Quantifying the benefits of BIM

Quantifying the benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) can be difficult. Through our recent work for the UK Government, we developed our BIM Benefits Measurement Methodology, and applied it to two real-life projects.

The BIM Benefits Measurement Methodology (BMM) was applied to two public sector projects - one real estate, one infrastructure - and through a series of workshops with the project teams, we estimated the benefits of BIM realised on the completed projects.

The savings were quantified and are summarised in the chart below, showing the savings made; the types of benefit that generated the savings; and how the savings were distributed across the project lifecycle.

While the use of BIM is commonly focussed during the design and construction phases, as the chart below shows, over 70% of the benefit value occurred during the operation phase.

Our analysis found that BIM generated savings equivalent to 2% and 3% of the whole-life cost of the respective projects. We believe that this is a lower bound estimate because:

  • More benefits were identified, but there was insufficient data to quantify them, and
  • We applied the BMM to assess project level benefits and did not include benefits at a programme or organisation level, which can be significant.

Furthermore, as the application of BIM becomes more pervasive, through organisations and the wider industry, the benefits that can be realised can be much greater. For example, by understanding the projects within their portfolio, organisations can aggregate their material demands and digitise procurement activity through category management to drive economies of scale across their business. Extending this across the construction industry could disrupt traditional business models and generate much greater benefits to society.

While the scale of the benefits may seem low, even the lower bound is significant when compared to the typical margins for UK contractors of 1-2%. When applied to the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, it could generate benefits to the economy of around £430m per year, which is significant.

The application of BIM can generate benefits at each each stage of the project lifecycle. With this range of uses, organisations need to need to focus their application of BIM in a way that generates maximum benefit to boost the return on their investment and realise this in incremental steps. While we have quantified the immediate, project-level benefits to using BIM, these understate the overall benefits to organisations.

BIM should also be seen as a key enabler of digitisation across the built environment and improvements in all of the associated design, construction and operation processes. If organisations understand their business processes, they can design and implement strategies to realise further benefits from improving those processes by using BIM data. Our benefits framework helps provide organisations with a unique tool to support them in pursuing a true value-focussed approach to BIM and realise overall greater benefits.

Our BIM benefits framework

The diagram below is a simplified representation of the benefits framework that underpins the BIM Benefits Measurement Methodology. It illustrates how we link the uses of BIM (BIM enablers) through to eight categories of benefit that can be achieved through the use of BIM.

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Andrew Walker

Capital Project Services: Digital Built Environment, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7808 798 716

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