Infrastructure 2011 – Report – Ernst/Young – Urban Land Institute

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Report reivews infrastructure policy and initiatives in the United States and around the world, examines future trends, and recommends approaches for infrastructure investment strategies to help enable long-term regional growth and prosperity. The report is based on interviews with infrastructure experts, plus information gathered at infrastructure forums and up-to-date research.


“Over the years, ULI/E&Y reports have flagged the problems posed by outmoded U.S. infrastructure and proposed a host of multifaceted solutions based on global experience and local success.

Canada and Australia have leapfrogged the United States in confronting aging and crumbling networks, as well as employing public/private partnerships. In 2011, U.S. policy makers, led by President Obama, certainly appear more aware of the infrastructure issues documented in previous reports. But doubts abound over whether they can take meaningful near-term action while stanching government budget shortfalls and reducing debt. Despite new hurdles and lost time, the opportunity still exists tomake some progress. But government leaders, the business community, and the public at large must gain consensus for concentrating resources on projects that make the most sense for ensuring the nation’s future economic success and global competitiveness.”




America Struggles

In contrast with its global competition, the United States is lurching along a problematic course—potentially losing additional ground. After more than 30 years of conspicuously underfunding infrastructure and faced with large budget deficits, increasing numbers of national and local leaders have come to recognize and discuss how to deal with evident problems. But a politically fractured government has mustered little appetite to confront the daunting challenges, which include finding an estimated $2 trillion just to rebuild deteriorating networks. Operating beyond their planned life cycles, these systems include roads, bridges, water lines, sewage treatment plants, and dams serving the nation’s primary economic centers.

Despite the nation’s unemployment woes, the vast job-creation potential of infrastructure projects is being sidetracked by concerns about government spending appetites and potential cost overruns. Related benefits from reducing carbon footprints—energy efficiencies and greater independence from problematic foreign energy sources—are also failing to gain much traction.

In 2011, “the U.S. effectively shrugs off infrastructure” in the face of escalating government deficits and cash-strapped taxpayers. Despite a welcome wave of political rhetoric about its importance to the country’s economic future and related worries about falling behind global challengers, a proactive U.S. infrastructure agenda remains buried underneath a long list of other budget imperatives—health care, Social Security, defense, public safety, and education, as well as the need to service the swelling government debt. No matter how desirable, ongoing investment in systems to keep the country competitive and functioning easily can get cast aside in the rush to plug budget leaks.


The National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission estimates that the annual gap between transportation needs and current investment by all levels of government ranges from $172 billion to maintain  existing transportation infrastructure to $214 billion to improve  system performance.


The American Society of Civil Engineers  estimates that investment of $2.2 trillion over five years is needed to maintain and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure. For transportation, the projected need was $930 billion over five years, or $186 billion per year.


The Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia estimates that an additional $134 billion to $262 billion must be spent per year through 2035 to rebuild and improve the nation’s road, rail, and air transportation systems.



The following is how the process could evolve during the next decade, given current fiscal predicaments and growing needs.


 As federal stimulus runs dry and states hold the line on tax increases, their only choice for balancing budgets will be slashing these costs. “The economic slowdown ironically may have bought more time—reducing volume of traffic on roads. But in recovery, increasing stress on aging systems will take a greater toll.


 The drumbeat will grow louder from governors, who will demand more federal funding for basic repair and maintenance.




Future transportation authorizations and appropriations bills could shift funding from new projects to fix-it-first initiatives but fall far short of meeting overall needs.


Focus funding on the most viable projects with achievable economic benefits and scotch others—a responsible model for overall infrastructure expenditures. For the immediate future, the lion’s share of transportation dollars still get dispersed to states via formulas without regard to effectiveness or performance.







2007 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey – CBECS – Data Issues!


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Lack of Updated Commercial Building Energy Data Troubles Institute

May 03 2011
The National Institute of Building Sciences is alarmed that efforts to produce high-performance buildings may stall without up-to-date data following the news that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will not be releasing results of its 2007 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) due to statistical issues.
The Institute is also troubled because EIA is suspending work on its 2011 survey due to budget constraints, which means the last reliable data, from the 2003 survey, is nearly a decade old.

“The building industry relies on the availability of benchmark data and metrics from the CBECS to set goals and evaluate progress,” said Institute President Henry L. Green, Hon. AIA. “The nation is in the midst of a fundamental shift toward high-performance buildings. The significant gap of reliable data from the EIA is extremely troubling at a time when the building community is thirsting for quantifiable statistics to show their actions to save energy are working.”

Many efforts within the building community rely on the CBECS statistics, in particular the EnergyStar program. EnergyStar, which is overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, uses CBECS data to establish its energy use benchmarks for buildings. Both the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) and the Green Building Initiative’s GreenGlobes tools reference EnergyStar as a baseline and some jurisdictions, such as Washington, D.C. and New York City, require disclosure of a building’s EnergyStar score. Because the EnergyStar program compares a building to its peers, the value of making comparisons will diminish as the underlying CBECS data becomes older.

