Which country leads the world in BIM adoption? Is it Singapore, the UK or the US? Maybe it is Australia or one of the Scandinavian team?
For the busy professional, this topic is irrelevant…That is, why should we care which country is BIM-mature, BIM-maturing or BIM-infant1? BIM is not a national sport, and any worthwhile developments in one country will eventually cross the digital border into others…True2? But for BIM assessors, researchers and policy-makers, identifying the BIM maturity of countries is actually very useful. If done properly, a country’s BIM maturity highlights what has been achieved, what is still lacking, and what can be learned from others.
But how do we measure the BIM maturity of countries? Do we rely on the personal views of public figures positioning their country as a global BIM leader; do we trust the sales’ figures of software developers comparing adoption rates between countries; or do we swallow the pie charts of commercially-driven industry surveys?
These questions – which should be answered with no3, not really4 and maybe5 respectively- has encouraged Associate Professor Mohamad Kassem6 and I to invest some collaborative effort in investigating this topic. While much work still needs to be done, we’ve identified two sets of metrics to test. The first set focuses on assessing the type of BIM knowledge published by different countries, while the second assesses the availability/type of BIM education on offer within each country.
To instigate a discussion with like-minded professionals, we’ll be presenting these metrics at a number of industry forums in 2013 and 2014. Also, to invite collaboration with other researchers (from both industry and academia), we’ll be publishing a number of academic articles to clarify the proposed metrics and allow others to scrutinize/improve them. The first article to be published7 is titled “A proposed approach to comparing the BIM maturity of countries”. It covers the first set of metrics dealing with BIM knowledge types – please read its abstract below or download the full paper from here:
Abstract: “BIM concepts and tools have now proliferated across the construction industry. This is evidenced by the comparative results of BIM adoption rates reported through a number of industry surveys. However these surveys typically cover a small number of industry stakeholders; are intended to establish adoption rates by organizations rather than markets; and are unsupported by theoretical frameworks to guide data collection and analysis. Based on a published theoretical framework, this paper proposes three metrics to augment survey data and help establish the overall BIM maturity of countries. These metrics apply to noteworthy BIM publications (NBP)s and assess their BIM knowledge content (BKC). NBPs are publically-available industry documents intended to facilitate BIM adoption; while BKCs are specialized labels (e.g. report, manual, and contract) used to describe NBP contents. The three metrics – NBP availability, NBP content distribution, and NBP relevance - are applied in assessing the knowledge deliverables of three countries – United States, United Kingdom and Australia - chosen for their similar construction culture and active BIM scene. The paper then discusses how these complementary metrics can inform policy development and identify market-wide knowledge gaps.”
To validate the first set of BIM maturity metrics, we’ll soon start collecting data through the BIM Excellence platform. If you’re interested in participating in this research or suggesting new metrics, please add a comment below or email me personally by clicking here.
 This term is adapted from the work of Jayasena and Weddikkara (Assessing the BIM Maturity in a BIM Infant Industry PDF 232KB) who argue that Richard-Bew’s BIM Maturity Levels and Succar’s BIM Maturity Stages are both inadequate for measuring the maturity of ‘infant BIM’ countries. I disagree with this assessment but I’ll leave that to a later post.
 Actually not true…An increase in BIM maturity in one organization or country may lead to the development of solutions very specific to that organization or country.
 The opinions of public figures (and subject matter experts) are valuable until they contradict each other - which they do!
 Sales’ figures are not a reliable measure of software use due to the commercial interests of software companies and the proliferation of pirated software in some countries.
 The reliability of industry surveys depends on the methodology used to collect and analyse data.
 Technology Futures Institute, Teesside University, Middleborough, UK email: [email protected]