Use of Building Information Modeling is accelerating dramatically, driven by major private and government owners who want to institutionalize its benefits of faster, more certain project delivery, and more reliable quality and cost. According to the 2013 McGraw Hill Construction SmartMarket report, “The Business Value of BIM for Construction in Major Global Markets,” adoption of BIM has reached more than 70 percent among firms in North America. Leading engineering firms are finding that BIM provides opportunities for companies to reshape projects at an ecosystem level, changing workflows in ways that deliver important results.
Figure 1: BIM-driven workflows can include structural detailing to better optimize the structural design to detailing process together.
A major driver of this evolution is that engineering firms are looking for better return on investment from BIM (see Figure 1). Even with a high adoption rate of BIM and owners seeing better coordinated designs with fewer requests for information, engineers are not being fully recognized financially. Other external factors at play include fewer construction projects, tighter project schedules, and lower design fees. Some firms have tried to reduce costs through mergers and acquisitions or offshoring of certain services. Others are exploring technologies such as mobile and cloud that better streamline processes such as multidiscipline collaboration and structural analysis and design.