Digital construction report 2021

Incorporating The BIM report

Section 1: BIM

A solid majority, 71%, say that they have adopted BIM. Another quarter have yet to do so, but plan to within the next five years. Only 5% have no intention of using BIM.

Adoption among consultants is highest, at 75%, and higher again among architectural practices: 81%.

Small organisations (with 15 staff or less) are less likely to have adopted BIM (55%), and 10% of these say that they never will.

"BIM has played, and is playing, a major role in our construction industry, and the intentions of the Latham and Egan reports are now bearing fruit."

Project manager, large building services engineers, UK

"BIM is a wonderful tool in the right hands but not a substitute for design experience and appropriate, well-founded aesthetic judgement."

Building services engineer, local authority, UK

"Digital transformation, BIM and new technologies are the future and here to stay!"

Architect, large multidisciplinary practice, UK

Within your organisation, have you adopted Building Information Modelling (BIM)?

The proportion using BIM has remained fairly steady for the past four years, after a period of significant growth. Most who have yet to adopt BIM do intend to; however, plans and reality don’t always turn out to be the same, and it can often take longer.

"Clients, contractors and manufacturers all appear to be on different points on the BIM journey. Until we are asked consistently for BIM data we will not fully adopt as default."

Architect, medium practice, UK

BIM adoption over time

What does it mean to adopt BIM?

For just under a third of respondents, it means working with 3D models. BIM is about more than this though – it is about better information management, following an agreed process or standard.

Almost two thirds recognise this: 33% follow the BS / PAS 1192 series (BIM Level 2) and, almost a third, the new international series: ISO 19650. Those based in the UK are more likely to follow a series of standards: 41% follow the BS / PAS 1192 series and 33% follow the ISO 19650 series.

Your organisation's approach to BIM

Thinking about your organisation's overall approach to BIM, which of the following would you say best describes what you do?

  • BIM Level 2: 33%
  • BS EN ISO 19650: 30%
  • 3D Parametric Models: 29%
  • Other: 8%

*Hover over chart for more detail

There are a number of tasks that should be carried out, or documents produced, to align with the BIM process as set out in the ISO 19650 series of standards. The number of respondents involved with these is almost unchanged when compared with 2020.

  • Almost two thirds of professionals have been involved with BIM execution plans.
  • 60% have collaborated using common data environments.
  • At least half have experience with information standards and exchange information requirements.
  • Only 39% mention a detailed responsibility matrix.

Thinking in more detail about BIM, in the last 12 months, which of the following things have you been involved with, in some way, on BIM projects you have worked on?

  • BIM execution plans
  • Common data
  • Information standards
  • Exchange information
  • Information production
    methods & procedures
  • Information protocols
  • Detailed
    responsibility matrix
  • Task information
    delivery plans
  • Master information
    delivery plans
  • None of these
  • Don't know

  • Almost three quarters say that their organisation follows a naming convention for all information that is shared. Almost two thirds clearly indicate what the shared information is for.
  • Only half exchange information in IFC* format and 31% in COBie** format, but this rises to 57% and 39% among those in the UK.
  • 39% classify information using Uniclass 2015; 50% in the UK.

*Industry Foundation Classes **Construction Operations Building information exchange

And, thinking about the projects where you have adopted BIM, which of the following approaches has your organisation adopted with respect to sharing information?

  • 100%
  • 80%
  • 60%
  • 40%
  • 20%
  • 0%
  • Following a naming convention for all information that is shared
    Following a naming convention
  • Clearly indicating what the shared information is suitable for (e.g. for information, for review, as a record)
    Indicating suitability of information
  • Highlighting amended information through the use of revision codes
    Highlighting amended information
  • Exchanging information in IFC format
  • Classifying information using Uniclass 2015
  • Exchanging information in COBie format
  • None of these
  • Don't know

Uniclass 2015 is now the most commonly used classification among survey respondents: double the proportion using the Common Arrangement of Work Sections (CAWS). However, almost as many don’t know what classification is most commonly used on their projects. Use of Uniclass 2015 and Common Arrangement are both higher in the UK, at 50% and 28%, respectively.

What type of classification is most commonly used on the projects that you work on? (Excludes those who answered 'not sure')

Uniclass 2015
Uniclass 1997, including Common Arrangement of Works Sections (CAWS)
Our own in-house classification system
Omniclass including Uniformat and Masterformat
  • UK
  • Outside UK

Just over half say that BIM is the norm for project information in their country. This is higher than in 2020 and 2019.

To what extent do you agree or disagree that BIM is the norm for project information in the country where you are based?

  • Agree

  • Neither agree nor disagree

  • Disagree

"Albeit the design side of the industry is gradually moving to more involved and defined BIM strategies, the translation to construction especially on-site seems a long way off. Significant investment will be required by small sub-contract businesses to accept and actively work from the digital twin etc. All the work creating the Golden Thread for Building Safety and maintenance and operation is useless without the installer working to the design intent in all cases."

Architectural technologist, small practice, UK

The vast majority of information users agree that they need manufacturers to provide them with BIM / digital objects: almost half strongly agree.

"Manufacturers’ input in terms of product information as well as creating and supplying BIM objects is very crucial to digital transformation."

Architectural Technician, medium-sized practice, UK

Next section

Section 2: Digital transformation and adoption of new technologies