Most construction professionals tend to think of it as building a 3-D model on a computer, which is accurate on the surface, but we must always remember as with any program, “GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT” . Having directed BIM coordination efforts on a number of large scale projects I can tell you that not all coordination teams are created equal. There is a surprising (alarming?) lack of real world understanding of spatial relationships between the various MEPF elements, the method if installing those elements and the parameters for changing the initial design while maintaining design intent and remaining code compliant. Nearly every large project now has a very specific requirement for BIM coordination with budgets easily reaching 6 figures but not all projects reap the full ROI for the time and money invested by the owner .
A 2011 case study of ROI was published in the Journal Of Information Modeling from the National Institute of Building Sciences found that the average ROI was subject to wide variation and our experience shows that many projects have suffered in the field due to slow progress in the coordination impacting everything from procurement to execution. ROI calculations include factors like reduction in project schedule, errors found and corrected “on paper” before installation (productivity) , improved handover and project close out, fewer change orders, fewer RFI’s and design addenda, faster pricing and more. Recent research notes a correlation between different levels of BIM experience and ROI. High ROI is reported by a majority of high maturity BIM users, yet only by 20% of the low maturity BIM users. The huge cost shifter with BIM is the way we use it to put great tools in the hands of experienced construction professionals who understand the construction process.