In the wake of the troubling news from EIA, the Institute is establishing a High-Performance Building Data Collection Initiative to identify a path forward for collecting and disseminating data on all high-performance building attributes, not just energy use. This Initiative will allow the building community to still obtain the building energy data necessary to achieve national objectives for high-performance buildings.

Sustainability and Federal Government Facilties – A Candid Survey of Federal Executives – GBC and Deloitte – September 2010

Federal agencies and public companies share sustainability challenges, however, JOC / Job Order Contracting provides an efficient Construction Delivery Method to deploy associated renovation, renovation projects for existing buildings.


Many respondents believe the level of  effort and resources put towards sustainability by their agency is lacking.  Over half  of  them call the sustainability effort “inadequate.” 

Many of  the roadblocks to sustainability are strategic or cultural.”

A majority (54 percent) of  respondents anticipate the level of  effort put towards sustainability will remain constant.”


Executive Summary

 Federal executives surveyed have taken significant steps to “go green” in their personal lives.  A strong majority (81percent) say they now turn off  lights when not in use.  Almost as many print less, turn off  electronics, use more energy efficient products, or recycle. 
 Federal executives believe they have a responsibility to promote sustainability in their agency as well.  Nine in ten of  those surveyed agree with the idea that they have such a responsibility.  Nearly as many of  them say that they have personally taken action to promote sustainability. 
 Respondents almost universally agree that it is important that their agency implements sustainable practices.  Over 95 percent call it very or somewhat important.  When presented with a list of  three elements of  sustainability and asked to rank their importance, most viewed all three as critical.
 While a “sense of  obligation” is the top reason for going green on a personal level, it ranks fourth among reasons agencies make changes.  Agencies’ moves towards sustainability tend to result from different motivators including fulfilling a mandate or reducing costs.
 Almost all respondents believe it is important to increase sustainability, but most report their agency has taken few actions
to do so.  In fact, on average, those surveyed know of  less than three things their agency has done
Many respondents believe the level of  effort and resources put towards sustainability by their agency is lacking.  Over half 
of  them call the sustainability effort “inadequate.”
  In contrast, four percent say the effort has been “excessive.”  
 Many of  the roadblocks to sustainability are strategic or cultural.  Over a quarter say that sustainability is not an agency
priority, or that there is a lack of  coordination.  Almost as many claim there is a lack of  involvement, enthusiasm, and engagement in “going green” among agency employees.
 Respondents recognize ways in which their agencies could become more sustainable.  Almost 60 percent say that better
education, training, and engagement can help their agency implement more sustainable practices.
A majority (54 percent) of  respondents anticipate the level of  effort put towards sustainability will remain constant.  A significant portion (39 percent) anticipate their agency will be more dedicated to sustainability in the future, while almost
none expect that their agency will be less committed to it.  
 Almost all federal executives (86 percent) say that a primary force driving them to be more sustainable is a sense of 
obligation.  Many also behave more sustainably to save money, while far fewer do so to follow a trend, or because of  social


Reasons for Agency Action to Increase Sustainability

Executive Order 13514

Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans

Most Important Sustainability Related Goals


On Wednesday, July 21, 2010, the Government Management, Organization and Procurement Subcommittee held a hearing to examine to what extent the federal government has incorporated green, high-performance building practices into the renovation and construction of existing and new U.S. government owned and leased buildings in accordance with the Energy Independence and security Act of 2007 (EISA), and Executive Order 13514 and other relevant statutes and directives.

Kevin Kampschroer, Director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings (OFHPGB) at the United States General Services Administration (GSA).

A principal duty of the OFHPGB is to ensure full coordination of high-performance green building information and activities within GSA. Under the Recovery Act, GSA received $5.55 billion to be re-invested in the Federal buildings portfolio on an accelerated basis.  Among projects identified as appropriate for Recovery Act funding, GSA examined opportunities to improve the performance of projects already designed, with a focus on building systems, human performance, renewable energy generation and water conservation.  GSA prioritized buildings with the worst performance in energy and poor physical conditions, and the best plans for improvement. The following improvements were incorporated into all projects, where possible, based on funding and return on investment:

1. Building tune-up (re-commissioning, controls improvements, minor systems repairs and equipment replacement)

2. Lighting (day lighting control and occupancy sensors; control systems replacement and re-wiring)

3. HVAC retrofit/replacement

4. Renewable energy generation by photovoltaic, thermal solar or wind

5. Water conservation projects In addition, GSA has worked to establish geothermal and lighting technology acceleration programs.

