01 March 2017

What is the NBS National BIM Survey?

Over the last seven years the NBS National BIM Survey (and the resulting NBS National BIM Report) has become an essential resource for construction professionals and policy makers alike.

The findings help the team at NBS develop the tools and services the construction industry needs to rise to the challenges of digital construction and are widely used to assess BIM progress in the UK.

Because the survey contains a consistent set of core questions we're able to chart BIM trends year-on-year. This allows us to gauge how much progress has been made and pinpoint the areas forging ahead as well as those where full potential is yet to be realised.

Who took part?

As ever we were seeking views from the most ardent BIM evangelist to the most hardened sceptic, as well as the indifferent and the bemused.

When will the results be published?

The 2017 survey closed on Tuesday 28 February and we will make the report of findings freely available on theNBS.com in May 2017. We will issue a pre-release report to participants, so if you responded, you'll be among the first to see the findings.

Key trends we're watching in the 2017 survey

Back in 2011, BIM was very much a minority way of working. In 2011, 43% of respondents were unaware of BIM, and only 13% were using it. At the time, there were questions about whether BIM would ‘catch on’, whether it was just 3D CAD, and whether BIM would really bring improvements to the design process.

Since then NBS have measured the rise in BIM adoption across the UK; the last report showed a majority, 54%, using BIM on their projects. And, for those using BIM, the benefits was shown to be real – whether in cost efficiencies, client outcomes, or information co-ordination.

BIM adoption in the UK has become globally significant as other countries have followed the UK's lead as an early adopter of BIM. 2016 saw the implementation of the UK’s BIM mandate with the UK Government now requiring the use of BIM on all centrally-funded projects. Governments across the world are now looking to the UK to assess the mandate’s success and so inform their own BIM strategies.

Our 2017 study will be the first comprehensive assessment of the mandate’s success for the design community. It will also assess the likely effect emerging digital technologies will have on our industry.

Here we present five areas we're keeping a particularly close eye on as we analyse your responses...

1. Has the Government BIM mandate been a 'success' and what does ‘success’ mean?

The government's commitment to digital construction saw the industry fixate on BIM-readiness in 2016. Has the deadline helped spur the construction industry into action and realise new efficiencies through digital collaboration or is there still work to do? How has the deadline influenced your own plans for BIM implementation? Which areas of the supply chain are BIM-ready and which are lagging behind? When working on public sector contracts what have been the pros and cons of these new BIM requirements? Last year's survey found evidence of the mandate influencing work in the private sector, not just the public - it'll be interesting to see how the mandate's influence continues to be felt across the industry in this year's responses.

2. Is the Government BIM mandate being enforced?

We're interested in your experiences working on public sector projects now that the Level 2 BIM mandate has come into effect. Are clients insisting on BIM deliverables or is there still evidence of more traditional outputs and working methods? Construction is a team 'sport' and we're interested to know your experience in working alongside other disciplines and contractors in understanding and meeting BIM requirements. How BIMmy is your BIM? To what extent is the mandate being enforced?

3. Is BIM adoption bringing financial benefits to design firms?

The potential of BIM to realise new efficiencies by removing duplication of effort and delivering better project outcomes have been long espoused. In transitional times though, what is the reality? Is there still double doing? Is the investment in new software, people and process yet to fully be felt on the bottom line? Are clients increasingly calling for a BIM approach and are your successful BIM projects leading to repeat business and new enquiries? We're keen to find out more about the BIM benefits you're experiencing and those you're yet to realise.

4. To what extent have BIM adoption rates increased through 2016?

Has the race to the mandate seen a plateau in BIM adoption as the early adoptors give way to a more mainstream crowd? Or has the mandate seen the delivery of more BIM projects prompting the laggards to up their game and clients to become more aware of the potential of BIM? We'll be crunching the numbers to get a feel for the pace of the digital construction revolution now the mandate has come into effect.

5. What future technologies will affect the construction industry?

Science fiction is starting to become science fact. Drones. Robots. Virtual reality. Connected data. The traditional roles and disciplines are starting to blur as we move to a world of 4D and 5D analysis. As BIM becomes business as usual, teams that were established to introduce or implement BIM are increasingly moving into design or manufacture. Laser scanning and point clouds bring new accuracy and efficiency to construction. 3D> printing means we're approaching the point where components can just be printed onsite rather than shipped. The Digital Built Britain initiative and the move towards codifying Level 3 BIM will see us living in increasingly intelligent smart cities. We're interested in your thoughts on the technologies that will make a real difference and those that could just be a 'flash in the pan'.