1 October 2014

Building Information Modeling Maturity in North America


Since its inception in 1970s, the industry-wide adoption of BIM has dramatically expanded from 28% in 2007, 49% in 2009, to 71% in 2012 in the North America, as reported by McGraw-Hill. Among those projects branded as BIM-capable, some just employ a few copies of software with basic functions; some embrace cutting-edge BIM technologies regardless of actual business process and “underlying capability of their technology” (Smith & Tardif, 2009, p. xvii); others develop a systematic plan to equip experienced staff and advanced infrastructure to internalize BIM into their work flow. It is obvious that the level to which BIM is “explicitly defined, managed”, integrated, and optimized (SEI, 1994, p. 9; Succar, 2012), which referred to BIMM, is different across those projects. The purpose of this report is to reveal a quick fact about the BIMM level of BIM-assisted projects in the North America. This report presents the findings of an industry-wide survey of the implementation and the maturity level of BIM based on 316 BIM users’ direct working experience in the North America.


From March 24, 2013 to May 20, 2013, a total of 2,050 American practitioners were invited to participate in the survey through email. To ensure the quality of the collected data, the survey would skip to the end if the participant indicated no previous experience of BIM-assisted project. Finally, a total of 316 qualified responses from practitioners with BIM-related experience in the USA were received.

                                                                       Figure 1. Percentage of companies by business type

                                                     Figure 2. Percentage of companies that started to use BIM by year range


The first part of the questionnaire collected demographic data and BIM-related experience of the companies for whom the respondents worked. As shown in FIGURE 1, the study sample represented a broad spectrum of business types, with the majority of architects and engineers (A/E) (37.97%) and contractors (24.68%). FIGURE 2 showed that most of the companies (41.1%) started to use BIM between 2005 and 2008; and a significant portion had used BIM for more than nine years (36.71%). 57.28% of the companies were heavy users that used BIM in more than 60% of their projects, while 8.86% of the companies were light users (0<BIM Coverage?15%), as shown in FIGURE 3.

The second part focused on the participants’ position and BIM-related experience. FIGURE 4 showed that around 70% of the participants were directly involved in the development and management of BIM, including 42.72% of model director (Manager/Coordinator/Director of BIM/VDC/CAD) and 25.32% of model designer (Architect/Engineer/Designer/Consultant/Specialist of BIM/VDC/CAD). As indicated by the participants, 72.15% of them had worked with BIM for more than 5 years, and 76.27% had been involved in more than ten BIM-assisted projects. The profile of the participants further confirmed the quality of the response data.

                                                                        Figure 3. Percentage of companies by BIM coverage

                                                                       Figure 4. Percentage of participants by profession


The third part targeted at the profile of BIM-assisted projects that the participants had been involved in. 28.48% of participants indicated that they had been involved in BIM-assisted projects across the USA (FIGURE 5). The South (24.68%) had the highest concentration of BIM-assisted projects, followed by the West (19.30%) and the Midwest (17.41%). Those BIM-assisted projects included various types of buildings, the majority of which fell into the commercial (22.18%), the healthcare (18.55%), the educational (17.52%), the institutional (12.80%), and the residential (9.51%). Although Design-Bid-Build (DBB) (28.61%) was the most widely used delivery method for those BIM-assisted projects, it was interesting to see that 42.54% of project used collaborative delivery method like Design-Build (DB) (26.37%) and Integrated-Project-Delivery (IPD) (16.17%) (Figure 6). In contrast to other BIM-related surveys and studies, it was also interesting to find that there was quite the same percentage of BIM application to projects with different values as shown in FIGURE 7. Autodesk Revit Architecture, Structure, and MEP (33.22%) followed by Autodesk Naviswork (24.9%) were the most widely-used BIM software applications (FIGURE 8). For the contractual revisions attached to regular agreements to address BIM, 30% of participants indicated the modification and inclusion of AIA E202 BIM Protocol and 12.44% for AGC ConsensusDOCS 301.