Preliminary Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 data indicates that the Federal Government used approximately 386 trillion British thermal units (Btu)1 of energy in nearly 3.2 billion square feet of facility space.2 Federal facility energy use is a little over a third of the Federal
Government’s total consumption.3 The Federal Government consumed about 1.6 percent of the Nation’s total energy.4 Within this context the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and Building Technologies Program (BTP) work together with other Federal agencies—particularly the Department of Defense (DoD), the General Services
Administration (GSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—to help them adopt sustainable practices and technologies. I’m pleased to be here today to provide further information to this Subcommittee on these efforts. Constructing and operating Federal facilities in a sustainable manner has numerous welldocumented benefits, including:
• Saving taxpayer dollars through optimized life-cycle cost-effective actions;
• Enhancing employee productivity through the provision of safe, healthy and environmentally appealing workplaces;
• Reducing environmental impacts through decreased energy, water, and materials use; and
• Moving the overall market conditions toward higher performance, through the Federal demand for sustainable facilities.
Currently, Federal building sustainability performance is rated on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Scorecards (Energy Management and Environmental) using six primary metrics, which link to requirements under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), and Executive Order (E.O.) 13423. The six current performance metrics are:
1. Reduced energy intensity;5
2. Consumption of electricity from renewable sources;6
3. The percentage of appropriate facilities which have been metered for electricity use;
4. Reduced water intensity;7
5. New construction compliance with Federal design standards to be 30 percent more energy efficient than applicable code; and
6. Application of sustainability guiding principles in Federal buildings.8
However, OMB Scorecards are expected to be updated this year, as OMB develops performance metrics that also reflect the new requirements of President Obama’s E.O. 13514 which includes ambitious new targets for agencies to meet in the areas of:
• Greenhouse gas emissions measurement and reduction;
• Pollution prevention and waste diversion;
• Regional and local integrated planning;
• Improving water efficiency and management; and
• Strategic Sustainability Performance Planning.
EPA occupies 11 million square feet (SF) of office, support and laboratory space across the country, which houses over 17,000 federal employees and 8,000 support personnel.
An area that is having a growing impact on our green building efforts is building operations and maintenance. Buildings designed to be energy efficient are frequently complex to operate and maintain. Locating and retaining qualified, competent and experienced building operators is becoming increasingly difficult, leading to inefficient and ineffective facility operations in certain locations. EPA is using EISA required energy assessments and re-commissioning to identify and correct poor preventative maintenance practices, improve mechanical system operating efficiency, and evaluate O and M contractor performance. EPA believes that EISA Sec 432 implementing guidance setting minimum training requirements for federal Energy Managers also should improve O and M at EPA and other federal facilities. EPA has also developed a Building Management Program to improve and standardize facility O&M best practices at all EPA-owned facilities.
Several tools that EPA developed include the Portfolio Manager and Target Finder, two on-line energy management tracking and assessment tools. Portfolio Manager is being used by 15 billion SF of commercial building market (20% of the market) to track energy and water usage, assess the performance of buildings, set goals and make reductions across building portfolios. Recently, as part of a joint effort between EPA, DOE and GSA, EPA expanded Portfolio Manager to include the Federal Sustainability Checklist, allowing federal agencies to track and report their progress on the sustainability goals required as part of Executive Order 13514. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program is also providing training to federal agencies as part of this collaboration.
In recognition of the unique position of the Institute, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) called for the establishment of a High-Performance Building Council within the Institute tasked to look at the diversity of codes and standards for buildings and determine the needs necessary for implementation of high-performance buildings.
As its initial task, the Council identified the eight attributes that define a high-performance building. They are:  Sustainability Cost Effectiveness Accessibility Productivity Historic Preservation Aesthetics Functionality Safety and Security These attributes are reflected in the definitions of High-Performance Building and High-Performance Green Building as defined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) which defines high performance as “the integration and optimization on a life cycle basis of all major high performance attributes, including energy conservation, environment, safety, security, durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, productivity, sustainability, functionality, and operational considerations.” As the Subcommittee will note, sustainability or “green” is just one aspect of a high-performance building. Federal agencies have numerous requirements related to these high-performance attributes beyond the energy, water and sustainability requirements in EPAct, EISA, and Executive Orders 13423 and 13514. Additionally, these requirements are likely to expand and change due to emerging issues impacting building occupancy and use including those tied to our aging population (e.g., addressing low vision) and to increased interest in technology and sustainability (e.g., flexibility for new technologies and new work environments). A sample of relevant laws and Executive Orders appear below: Americans with Disabilities Act National Historic Preservation Act Public Buildings Act National Environmental Policy Act E.O. 13006: Historic Properties E.O. 12977: Security Standards E.O. 12941/12699: Seismic Safety Presidential Memorandum on Disposing of Unneeded Federal Real-Estate (June 10, 2010).
As the High-Performance Building Council reported, common metrics are needed to measure and compare achievement of individual attributes and then to understand the interactions across attributes.
Ellen Larson Vaughan Policy Director Environmental and Energy Study Institute
EESI is a nonprofit policy-education organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to climate change and other critical energy and environmental challenges and bringing sound science and technology information to policymakers through briefings, publications and other activities. Founded by members of a bi-partisan Congressional study conference, EESI has been an independent organization since 1984 1984 and is funded primarily through foundation grants and charitable contributions.
