Building Information Modelling (BIM) brings together various information about a building project into a centralised and more accessible format. This can easily be shared with other team members and planners. From a project management perspective, it allows for more collaborative decision making. This is because everyone involved can review building designs at various points during the project life cycle.
Despite the many benefits that BIM offers when it comes to streamlining the project management process, there are still barriers in place. These barriers hinder the widespread implementation of BIM, which differs from classic project management in that it is more focused on data exchange.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common barriers, from the perspectives of both processes and people.
5 Most Common Barriers In BIM Implementation For Project Management
1. Legal Processes
There has been some concern regarding BIM from a legal perspective. This is because with so many people collaborating on a project and sharing and updating data during various stages of the project life cycle, lines can become blurred when it comes to taking legal responsibility for something going wrong.
However, there are many that challenge this view, as BIM itself doesn’t create the problem. In fact, some might say that the real challenge here is creating standardised procedures and protocols for everyone involved in a project. This would need to happen regardless of what project management system a team uses.
What this concern does highlight is that certain standards need to be put in place for varying levels of BIM compliance. Thus, it is important to put legal frameworks in place to make sure that all protocols and limitations are clear and that data can easily be shared with various stakeholders.
2. Resistance to Change
BIM is a relatively new addition to the industry - despite its use on many public projects. Thus, there is still a lot of resistance to its uptake. Many people are also used to carrying out projects without having to learn a new approach to project management, which takes time.
However, this is the case with any kind of new way of thinking. There will always be those who will stick to what they know rather than take a risk or invest the time into learning a new way of approaching a project.
Thus, as with any kind of collaborative system, it is important to phase the implementation of BIM into the workplace. This approach will help to ease the transition when adopting new processes and building a new culture of data sharing. This will also aid in onboarding all team members involved in the project management process (even those who are resistant to anything new).
3. Challenges with Interoperability
As with any kind of collaborative process, technical functionality needs to grow and evolve as the needs of its users shift and change. This is especially the case when it comes to data sharing. Some complain that BIM lacks interoperability. Files can’t always be shared between different operating systems and users, which can hinder the uptake of BIM.
Once again, this is typical for any kind of collaborative system focused on data exchange, as a common language is needed for different BIM models to be shared across applications.
For this reason, the Industry Foundation Class (IFC) standard has been developed. It is an open standard that allows for more effective communication between stakeholders using various official file formats.
Read more about How does IFC work
4. Financial Barriers
Introducing a new way of working and collaborating always involves a financial investment - no matter the size of the project. When it comes to implementing a BIM approach to project management specifically, it is necessary to invest resources into educating staff and paying a higher fee for planners.
However, many argue that these investments pay off in the long run. This collaborative way of working allows for more efficient planning and project management - especially when it comes to construction and operations. The challenge here is getting people to make the initial investment and to use BIM long enough to reap the benefits.
Of course, making any kind of investment into a different planning and project management system requires consideration. But, the truth is that while many people might see the upfront costs as a problem, they could be left behind if they do not adapt.
Therefore, it is important to keep up with a changing industry and shifting client demands. This is regardless of the fact that many people cite a lack of client demand as another barrier to BIM implementation.
5. Lack of In-House Expertise
From a project management perspective, the rollout of certain processes requires dedicated team members. These team members need to focus on performing specific tasks within given timeframes.
For many businesses, one of the barriers to not using BIM has been said to be due to a lack of in-house expertise and lack of knowledge and skill in good project management practices. This means that some businesses feel like they cannot take on this approach without a dedicated BIM team or person.
While this might be problematic for smaller teams, the truth is that dealing with clients and different stakeholders always requires some level of negotiation and collaboration. In fact, using BIM can actually make the entire project management process a lot easier. This is because it allows for greater access to shared information, which can assist in better decision making.
It is all about the Return On Investment (ROI) at the end of the day. As such, businesses need to weigh the costs of training or hiring dedicated team members against the long-term results of BIM implementation.
BIM is a process that focuses on data exchange between various project management stakeholders so that they can work together more effectively.
In the article above, we’ve outlined some of the main barriers in BIM implementation. This can hopefully provide some insight into the challenges faced by those in the real estate industry, especially those who work in project management, from the perspective of both processes and people.