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April 23, 2015  

BIM's adoption rate paused over the past year, according to the latest annual NBS survey, with two thirds of those surveyed citing lack of client demand.

After steady year-on-year growth, the number of active BIM adopters has slipped back to 48% from last year's 54%, although there is only another year before the Government is set to mandate Level 2 BIM on public sector projects. Some 44% of consultants responding were architects.

Awareness of BIM is now almost universal at 95%, with a similar proportion expecting to use it within five years.

But the recovery in workloads may have actually slowed the pace of adoption, with half of those surveyed citing a lack of time to get up to speed.

Cost and lack of expertise and training are also seen as major barriers to entry.

A significant minority (43%) consider the projects they work on to be too small to justify BIM, continuing the perception that BIM is only for large-scale projects.

David Philp, head of BIM implementation for the Cabinet Office, suggested that BIM adoption could be following the standard lifecycle for innovation, with the industry's 'Late Majority' still to follow the 'Early Adopters' and innovators.

Referring to the slow uptake by clients, Philp said the results raised the question of how something that is mandated by central government and is likely to spread quickly throughout the public sector can penetrate the consciousness of private sector clients.

Commenting on this year's survey, Adrian Malleson, Head of Research, Analysis & Forecasting at NBS, said: 'There remains a significant number of practices that do not see the advantages of BIM and chose not to adopt and others that are currently unable to adopt BIM, because of time, cost, or expertise.

'However, the direction of travel remains clear - BIM will increasingly become the norm for the design and maintenance of buildings, and its widespread use is central to achieving the Government's construction strategy.'

Earlier this month consultants were inviting to try out the BETA version of the NBS BIM Toolkit that allows design and construction teams to work collaboratively at Level 2 BIM. The freely-available toolkit comprises a new unified classification system and a digital plan of work.

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