The federal government owns and operates nearly 500,000 facilities and can establish its own performance goals, above and beyond what Congress has already required. With about 3 billion square feet of floor space, federal buildings have a substantial environmental footprint, consuming 1.6 percent of the nation’s total energy use at an annual cost of $24.5 billion, according to the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).
The terms high performance and green have evolved substantially over the years. We are grateful that your committee in Section 401 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 defined high performance green buildings for the purposes of the activities of the Department of Energy and General Services Administration in a way that captures best current thinking. These definitions challenge the government to design, construct, and operate its buildings at the state of the art and pave the way for these agencies to show leadership over the next two decades, a period during which we will need higher performance from federal and other buildings than ever before.
Retrofit is very important because new construction adds only a very small percentage to our national building inventory each year. Therefore, if we are to have a significant number of high performance green buildings in our lifetimes, much of the work will have to be retrofits of existing buildings.
Lynn G. Bellenger, P.E., FASHRAE President, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
Standard 90.1 now serves as both the federal building standard, and the national reference for state adopted commercial building codes through the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), the Energy Conservation and Production Act (ECPA), and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct).
The impact of our nation’s buildings is surprisingly large. Our nation’s buildings account for 40 percent of our primary energy use—more than either transportation or industry. Buildings are responsible for 72 percent of the electricity consumption and 39 percent of the total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The CO2 emissions from US buildings alone approximately equal the combined emissions of Japan, France, and the United Kingdom for transportation, industry, and buildings.
Building Modeling
My presidential theme is “Modeling a Sustainable World.” Building modeling represents one of the most powerful tools for optimizing building performance, and it is an area worthy of increased support from Congress. Today, we have the tools to create a virtual model to consider options in size, shape and appearance. But more than just a visual representation, our models can simulate energy performance, assess daylighting options and predict thermal comfort.
Integrated Building Design
To exploit the full capability of modeling tools, we must transform our design approach from a sequential process — where one discipline completes its work and hands off the design to the next — to a collaborative integrated building design process — where all of the disciplines involved in the building design and construction work as team from the beginning to evaluate options and optimize the design.
Our biggest challenge is implementing integrated design into daily practice. The traditional sequential approach misses the rich opportunities for optimizing building performance through a collaborative approach throughout the design process.
It is going to require a cultural shift in our industry to transform the design process, and it’s a shift that has to occur if we are going to reach our goal of net zero energy buildings.
To help expand awareness throughout the federal government of the potential benefits of increased energy savings that can be achieved through integrated, whole building design, we recommend creating a new demonstration program with selected, geographically diverse federal buildings. A report on the success and challenges of such a demonstration program would yield useful lessons learned that could be applied and expanded to other federal buildings, as well as buildings in the private sector.
Standard 189.1: A New Foundation for Green Building Standards Earlier this year, in our continuing efforts to push the envelope on building efficiency, and in collaboration with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), ASHRAE published Standard 189.1 – the first code-intended commercial green building standard in the United States. Standard 189.1 also serves as a compliance path of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), published by the International Code Council. Standard 189.1 represents a revolutionary new step for building standards, as it provides a long-needed green building foundation for those who strive to design, build and operate green buildings. From site location to energy use to recycling, this standard will set the foundation for green buildings through its adoption into local codes. It covers key topic areas similar to green building rating systems, including site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources.
The energy efficiency goal of Standard 189.1 is to provide significant energy reduction over in ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007. It offers a broader scope than Standard 90.1 is intended to provide minimum requirements for the siting, design and construction of high performance, green buildings. For this reason, ASHRAE recommends authorizing a pilot program with a select group of geographically diverse federal buildings to examine the effects
requiring all new federal buildings, by 2020, to meet the IGCC, and include ASHRAE Standard 189.1 as a compliance path of the IGCC. This will help the federal government meet the objectives of Executive Order 13514 of ensuring that beginning in 2020, all new federal buildings are designed to achieve zero-net-energy by 2030. A report on the success and challenges of such a demonstration program would also yield useful lessons learned that could
applied and expanded to other federal buildings, as well as buildings in the private sector.
James Bertrand President, Delphi Thermal Systems
Today, air conditioning use alone represents nearly 13% of all U.S. electricity consumption! On the residential air conditioning side, the consumption rate is already at 17% and will grow to 19% by 2030.
Furthermore, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is forecasting that consumers in the United States will increase their use of electricity by 1.4% annually through 2030. This data already accounts for the energy-efficiency legislation enacted that will impact future consumption. With energy consumption on the rise and the associated implications the increases will bring, it’s an issue both government and industry can not afford to ignore.
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Patrick C. Suermann, Maj, USAF, P.E.