                                                                                     Figure 5. Project profile by region

                                                                    Figure 6. Percentage of BIM projects by delivery method

                                                                        Figure 7. Percentage of BIM projects by value

                                                                        Figure 8. Percentage of BIM projects by software


The fourth part of the survey investigated the BIMM level of the AEC industry. The respondents were asked to assess the maturity level of 27 BIMM areas on a seven-point Likert scale based on the majority of BIM-assisted projects that they had been involved in, ranging from “1” of the least mature to “7” of the most mature. The 27 BIMM areas cover four dimensions of BIM, including the technology, process, people, and information.

Under the dimension of BIM technology, the maturity levels of interoperability and hardware upgrade were much higher than the areas of hardware equipment and software application (FIGURE 9). One possible explanation is: with the industry-wide increase of BIM adoption, the software and hardware were upgraded and improved dramatically; however, most technology was still limited to basic hardware and software like Revit and Navis.

The areas of information delivery method, information accuracy, data richness, and real-time data were considered as mature (FIGURE 10).It may be due to the maturation and development of technology. The least mature area is geospatial capability, which may be because there is limited awareness and application of BIM’s geospatial capability. The second immature area is graphics, because the application of most BIM-assisted projects was limited to 3D.

The reward system was considered especially immature compared with other six areas under the dimension of people (FIGURE 11). The immaturity of reward system might be due to the difficulty to isolate the contribution of each stakeholder, since the composite BIM model is a collaborative effort among stakeholders. The maturity of the management and leadership of BIM-related professionals may be because most companies had a least five-year experience of using BIM.

For the process dimension, the most mature areas include specification (5.68), documentation and modeling standard (5.45), standard operation procedure (5.34), and quality control (5.27) (FIGURE 12). Three reasons may account for this result. First, with the population of BIM, there are many industry and academic efforts towards BIM regulation and standard. Second, the current AEC industry practice may be used to address BIM-related issues. Last but not least, the standardization within a trade or a company matured during these years. Life cycle process and work flow were the considered the least mature BIMM areas. It might be due to the old hostile relationship among stakeholders and fragmented nature of delivery process.

                                                                         Figure 9. Maturity level of BIM technology

                                                                         Figure 10. Maturity level of BIM information

                                                                         Figure 11. Maturity level of BIM people

                                                                         Figure 12. Maturity level of BIM process

The participants were asked to indicate the overall BIMM level of the majority of BIM-assisted projects in which they had been involved, considering all previous areas. The average BIMM level across the industry is 4.71, which is more than 4 (Neither mature nor immature) and 5 (Somewhat mature) (FIGURE 13). The group of contractor reported the highest BIMM level of BIM-assisted projects that they had been involved in, followed by the group of A/E and the group of owner. The BIM-assisted projects, which involved the group of consultant, were rated with the lowest BIMM level of 4.18.

                                                                         Figure 13. BIMM level of key players


The industry level of BIMM in the North American is between neutral and somewhat mature. There are various levels of BIMM by industry players. It implied that contractors currently leaded the BIM efforts in the industry and were the most mature users/managers of BIM, followed by A/E and owners. It may because contractors can reap more tangible benefits from BIM. The software vendor ranked as the fourth mature BIM users, whose BIMM was less than the industry average. It may be due to the focus on BIM technology and information by this group. The second most immature BIM user was subcontractor. Compared with contractors, most subcontractors are smaller companies; they may have more concern for the cost impact and process change for BIM implementation. In addition, the subcontractor may see less benefit of BIM. Consultants reported the lowest level of BIMM. The BIM work outsourced to outside BIM consultant may be limited to technology and information, which are just two dimensions of BIMM.

This report is part of Dr. Yunfeng Chen’s dissertation on measurement metrics of BIMM along multivariate analysis based on data collected from 745 global BIM-related professionals.

BIM Journal would like to thank Yunfeng Chen, Dib Hazar, Robert F. Cox, Mark Shaurette, and Mihaela Vorvoreanu for their contributions to the article. For more information please contact newsdesk@thebimhub.com.


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