Modelling the costs of corporate implementation of building information modelling
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Purpose – The popularity of Building Information Modelling (BIM) has improved tremendously inrecent years. The business sense it makes to construction small to medium-sized (SME) organizationshas also become vitally important, especially when the deliverables of BIM potentials are becomingmore explicit than they were several years ago. Moreover, there is adequate evidence to suggest thatan early adoption of BIM by construction SME organizations could mean marked sustainable businessadvantage to them. The purpose of this paper is to initiate a long-term study on how BIM triggersmarket improvements in the Australian construction industry, to establish the specific impact of theseon construction industry’s contribution to Australian economy, also to develop a simple model on thecost of implementing BIM in a typical construction SME.Design/methodology/approach – This research relies on evidence from literature to identifydifferent operational models of construction organizations, namely; matrix, divisional, functional andnetworked business models. A definite approach was taken to articulate some contributory conceptsand rationales which drive organizational response to technological changes across the identified fourcategories of organization structure models. Focus group discussion was the primary research methodfor this study, while additional data were collected from public sources. Respondents and data weresourced from two firms selected from each type of organization model. In the end, 24 industrypractitioners from a range of Australian construction SME businesses that provide software andtechnical support services, consultancy and contracting services took part in the study.Findings – Analysis of 32 sample cases revealed that BIM implementation costs were mostly definedby a range of cost variables, including software acquisition and technical support, hardware, training,services and implementation contingencies. On the average, software costs accounted for about55 percent of total implementation costs. This particular cost descriptor was about five to seven timesmore than the cost of hardware (depending on the level of sophistication of operations, expectedimplementation outcomes and whether new hardware were used or existing installation wereupgraded with BIM compliant drivers). The study also found that training cost was a third of softwarecosts, while the average total cost of services, recruitment and contingencies, all added together, wasabout 5 percent of total implementation costs. In the end, a linear model was developed to predict thecost of BIM implementation in construction SMEs.Originality/value – A preliminary version of this study has been presented in the 2010 edition of theInternational Conference on Information Technology in Construction (CIB W078). As a study in a newdirection, it focuses on specific organization models and their unique responses to drivers of change.While other studies have looked into macro implementation of BIM, mostly without considering thepeculiarity and dynamics of organization structure, this study has focused on construction SMEbusinesses offering a wide range of services.
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