PhD Candidate, The University of Florida

Raja R.A. Issa, Ph.D., J.D., P.E.

Professor, The University of Florida


This research assessed perceptions about the impact of the implementation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) on construction projects. Survey questions centered on impact with respect to six primary construction key performance indicators (KPIs) commonly used in the construction industry as accepted metrics for assessing job performance. These include: quality control (rework), on-time completion, cost, safety (lost manhours), dollars/unit (square feet) performed, and units (square feet) per man hour. Qualitative data was collected through a survey instrument intended to assess practitioners’ perceptions about BIM impacts on the six Key Performance Indicators.

The survey was targeted at National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Facility Information Council (FIC) National BIM Standard (NBIMS) committee members.

The survey, with a response rate of 50 completed surveys, showed preliminary results indicating that the NIBS FIC NBIMS members felt that a BIMbased approach improves construction metrics compared to construction without BIM.

Specifically, the highest three ranking KPIs in order of most favorable responses were quality, on time completion, and units per man hour.

The second tier of favorable responses included overall cost and cost per unit. Finally, only 46%, or less than half of the respondents thought that construction safety was improved through BIM.

KEYWORDS: BIM, Construction, NBIMS, Metrics, KPI


In 2004, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a report stating that poor interoperability and data management costs the construction industry, approximately $15.8 billion a year, or approximately 3-4% of the total industry. Since this report, many have labeled Building Information Modeling (BIM), an emerging technological information management process and product, as the answer to this problem.

From the pending release in July 2007 of the National BIM Standard (NBIMS), a BIM (i.e. a single Building Information Model) is defined as “a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility.”

Furthermore, a BIM represents a shared knowledge resource, or process for sharing information about a facility, forming a reliable basis for decisions during a facility’s life-cycle from inception onward. In the words of the NBIMS Executive Committee Leader and former Chief Architect of the Department of Defense, Dana K. “Deke” Smith, R.A.,

“A basic premise of BIM is collaboration by different stakeholders at different phases of the life cycle of a facility to insert, extract, update or modify information in the BIM to support and reflect the roles of thatstakeholder” (NBIMS 2007).


2.1 Overview

This paper focuses on only the first phase of our research, which proposes to accomplish data collection and analysis in four phases. These four phases will be aligned with a process originally created by United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd (1927-1997) and shown in Figure 1. Information Management (IM) professionals have often used Boyd’s model, which is widely known as the “OODA Loop” (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act), to 7th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality: October 22-23, 2007 207 demonstrate the continual improvement process of strategic decision making. The OODA Loop will be used here to structure the research to ensure that each phase builds on the one before it and in this way the conclusions will be logically valid. Boyd developed the theory based on his earlier experience as a fighter pilot and he initially used it to explain victory in air-to-air combat. But in the later years of his career; he expanded his OODA Loop theory into a grand strategy with benefits to anyone who needs to pragmatically and quickly process information. Colonel Boyd’s philosophy dictated that individually, people will observe unfolding circumstances and gather outside information in order to orient their decision making system to “perceived threats.” Boyd states that the orientation phase of the loop is the most important step, because if decision makers perceive the wrong threats, or misunderstand what is happening in the environment, then the decision makers will orient their thinking in erroneous directions and eventually make incorrect decisions. Boyd said that this cycle of decision-making could operate at different speeds for different organizations but the goal is to complete the OODA Loop process at the fastest tempo possible. However, in this research, it will be used to make the best, not necessarily the fastest, choices about the proper items to collect and investigate. Through Boyd’s OODA Loop; this research will be structured in four phases aligned with the ideas of observation, orientation, decision, and action (Boyd 2007).

2.2 Phase I: Observation

Because BIM is so new in the US Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operations (AECO) industry, there is little empirical data regarding its application and use. Therefore, in addition to the typical review of literature in the field, a qualitative survey was administered to garner initial data about practitioners’ perceptions about the effects of BIM on construction key performance indicators (KPIs). This survey data was used to determine current BIM practices and perceptions to formulate additional research hypotheses for use in Phase II.

Phase I included publishing a web-based survey with the sole purpose of garnering industry stakeholders’ impressions of BIM’s effect on construction through specific construction metrics based on six (6) primary, quantitative construction KPIs: Quality Control, On time Completion, Cost, Safety, $/Unit, Units/Manhour as determined in a 2003 study by Cox et al. (2003). In this way, qualitative industry perceptions were quantified. The survey was hosted on through an account login funded by the National Institute of Building Sciences, Facility Information Council (NIBS-FIC). In concert with the National BIM Standard (NBIMS) Committee testing team, a subset of the NIBS-FIC, this data was shared for their own empirical research.

2.2.1 Survey

After receiving University of Florida Institutional Review Board (UFIRB) authority, the first iteration of the survey was available from March 5, 2007 until April 5, 2007 and was advertised to a select group in two different ways: direct email through a distribution list and a website advertisement. First, an email was sent to the FIC listserv distribution list. This listserv had 104 members from across the AECO industry at the time of the survey’s launch. Halfway through the month-long survey availability, a reminder email was sent to the listserv asking for more people to complete the survey or for those who had started the survey to complete the survey. The second method of garnering qualified respondents was to advertise the survey on the NIBS FIC website,, under their “NEWS” portion. Since most people only happen upon this website when signing up to join the NIBS-FIC NBIMS committee, and this website is only “advertised” in the AECO community, the possibility of tainting the data was considered negligible.

