Back to Basics & Performance Measurement


Moving through Samways’ piece of research (2015), it becomes apparent that the author provides an insightful reflection upon Building Information Modeling (BIM), qualifying it as a truly complex subject that may be defined differently. Specifically speaking, the aspects that Samways makes an attempt to elucidate are as follows:

  • The perspectives on what BIM means;
  • The ways that organisation’s capability stages are likely to be accurately measured;
  • Key elements of BIM’s capabilities that necessarily need to be measured as well as the factors constituting a higher level of maturity.

Speculating upon the first question, Samways (2015) ascertains that it is important to put an emphasis on several central BIM’s definitions. Significantly, the scholar narrows attention onto a single focus – a strong connection of Building Information Modeling to both BIM capability stages and BIM maturity levels (BIM Task Group, 2013).

Obviously, BIM should be referred to as probably the most common denomination for the revolutionising approach to create innovative design, a comprehensive maintenance program, and reliable construction. Notably, BIM, strongly associated with a new approach for efficient construction projects, has been interpreted from many different angles by a number of organisations and researchers; in other words, there is no a standard definition of Building Information Modeling. Regardless of a variety of definitions, however, BIM’s major concept remains a guiding principle of what this methodology entails.  (Table 1).


Table 1 Various terms used for BIM

Within the AEC Industry, numerous ideas on integrated product model for buildings as well as building product model itself are no longer creating surprise today. The focus here lies in arguing that the contemplation upon a set of new technologies, which would constitute an integrated representation of buildings dates back to the late 1970’s with Charles Eastman as one of its pioneers (Eastman and Siabiris, 1995; Eastman, 1999). It can be said with certainty that the so-called integrated approach was labelled as Building Information Modeling (BIM) by Autodesk employee Phil Bernstein (Wikipedia, 2010). Notwithstanding this, some scholars, including Broquetas (2010), claim that the term can be juxtaposed with BPM (Yessios, 2004), which in turn alludes that it is about Eastman who introduced the term Building Information Modeling.

As previously mentioned, BIM incorporates the multitude of definitions. According to some scholars, for instance, it is imperative to understand this modelling approach within the context of a basis for interacting guiding principles, procedures, and technologies constituting the best building design which embracing the latest digital trends (Succar, 2009). The others usually define BIM weighing heavily on papers by commercial BIM vendors. In particular, Aouad et al. (2006) employed the definition, which rests upon the fact that BIM occurs as “a computer model database of building design information” (Graphisoft 2003, cited in Aouad et al., 2006). Peering deep into what some software vendors state, BIM posits as the tool that fully operates on digital databases for collaboration (Autodesk, 2002).

Sure enough, technology, collaboration and assets are all those aspects that each of the abovementioned BIM’s definitions equally encompasses. What Broquetas (2010) reveals in respect of BIM emerges to be a generally accepted perspective. As per his conceptual analysis, BIM should be seen as a combination of parametric CAD tools and processes necessary to efficiently perform maintenance of collaborative database with great emphasis on such aspects as design, construction and operations of an asset (Broquetas, 2010).

To gain a full understanding of what organisational capability implies, there is a dire need for getting to know the role that capability itself plays in certain organisations. As many widely-acknowledged scholars report, capability represents a modern process learning model that aims to enhance the outcomes. In his article, Hase (2000) describes capable individuals as:

  • Creative;
  • Capable of deepening knowledge;
  • Having a high degree of self-efficacy,
  • Being able to apply competencies in novel as well as familiar conditions;
  • Prone to effectively collaborate with others.

A survey by Cairns and Malloch that centred around seventy-nine people from ten public and private sector organisations delivered surprising findings. To be precise, scholars revealed that developing capable people and competent organisations gravitates towards the implementation of paradigm shifts in the way management, education/training and workplace are arranged.

Samways offers valuable insights on two separate BIM systems – the one tightly related to BIM stages developed by Dr Succar, and the other that pertains to the UK BIM levels. It is worth indicating that both systems intend to improve capability, which in turn would enable organisations to move a higher stage, respectively. While the two systems appear to be strongly interrelated, they cannot be replaced by one another.

Sinking into the final point that Samways discusses in the article, one can easily conclude that Capability Maturity Model CMM serves here as a methodology to primarily rely on. According to Istqbexamcertification.com (2016), CMM forms a basis for measuring the maturity of an organisation’s software process. In addition, it appears to be certain that CMM exemplifies a platform for doing a quick assessment of the enterprise against a generic maturity model scale. Obviously, it helps unearth the maturity of a certain organisation. The demand for advancement at each of five maturity levels comes to directly depend on how an organisation manages to adhere to its standardised processes, in getting functions fulfilled. And the more effort the company puts into integrating new software development process models, the more chances there are to rise to a higher level.


Samways, M. (2015). 2015-16 PDE4302 Operational BIM Management. [Online] Mdx.mrooms.net. Available at: http://mdx.mrooms.net/mod/hsuforum/discuss.php?d=16203  [Accessed 10 Dec. 2016].

Bimtaskgroup.org. (2013). BIM FAQs | BIM Task Group. [Online] Available at http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/bim-faqs/  [Accessed 13 Dec. 2016].

Broquetas, M. (2010). Using BIM as a Project Management Tool. Master Thesis. HfT Stuttgart.

Eastman, C. (1999) Building Product Models: Computer Environments Supporting Design and Construction, CRC Press, Boca Raton FL

Eastman, C. and Siabiris, A. (1995) “A generic building product model incorporating building type information” Automation in Construction. Volume 3, pp. 283-304.

Wikipedia (2010) Building Information Modelling. [online] Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building_Information_Modeling  [Accessed 13 Dec. 2016]

Yessios, C.I. (2004) “Are We Forgetting Design?” AECbytes. [Online] Available at: http://www.aecbytes.com/viewpoint/2004/issue_10.html  [Accessed 13 Dec. 2016]

Succar, B. (2009) “Building information modelling framework: A research and delivery foundation for industry stakeholders”. Automation for Construction. Volume 18, pp. 357-375.

Aouad, G.; Lee, A. and Wu, S. (2006) Constructing the Future: nD Modelling. London, UK and New York, USA: Taylor and Francis.

Hase, S. (2000). Measuring organisational capability: beyond competence. [Online] Epubs.scu.edu.au. Available at: http://epubs.scu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1149&context=gcm_pubs  [Accessed 19 Dec. 2016].

Istqbexamcertification.com. (2016). What is Capability Maturity Model (CMM)? What are CMM Levels?. [Online] Available at: http://istqbexamcertification.com/what-is-cmm-capability-maturity-model-what-are-cmm-levels/  [Accessed 21 Dec. 2016].

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