Last year, after a decade of carrying out the BIM survey, we expanded its scope and relaunched it as the Digital Construction report (still incorporating key questions about BIM). Over 900 construction professionals gave their views. Here we pick out ten highlights, which we believe will continue to be relevant in 2022.
1. Digital ways of working are helping to address industry and societal challenge
80% agree that digital is helping to create better buildings and places (42% strongly agree); 75% that it is having a positive impact on environmental sustainability (38% strongly agree); and 75% that it is helping to create a safer built environment (37% strongly agree).
2. Digital ways of working are needed to enable the Golden Thread of information
78% say they need to be working digitally to realise it; 70% implementing BIM. Fewer are clear about how they will manage information to play their part; but still over half (51%).
3. The Coronavirus pandemic has led to an acceleration of the adoption of digital technologies and changes in where we work
69% agree. 58% expect to split their time between their home and the office / factory / on-site over the next five years. This rises to 62% among those in the UK.
4. Many perceive that their governments could do more to lead the industry in terms of digital construction
37% believe the government in their country is leading but 30% disagree. Although the number disagreeing is lower in the UK: 24%.
5. On the whole, younger professionals appear more positive about the benefits of digital construction
Trends in the data suggest that younger professionals and those from larger organisations are more likely to believe that digital tech and ways of working help to enable positive outcomes. They are also more likely to agree that digital and BIM are required to enable the Golden Thread of information.
6. The industry really is in a period of digital transformation
92% of respondents say they are on a digital transformation journey or even have reached their destination. Only 8% haven’t started. UK respondents were often further along the journey than those from other countries. Consultants were more likely to be at an advanced stage of the journey than clients, constructors or suppliers.
7. Cloud computing has been embraced by the industry
69%(77% excluding those who are not sure) say their organisation uses cloud computing. Use is higher again in the UK (82%) and among large organisations (84%). Online office applications, like Microsoft Office 365, common data environments, such as Autodesk Construction Cloud or Viewpoint, and software like NBS Chorus, are now commonplace. Indeed, 60% of those implementing BIM say that common data environments are used on their projects. Understanding of the definitions of technology, like cloud computing, remains inconsistent, with some being unsure whether they are using it.
8. Early days for digital twins but people believe it will be significant
Only 14% (16% excluding those who are not sure) say they have been part of a project that used a digital twin. But the industry sees digital twins being more significant in terms of their potential to transform the built environment for the better, than immersive technologies (virtual, augmented and mixed reality).
9. The majority (71%) say they have adopted BIM – similar to the last few yearsThe figure is higher among architectural practices (81%). The emphasis in people’s perceptions of BIM is moving away from the use of 3D modelling software to ‘better information management’: 63% describe their approach to BIM as following a set of standards (BS / PAS 1192 or ISO 19650). However, only half (51%) agree that BIM is the norm in their country. For instance, adoption remains lower for small organisations (55%).
10. Uniclass used more than other classifications in the UK
50% of UK respondents say that Uniclass is most commonly used on their projects, compared to only 28% for the Common Arrangement of Work Sections (CAWS). This aligns with BIM being embedded in the industry, as Uniclass is the recommended classification in the ISO 19650 series of standards.