2.2.2 Survey Specifics

The survey was divided into four sections:

• Part I: Basic Demographic Information

• Part II: BIM Effects on KPIs

• Part III: Ranking KPIs

• Part IV: Free Answer

Part I was intended to find descriptive information about the respondents, to ensure that they were qualified to answer the questions, and to group answers from similar respondents together across the data pool. Most questions were standard for surveys such as gender, age, and the state where the respondent resided. Questions 7th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality: October 22-23, 2007 208 especially germane to the research were the following which were targeted at collecting the respondent’s educational level, annual company revenue, and people’s organizational role. Regarding organizational role, respondents were asked to make a selection from a list based on the organizational roles listed in Table 32 of the Construction

Specifications Institute (CSI 2007). First, respondents were asked to select their overarching organizational role, and then the survey skipped to the question that addressed the proper organizational role with a follow-up question formulated to find out the specific role the respondent filled on a daily basis. These choices also came from the

CSI’s (2007) Omniclass Table 32 for organizational roles.

Part II of the survey served as the beginning of the primary data collection instrument. This part asked questions on each of the six construction KPIs in various formats with varying scales of favorable to unfavorable perceptions regarding the impact of BIM on construction. In this way, the possibility of errant responses from people just putting the maximum answer down for every question was avoided. At the beginning of Part II, respondents were asked to rate their perception of BIM’s impact on the list of six construction key performance indicators. Specifically, question #14 of the survey addressed BIM’s impact on units per man hour. Units per man hour were defined for respondents as “measure of completed units (typically square footage) put in place per individual man hour of work.” The respondents’ choices of answers ranged on a 5-point Likert scale from least favorable to most favorable with the following possible choices:

Severely Inhibits Lessens No Effect Improves Maximizes

1 2 3 4 5

The next question, #15, asked for the same perception about BIM’s impact on “dollars per unit” or cost per square foot ($/SF) with the same choices on the 5-point Likert scale. Question #16, asked about safety. Regarding safety, respondents were asked to “read the following statements and choose the one that most closely matches your view of BIM’s effect on safety.” The answers, with regard to lost man-hours, were again arranged on a 5-point

Likert scale:

Eliminates Lessens No Effect Increases Greatly Increases

1 2 3 4 5

The next question, #17, had to do with cost. Cost was defined as “cost variance in actual costs to budgeted costs.” Here there were five sub-questions under this one question that centered on different types of costs including: General Conditions, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP), Finishes, and Overall.

Here, respondents could choose from a 5-point Likert scale, as well as the additional choice of Not Applicable or “N/A.” The 5-point Likert scale had the following choices: Max Variance: ($ Lost) Worsens No Effect Improves Max Variance ($ Saved)

1 2 3 4 5

Question #18 focused on “on time completion.” The response options were similar to those for question #17 with the exception of variance equating to a “late” project on the unfavorable side of the scale to “max variance

– early” on the favorable side of the scale.

The final question in Part II, #19, asked respondents what they thought about BIM’s impact on quality control/rework. This question prepared the respondent for answering by saying, “quality control can be defined as percent (%) of rework in ($) compared to overall cost in ($).” The choices were:

Increases Rework Worsens No Effect Improves Nearly Eliminates Rework

1 2 3 4 5

Part III of the survey was structured to determine whether there was any one construction KPI which BIM impacted more than any other in a logical ranking fashion, so that it could be investigated more thoroughly in Phase II of the research while collecting case study data. Respondents were asked to rank the KPIs on a Likert scale from 1-10. This means that 1 would be a score showing that BIM inhibited construction to 5 equalling no effect to 10 showing the most improvement.

Part IV of the survey was intended to gather open ended responses from respondents that could help identify problems with the current survey, necessary points to investigate in future surveys, receive contact information if people wanted specific follow-up information, and give respondents a chance to express themselves if they felt the survey stifled their responses in any way.

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The Summary portion of the survey was intended to determine respondents’ personal definition of Building Information Modeling. There were four choices, including one response; “Don’t Know” which was a response intended to eliminate unqualified respondents from tainting the data pool. The other choices included:

• BIM is 3D CAD

• BIM is a tool for visualizing and coordinating A/E/C work and avoiding errors and omissions

• BIM is an open standards based info repository for facilities lifecycles

2.3 Future Research: Phases II-IV, Orientation, Decision, and Action

Phase II will include building on the survey data garnered in Phase I and will test the primary research hypothesis and possible follow on hypotheses by conducting embedded research on federal construction projects.

