The impact of building information modelling (BIM) on professional roles, relationships and skills in the architecture/engineering/construction industry
Citation:Davies, K. (2014). The impact of building information modelling (BIM) on professional roles, relationships and skills in the architecture / engineering / construction industry. Proceedings of the 4th New Zealand Built Environment Research Symposium (NZBERS) (pp. 1-5).
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/4199
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a relatively new approach for improving construction productivity and performance. Research in BIM has commonly focused on technical implementations and process change; little work to date has addressed the impact on and changes required of practitioners involved. The aim of this project is to explore how BIM implementation influences the roles and relationships of industry participants, in relation to new roles created as a result of BIM, and adjustments made to existing roles which occur with BIM adoption. By understanding how BIM affects industry participants, this research can offer guidance for companies establishing a BIM environment either through recruitment or training, or for individuals interested in a career in a BIMactive role. It can also provide recommendations for educators as to what curriculum development is required to fill BIM role/skill gaps, and highlight best practice around roles and relationships that will help facilitate more effective use of the technology and process solutions that BIM offers. These objectives are addressed using a comparison of BIM environments in NZ/Australia, UK, and US, with a two pronged research approach in each region. New BIM roles are examined through a survey of individuals with a formal job description involving BIM (eg BIM manager, BIM coordinator) or acting as a BIM leader in their company. In parallel, case studies of BIM-mediated projects are used to explore the impact of BIM on practitioners with 'traditional' project roles (eg project manager, project architect), who do not have a specific BIM focus but who are working within a BIM project framework. Currently the majority of the New Zealand and Australia data have been collected. The project analysis for both strands uses a grounded theory approach. A qualitative software programme, NVivo was used to help in organizing and coding data. Findings from the study to date suggest that BIM adoption in NZ/Australia is occurring in a highly hybridised process, rather than through a distinct transition as predicted by many proponents. Roles are evolving slowly as teams form and reform on different projects. Cross-pollination of ideas and experiences has a significant impact on how relationships change around BIM, and the development process is very dependent on individuals who may be champions or dampeners of change. Some companies that are considered BIM-active appear to be heavily reliant on the guidance and cohesion provided by single person. This suggests a fragility in the process that the industry may need to overcome. There is a high degree of uncertainty regarding what processes actually constitute BIM use. Pockets of innovation and activity exist that are not disseminated and transferred, both as a result of this ambiguity and because of fears around loss of commercial advantage and intellectual property issues.