How Building Information Modeling contributes to the Global Economy


The Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry is playing a significant role in the global economy. In the UK "The construction sector contributes almost £90bn to the UK economy (6.7% of the total), and its value comprises of 280,000 firms employing 2.93 million people" (Construction Industry Council (CIC), 2014). In the USA the value of construction industry is “$71.9bn (4% of the total)” (Statista, 2014). While China was the largest construction market worldwide in 2013 with total construction spending amounting to 1.78 trillion U.S. dollars (Statista, 2016).

BIM adoption in the AEC global economy

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is delivering AEC to the global economy, sharing in many opportunities as well as challenges. Increasingly, project teams will consist of consultants from around the world as firms strive for projects and resources with global competitors.

Overall, BIM has witnessed positive adoption in China, the USA, Europe and Australia. In UAE’s BIMcrunch (2015) stated that “economy could be better off by using BIM as much as $510bn (a 1020% saving on construction projects) and have a digitally empowered sustainable infrastructure and environment.” This tends to portray the overwhelming impression and benefit of BIM in the construction industry. According to Camps (2008), the initial estimated savings to UK construction and its clients is £2bn through the widespread adoption of BIM and is, therefore, a significant tool for Government to reach its target of 15-20% savings on the costs of capital projects by 2015.

“Economists have estimated that the UK market for BIM related services will be an annual £30bn by 2020 in a global context.” (Construction Industry Council (CIC), 2014).


Graham Watts, OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Construction Industry Council says “BIM will integrate the construction process and, therefore, the construction industry. However, it will also have many additional benefits for the nation. It will enable intelligent decisions about construction methodology, safer working arrangements, greater energy efficiency leading to carbon reductions and a critical focus on the whole life performance of facilities (or assets)”. Watts points out that the benefits for the economy that will accrue from better buildings and infrastructure delivered by the construction industry would be of even greater importance. Threats in implementing BIM

The major threat to implementing BIM’s in the AEC industry is interoperability and educators of BIM technology need to be aware of this and strive instead to support open standards. Interoperability is a man-made problem and one that the industry can no longer afford to tolerate. (The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 2012) Report on Interoperability shocked the industry when it stated that interoperability alone was responsible for $15.8 billion in waste in the U.S. Capital Facilities Market, which if extended worldwide, represented some $60 billion of waste. The AEC industry needs open standards such as the Industry Foundation Class (IFC), otherwise file exchanges will become vendor specific, or poor performing, causing data loss and rework and preventing the industry from harnessing the full potential of BIM.

Educational environments are still focused on the professional institution’s needs and requirements, rather than the product/asset outcomes or processes involved in digital transactions.

Globalization is happening in the world, and it is just a matter of time before it hits the AEC. Unhappily, while our current low- tech process keeps us insulated from globalization, it also keeps us out of global markets.

Modern AEC entails diverse international projects, international project teams, off- site manufacturing, construction assembly, and shorter-than-ever floor cycles which call for revolutionizing the entire teaching and practice of the industry. For survival in the global economy, it cannot be afforded to continue with the same old methods in AEC, and drastic change in this area is imperative.

(CIC, 2014) Is concerned with the advancement in technology and the pace of dissemination of related knowledge across the economy. Compared to more advanced industries, construction has the propensity of lagging behind. Coupled with this drawback, there is little investment in innovation, both at the academic and professional levels. CIC is concerned about the slow pace of adapting to the needs of an advanced industry and getting over with the ever increasing changes.

In your opinion what other BIM implementation threats could affect in the economic and slow down the process? Alternatively, how could we overpass this hurdles?


  1. BIMcrunch (2015) Money saving with BIM: ‘The UAE’s economy could be better off by as much as $5-10bn’. Available at: http://bimcrunch.com/2015/08/money-saving-with-bim-the-uaes-economy-could-be-better-off-by-as-much-as-5-10bn/  (Accessed: 14 July 2016).
  2. Camps, H. (2008) ‘BIM, Education and the Global Economy’, Journal of Building Information Modeling, pp. 33–37.
  3. CIB (2013) The Economics of BIM and Added Value of BIM to the Construction Sector and Society. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/274310089_The_Economics_of_BIM_and_added_Value_of_BIM_to_Construction_Sector_and_Society  (Accessed: 13 July 2016).
  4. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2012) Industrial strategy: government and industry in partnership Building information Modelling. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/34710/12-1327-building-information-modelling.pdf  (Accessed: 14 July 2016).
  5. Statista (2014) Construction industry - statistics & facts. Available at: http://www.statista.com/topics/974/construction/  (Accessed: 24 July 2016).
  6. Statista (2016) Value added in the Chinese construction industry from 2006 to 2015 (in billion yuan). Available at: http://www.statista.com/statistics/278211/added-value-in-the-chinese-construction-industry/  (Accessed: 24 July 2016).

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