The rationale behind this research is that federal entities have provided testbeds for implementing new ideas and new technologies in the past in the field of construction. While federal work has not always led the way on implementing new technological initiatives, recent strides in the General Services Administration (GSA), Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and United States Coast Guard (USCG) demonstrate that they are exceeding typical industry rate of BIM adoption. However, despite recent promulgation of BIM procedures in documents like the GSA BIM Guide and USACE BIM Roadmap, there is little documented evidence on BIM’s impact on the construction phase of the facility lifecycle. Therefore, future research proposes to evaluate BIM effects on federal construction projects according to the KPI metrics listed in the survey. The specific locations where the embedded research will be conducted due to their considerable experience at managing projects through BIM methodologies


• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Seattle District

• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Louisville District

• U.S. Coast Guard Naval Engineering Support Unit (NESU), Charleston, South Carolina

• General Services Administration (GSA)

After assessing and analyzing the data and comparing it to longitudinal data from construction projects similar in size and scope to those studied in Phase II, Phase III will include revisions and changes to the data collection model. In addition, a wider cross section of construction projects will be studied including commercial and industrial projects. Phase III entails comparing the data collected in Phases I and II to longitudinal data. This would be accomplished by using data collected and maintained by research bodies such as the USACE Civil Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) or the Construction Industry Institute (CII) and comparing their baseline construction data to BIM case study data from Phase II. Lastly, the data will be analyzed to determine if trends exist that demonstrate significant differences in productivity or performance according to the construction KPI metrics.

In Phase IV, after the bulk of the data is collected, the lessons learned from conducting the embedded research will be applied to a further revised methodology recommended for future case study data collection.

Additionally, noted trends will be discussed in the research analysis portion of this document and recommended for consumption and implementation by federal entities and construction firms for recommended best business practices that yield the most productivity improvements. In this way, the research will act on the lessons learned, fulfilling the OODA Loop. Possible additional case study data will include trend analysis on commercial and industrial projects and comparison to the federal construction projects case study data


The first iteration of the survey was sent out to the NBIMS committee of the NIBS-FIC and was available from March 5, 2007 until April 5, 2007. Of the 105 people on the committee when the survey was closed out, 50 respondents fully completed the survey for a highly successful 48% response rate. The information below represents a summary of the results from the survey.

3.1 Part I: Basic Demographic Information

Figures 2-5 show the data gathered through the Zoomerang online survey or data analysis derived from the data in the survey. Regarding gender, 86% (43/50) of the respondents were male and 14% (7/50) female. The age data of the respondents shows that the mode response was also the median age group, the 45-54 year olds with an overall normal distribution of respondents. There was only one respondent under 25 years old. As far as education 7th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality: October 22-23, 2007 210 level, 86% (43/50) of the respondents had college degrees, with 56% (28/50) of them holding graduate or professional degrees. There was no definite trend indicated on the organizational revenue question, although the most frequent response was $1-$9.9 Million with 24% (12/50) of the respondents choosing this answer.

Respondents’ geographic locations were varied with 47/50 respondents living in the U.S. and three from outside the U.S. (Note: despite being the U.S. NBIMS committee, several members live and work outside the U.S., but are either American citizens or are liaisons for wider interests such as the North American BIM buildingSmart Initiative (sic), etc. so it is possible for respondents on the U.S. NBIMS listserv to live outside the U.S.) The most frequent response by state was from Maryland, with 18% or nine of the 50 respondents living there.

The organizational role data results showed that the two most frequent responses were from those with a Design Role with 44% (22/50) respondents and from those with a Management role, which accounted for 30% (15/50) respondents. Of the first most frequent response, Design Role, 73% (16/22) of the respondents were architects and 27% (6/22) respondents were engineers. For the second most frequent response, Management, 47% (7/15) were Vice Presidents in their organization and 40% (6/15) respondents were the Chief Executives of their organization.

3.2 Part II: BIM Effects on Construction KPIs

Respondents were asked to rate their perception of BIM’s impact on six KPIs. The following list is organized in order of the highest rated to the lowest rated of the six KPIs: Quality Control/Rework (90%), On-time Completion (90%), Cost-Overall (84%), Units/Man hour (76%), Dollars/Unit (70%), and Safety (46%). This was calculated by evaluating responses that exceeded the neutral Likert value of 3 and comparing that to the total number of responses. For example, 34/50 respondents opined that BIM “Improved” the Quality Control/Rework KPI, as well as 11/50 respondents opined that BIM, “Nearly Eliminates Rework” for a total rating of 90% (45/50).

Full data on the responses can be seen in Figures 2 and 3.

Cost was similarly broken down and the following list organized in the order of highest to lowest rated favorable opinion (i.e. assigned a value greater than 3 on the Likert scale) by the respondents: Overall (84%), Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (78%), Structural (76%), General Conditions (70%), and Finishes (58%.)

It is important to note that 46% or 23/50 respondents also felt that BIM has “No Effect” on safety or lost man-hours in construction projects, making it the KPI that in their perception is the least impacted by BIM.

3.3 Part III: Ranking Construction KPIs

Respondents were asked to rank the construction KPIs according to their perceptions of how well BIM improved the given KPIs on a scale of 1-10, with 10 showing the most improvement, 5 showing no effect, and 1 showing that BIM inhibits the given KPIs. Organizing the construction KPIs according to merely adding positive response frequency percentages (anything over a score of 5), the KPIs score the following in order from most to least favorable: Quality (94%), On-time Completion (88%), Units/Man-hour (86%), Dollars/Unit (80%), Cost (80%), and Safety (54%.) When weighting the answers for the degree of favorability (Σ(%*100*Score)), the KPIs score the same: Quality (564), On-time Completion (528), Units/Man-hour (516), Dollars/Unit (480), Cost (480), and Safety (324.) This information is graphically illustrated in Figures 4 and 5.

