- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 04 Sep 2017
The transformative power of BIM
With annual revenues of nearly $10 trillion, or about 6% of global GDP, the engineering and construction (E&C) industry is a cornerstone of the world’s economy. It serves almost all other industries, much of whose value creation involves buildings, infrastructure facilities, and other 'constructed assets'.
Yet, unlike other industries, E&C has been slow to adopt new technologies and has never undergone a major transformation. Consider, for example, the opportunity offered by lean process methodologies—take-up has been limited, and many companies that have adopted them have failed to apply them wholeheartedly.
In addition, construction firms now find themselves struggling to cope with ever-larger and more complex 'megaprojects', particularly in infrastructure. As a result of these setbacks and challenges, the construction industry has registered disappointing efficiency gains, and its growth in labour productivity continues to lag far behind that of other industries.
Substantial change is on the way, however, driven by digitalisation: the development and deployment of digital technologies and processes. Construction will soon be characterised by connected systems of sensors, intelligent machines, mobile devices, and new software applications—all integrated on a central platform of building information modeling (BIM).
Other industries, such as the automotive industry, underwent radical process changes earlier and are now well into their digital transformation. In E&C, digitalisation is just beginning. Given the sector’s vast size, however, even small improvements will translate into substantial benefits for companies and for society.
Within ten years, according to our estimates, full-scale digitalisation in non-residential construction will lead to annual global cost savings of $0.7 trillion to $1.2 trillion (13% to 21%) in the engineering and construction phases, and $0.3 trillion to $0.5 trillion (10% to 17%) in the operations phase.
Digitalisation will change the game fundamentally in E&C, not only enabling efficiency and quality gains along the value chain but also reshuffling the competitive league table of companies and countries.
This article was written by Philipp Gerbert, Santiago Castagnino, Christoph Rothballer, Andreas Renz, and Rainer Filitz.
--Future of Construction 15:22, 16 Jun 2017 (BST)
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Achieving sustainable roads funding in England.
Your chance to comment on the draft BS 851188 - flood resistance products and flood protection products.
Rebuilding could take 20 to 40 years.
RSHP’s high-rise residential towers win a tall buildings award for excellence.
BSRIA study reveals strong growth in 2018.
Dame Judith Hackitt confirmed as keynote speaker – one year on from the Hackitt Report.
Save £100 on tickets.
Modern slavery in the construction sector.
What to bear in mind when claiming damages in construction.
How do we achieve sustainable clean-water infrastructure for all?
What you should know when appointing an architect.
A brief history plus some new developments.
How computational fluid dynamics (CFD) helps building design.