Building Information Modeling

Building Information Modeling (BIM) & CM Integration


Building information modeling (BIM) and change management (CM) integration is the key to improve the construction industry performance.

In this topic, we will identify BIM-Based CM integration benefits, barriers, and the roadmap for implementation.

Table of Contents

What is Building Information Modeling (BIM)?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a collaborative way of working, underpinned by the digital technologies which unlock more efficient methods of designing, delivering and maintaining physical built assets.

BIM embeds key product and asset data in a 3D computer model that can be used for effective management of information throughout an assets lifecycle – from earliest concept through to operation.

BIM has been described as a game-changing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and cultural process for the construction sector.

A number of countries globally are starting to realize the opportunities it brings and are now investing heavily to develop their own capability.

BIM is the first truly global digital construction technology and will soon be deployed in every country in the world. It is a 'game changer' and we need to recognize that it is here to stay.

BIM Motivation Behind BIM-Based CM

The integration of CM (behavioural model) and design model (geometry and data) leads to a BIM-integrated database, which permits changes to be made anywhere with an immediate reflection of data without user intervention, and this interconnectivity empowers real-time coordination and tracking changes.

The use of CM in the context of a BIM environment has gained attention in many recent studies which analysed BIM tools effectiveness for managing changes based on case study observations.

They found that BIM tools were effective for detecting spatial dependencies, but the ability to track and detect the analytical relations was limited.

BIM-based projects cannot prevent a change, but they can help manage it more effectively.

Additionally, BIM was quite effective for managing spatial dependency changes in terms of addition, omission, dividing, and merging elements.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) based-CM shortcomings were also outlined, such as the incapability of producing comparative deviation reports for design change and the lack of artificial intelligence for proposing design change alternatives.

In general, BIM-based CM is an integrative approach which can contribute to effectively managing project changes and prevent their disruptive impacts.

BIM-Based CM Benefits

The key advantage of BIM is the ability to facilitate exchange and storing of information, which leads to enhancing communication and collaboration in the design and construction process.

In addition, the fundamental principle of BIM is the alliance of different stakeholders at different phases of the lifecycle to insert, extract, update, or modify information.

In actual fact, BIM breaks down the project segmentation and fosters a collaborative environment among team members, and it relies on using a common data environment (CDE) where single sources of information are used to collect, distribute, and manage project documents.

BIM-Based CM Implementation Barriers

Notwithstanding the benefits, BIM-based CM is not widespread as it depends on BIM adoption at the outset, which already has many implementation barriers.

These barriers can be characterized into two groups – process barriers and technology barriers.

Process barriers are concerned with industry readiness while still under development, the wrong perception of BIM investment value when it is considered worthless, the difficulties of ensuring that all project participants are aware of and use BIM, and the legal barriers, like contractual issues and model ownership.

The technology barriers involve industry capability to integrate technology across multiple disciplines and users at the same time into one model and the lack of standardization required for supporting interoperability.

In fact, the categorization varies between BIM users and non-users.

From non-users’ perspective, the lack of expertise, skills, and supply chains are rated as the top barriers, while a deficit in senior management support was rated the least important.

BIM users considered the cost of training, doubts regarding financial benefits, and the need for cultural change as the top barriers. Conversely, legal issues and staff resistance were less significant.

The debate surrounding implementation barriers has been subject to annual surveys by NBS, of which the results revealed the top five barriers – lack of client demands to use BIM in their private projects, many firms’ claim that BIM is not applicable or appropriate for their nature of work, cost is a common obstacle, which includes the cost of the software, training and time, the perception that BIM is only suitable for large projects, and, finally, the lack of experts with in-house skills.

Building information modeling (BIM) ten implementation barriers.

  1. Lack of BIM awareness
  2. Complexity of BIM technology
  3. Lack of client demand
  4. Construction with old work nature
  5. Not suitable for work nature
  6. Unresolved legal issues
  7. High cost of BIM implementation
  8. Shortage of trained staff and experts
  9. Lack of standardization
  10. Lack of senior management support

Building Information Modeling Roadmap

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency

The motivation behind BIM-based CM requires upgrading construction industry performance via successful BIM adoption at the beginning.

However, the goal of becoming “BIM-ready” is not just about software installation and staff training – it is a long journey necessitating bringing people, technology, and processes all together in a collaborative and meaningful way.

BIM adoption is a challenge for organizations. Implementation challenges, which include overcoming resistance to change and the old work nature, providing training for people, improving technological understanding, enhancing teamwork collaboration, and improving stakeholder awareness, compromise BIM adoption.

As well, the implementation strategy requiring workflow reinvention is an issue. Moreover, providing guidance over the facilitating the process of building lifecycle management in order to leverage BIM in design and construction is a matter that needs consideration.

The NBS (2016) device to avoid pitfalls on the road to BIM features ten essential elements, which are secure senior management support, improved team assembly, implementation of standards, determined technology tools, trained staff, enhanced work process, incorporation of partners, consideration of costs and risks, and, finally, setting realistic goals.

Proposed action summary:

  1. Enhance technology awareness
  2. Improve BIM return on investment perception
  3. Support standardization
  4. Establish framework for legal issues
  5. Develop BIM education and training
  6. Change old work practices
  7. Increase BIM awareness
  8. Bolster client knowledge

Source: Mostafa Khames (2017) The Integration of Building Information Modelling and Change Management to Improve Construction Industry Performance. 

Photos by PEXEL

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