3.4 Part IV: Comments

A few of the most representative comments made by the respondents were:

• Respondent # 3: A BIM will likely affect KPIs rather than the other way around. A good, comprehensive, structured source of accurate data that all the stakeholders can access will reduce stove pipes, redundant data and inaccurate information. It will make it easier to keep the data current and to verify it.

• Respondent #7: The questions that are being asked are of the type that an A/E would ask. You may want to

look at asking that questions that a builder, vendor, or trade contractor would ask.

• Respondent #8: The way you ask your questions, it seems as if you assume that BIM should save time and

money. In reality, I believe that the BIM makes your planning, scheduling, estimating, etc. more accurate. I have quite often seen that BIM corrects errors, misconceptions and the net effect may be additive (but save the contractor the time, money and the embarrassment of a mistake). If there was inadequate time or more planned for a given scope, than it may it may be just as likely to add time or money as save (sic). 7th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality: October 22-23, 2007 211

• Respondent #13: More KPIs: Reduction in Claims, Improved public outreach/agency coordination, More sustainable structures

• Respondent #16: BIM will minimize change orders, and will also reduce the initial project cost. Contractors will sharpen their pencils and will provide pricing per known factors, the number of unknowns and field coordination efforts are reduced.

• Respondent #17: While BIM a goal to strive for and is relevant to certain projects – the fractured nature of the A/E/C (sic) industry means that it will be a long time before BIM has a significant overall effect on the industry


The summary question in this survey asked respondents which definition of BIM most closely matched their own. No respondents chose the answers “Don’t Know” or “BIM is 3D CAD.” As shown in Figure 6, the definition of BIM according to the NIBS-FIC NBIMS Committee received the most responses, “BIM is an open standards based information repository for facilities’ lifecycles,” with 70% or 35/50 respondents making this

selection. The other response was, “BIM is a tool for visualizing and coordinating AEC work and avoiding errors and omissions,” received 30% or 15/50 responses. While this response is not necessarily incorrect, it does not align with the NBIMS’ view of the definition, which means that 15% of the respondents from the NBIMS committee have a personal definition of BIM that is different than the committee’s formal definition. Thus, there is still some work to be done for the NBIMS Committee to educate and inform the AECO community, even within its own organization.


As the results suggest, the respondents felt that BIM is most likely to positively impact the construction KPIs of quality and on time completion. More research needs to be conducted in order to corroborate the “BIMfavorable” results here. While the respondents are certainly knowledgeable about BIM because of the demographics shown herein and membership on the NBIMS listerv, their affiliation could have also biased their results.

Additionally, quantifying the impact of a BIM approach through real world construction case studies will offer a more compelling argument for BIM adoption by AEC firms.


This study was partially supported by the National Institute of Building Sciences, Facility Information

Council (NIBS-FIC.)

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FIG. 1: “OODA Loop” (Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action) (Col John Boyd, USAF (Ret.) )

FIG. 2: Part II Responses about BIM’s impact on construction KPIs (raw data from zoomerang)

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FIG 3. Part II Responses about BIM’s impact on construction KPIs (raw data from zoomerang)

FIG. 4: Overall Favorable Responses when ranking KPIs with respect to impact on BIM (unweighted)

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FIG. 5: Overall Favorable Responses when ranking KPIs with respect to impact on BIM (weighted)



BIM is a tool for visualizing and coordinating AEC work to avoid errors and omissions BIM is an open standards based information repository for the facility lifecycle

FIG. 6: Answers to definition of BIM Question

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New McKinsey Study on Cost Effective Energy Measures – $1.2 Trillion from Commercial and Residential

US_energy_efficiency_full_reportNew McKinsey Study on Cost Effective Energy Measures

A new study from McKinsey finds that a comprehensive program of cost-effective energy efficiency measures could reduce US annual energy consumption by 23 percent by 2020. This reduction in energy use would require a $520 billion investment but save $1.2 trillion in energy costs (these figures are discounted to present dollars).

McKinsey estimates that 65 percent of these savings would come from improvements made to the industrial and commercial sector; the remaining 35 percent would come from residential improvements.

According to the report, these impressive results would require an annual investment of approximately $50 billion in energy efficiency – an increase of 400 to 500 percent over US spending on energy efficiency in 2008. McKinsey recommends a “Holistic Implementation Strategy” to rapidly scale this increase in energy efficiency investment. This strategy requires recognition across all sectors of the economy that energy efficiency is a critical component to meeting the country’s energy needs while the United States transitions to low carbon energy sources. The strategy also requires public and private sector support to develop innovative funding vehicles and strengthen national building codes. Finally, all stakeholders in the energy economy will need to align in a common pursuit of increased energy efficiency.