 'BIM allowed them to perform past the limitations of conventional CAD'.
Below in figure 12 through 16, a graphical display of responses to the student survey questions can be seen.
Figure : Graphical display student survey question 1
Figure : Graphical display student survey question 2
Figure : Graphical display student survey question 3
Figure : Graphical display student survey question 4
Figure : Graphical display student survey question 5
The following section will discuss each of the KPIs with respect to all 3 data collection methods (industry survey, industry interview and student survey)
Output per man-hour
It was found from the industry survey that 62.5% of respondents though BIM improved output per man-hour. This figure can be backed up from the industry interview where it was said that BIM has the potential to eliminate entire departments (drafting) by allowing engineers to do their own drafting and therefore improving the output per man-hour. It was also apparent that BIM improved output per man-hour within student projects as 75% claimed it helped improve their productivity. Overall these results show that BIM does possess the ability to improve the KPI - output per man-hour.
On time completion
Looking at the industry survey it was found that 75% of respondents said BIM facilitated in improving on time completion. This was also evident in the industry interview as the general consensus was that BIM did help improve on time completion in 'most' cases. It was demonstrated in the interview responses that BIM should not be used in all types of projects as BIM models can take quite a lot of time to develop which makes them more suited to larger projects.
Both the industry survey and industry interview demonstrated that some (37.5%) perceived BIM to inhibit cost. This is due to the nature of the greater design cost. Although it should be taken into account that this extra design cost, will provide better overall quality and detail to the client in the analysis and drawings. 50% of respondents claimed that BIM did improve cost and 12.5% of respondents claimed it optimised it. I believe the skew in results came from the fact that some of the respondents and interviewees may have used BIM for smaller projects which earlier discussed is not ideal.
The industry survey found that 75% of respondents claimed BIM improved quality control in their experience. This data can be backed up with the responses from the student survey which found that, 75% of students answered that BIM helped improve the overall quality of their projects and 75% of students also claimed it allowed them to perform past the limitations of conventional CAD. This demonstrates that users will see an improvement in quality control regardless of the size of the project disregarding time and cost restraints.
Safety (lost man-hours)
There was seen to be mixed views on BIMs effect on safety (lost man-hours) in the industry survey. 50% of respondents claimed it to have no effect whereas 50% also claimed it to improve safety. There was no evidence presented by the industry interview to back this up, but I believe that BIMs ability to identify hazards prior to construction would account for the 50% of respondents claiming that it did improve safety. As there wasn't enough data to make a finite conclusion about BIMs effect on safety, it shall remain 'undetermined'
As an overall cross examination of the data presented in the industry survey, student survey and industry interviews, the study shows that the use of BIM will facilitate in improving KPIs with respect to efficiency. This is quite evident in the 87.5% of respondents in the industry interview claiming 'BIM improved overall efficiency' which was further backed up by the student survey with an identical figure (87.5%) claiming that BIM helped improved their overall efficiency during projects.
The use of BIM has shown to drastically effect efficiency KPIs within the civil and construction industry in a positive manner. This study shows that it would be in the best interest of those within the industry to begin to integrate BIM into their set of tools in order to see its benefits. From the literature review and acquired data it was shown that BIM may increase cost ($) during the design phase but this will be directly compensated by the better overall quality, greater productivity and overall efficiency. It was seen from the industry survey where 50% of respondents believed BIM has 'no effect' on safety whereas 50% claimed it 'improved it' that this disparity needs to be investigated further as a clear result was not concluded. In terms of further research, I recommend the investigation of 'case-studies', these should include major projects that have involved BIM and subsequently an analysis could take place on the difference between KPI performance with respect to if the project had and had not implemented the use of BIM. To conclude this study on 'Evaluating the effect of BIM on the improvement of construction industry KPIs a simplified table has been compiled to directly display the final findings yielded by this study, which can be seen below.
Output per man-hour
On time completion
Safety (lost man-hours)
Timeline & diary
Narrowed down potential investigation project topics
Finalised chosen topic with Dr Kevin Zhang - development of KPIs for office buildings
Preformed preliminary research in order to write a project plan
Submitted project plan to Dr Kevin Zhang
Resubmitted project Plan to Dr Kevin Zhang with new topic focus - Evaluating the effect of BIM on the improvement of construction industry KPI's
Started compiling journals, studies and research papers on; IPD, BIM and KPI's
Commenced literature review
Developed and emailed surveys out to industry professionals and students
Began networking in order to undertake industry interviews
Continued literature review
Interviewed 4 industry professionals
Started collaborating data from the student surveys, industry surveys and industry interviews
Completed the analysis and continued writing the report
Started and completed the discussion
Met with Dr Kevin Zhang to review the current status of the report
Continued writing the report
Started formatting the report (spelling, grammar and general layout)