Reposted from Practical BIM17 Nov 2014 06:30 PM PST

IP – it is not all yours, get used to it


When discussing BIM with those yet to take it up the topic of Intellectual Property invariably comes up. It is so important to them it comes across as a major reason they are not using BIM (although I suspect it is more of an excuse).

For some reason BIM authors (architects, engineers, etc) think that because they create the initial BIM information they have the right to full control and to charge for the BIM model throughout the life of the building.

Then on the other hand we have contractors and owners who believe, because they are paying the authors, that they have absolute rights over all BIM created to do as they please with it.


One of the tenets of BIM is that all information is contained in one place; the BIM model (which may be an amalgam of several BIM models). And that all parties have access to this information so everyone is working on the same, up to date, information.

One of the effects of this is that there can be no duplicates of the same information.
The architect schedules doors, the hardware supplier adds to that schedule, they don’t create their own. The architect doesn’t model ductwork, they use the mechanical engineer’s model.

So for BIM to work at all project participants must not only have unrestrained access to each other’s BIM, they are not allowed to create their own version of some-one else’s.
If any party tries to restrict access the whole process starts to collapse.

However access doesn’t necessarily mean unfettered control. This is still a place for IP rights.


One of the problems discussing IP is that often people are talking about different things. They have different reasons for, or place more emphasis on, particular concerns.
But even then I don’t see much mileage in these concerns, certainly not enough to withhold information.


The old “why should I give away my work for free” argument. It has the appearance of taking the moral high ground but has a number of flaws.

Money is only one form of compensation. Barter is another. In the BIM context if everyone shares everyone benefits. For example allowing the quantity surveyor to directly measure from your BIM model means more timely estimates reducing the risk of you doing unpaid abortive work when the estimate blows the budget.

We work in a market economy, just because you place a dollar value on what you have produced doesn’t mean others will. There is little point with-holding something from others that has no actual value, or a lessor value, to them. All you do is damage your reputation, and possibly the chances of future work.

And lastly the reality of the industry. If information is withheld that is required contracts will be changed to ensure that information is made available. The danger here is contracts invariably overreach, they are more onerous than they need to be. We are already seeing this with contracts that take all IP rights away whether justified or not.


BIM doesn’t make any difference to IP rights over original ideas which are already covered by copyright law.
Does the possession of a BIM model make it easier for some-one to copy your design, to break the law? In a sense, because BIM contains more information that is structured more efficiently than traditional product like CAD files, spreadsheets and drawings. But the theft itself is no easier. In fact it could be argued it would be more straightforward to identify a stolen BIM model due to the uniqueness of how data is arranged, as to compared to a drawing consisting just of lines and text.

There is also a belief among some that every idea they come up with is unique and universally cherished.
That parametric door that can represent nearly every possible type of door is just as valuable to the contractor who just wants to know what each door is. The clever equipment schedule that you believe gives you a competitive advantage so will be copied by everyone who sees it because it is so brilliant.
Your innovative work practices are important to you but are rarely suited to anyone else.
Experienced BIM authors know that components sourced from elsewhere are never exactly what is needed to fit their own work practices. Many a time I have spent more effort trying to rework some-one else’s component than it would have taken to recreate it from scratch.


Some have concerns that if they provide their work in an editable format (whether BIM or CAD) some-one will make changes to their work without their knowledge and/or permission.
To make changes to work attributed to some-one else is fraud and clearly illegal. To withhold your work is overkill and the equivalent of never getting out of bed to avoid anything bad happening.

Some believe if  they maintain control they are in the best position to ensure their intellectual effort, their design, will be carried through in a way that they will be happy with. That if they are not in full control others will make poor decisions compromising their brilliant ideas.
This argument is hard to convince owners and contractors as they expect the documents you provide as part of your service to contain enough information for your design to be fully realised. If you argue otherwise they just see it as evidence your documents, and your design, is deficient and you intend to ‘fix it up’ later at their expense.

There is also a belief that with a copy of an original work contractors or owners are free to get others to take over the job. Again most jurisdictions have laws that already cover this, and in any case possession of your IP is unlikely to be the deciding factor in your client making this decision.
It ignores the fact that BIM output is the result of expert knowledge and professional responsibility. It is not like a set of Ikea instructions anyone can use. Only very cavalier professionals would take on the responsibility of some-one else’s work without spending a significant amount of time checking it.


IP applies to many things but this post is about BIM. The ‘products’ of BIM that IP may impact include:

  • Whole BIM model (federated or integrated)
  • BIM Model contribution (as separate model or co-author)
  • BIM model components (e.g. equipment, doors, etc)
  • Editable drawings from the BIM model (e.g. CAD files).
  • Editable schedules from the BIM model (e.g. Excel files).

Note that the last two items existed before BIM. Generally BIM has not created new IP issues, just extended existing ones.



There is often a misconception that obtaining IP protection means complete ownership, giving full control to the ‘owner’. This is not correct, IP is a safeguard, not a title to ownership.
IP applying to a ‘product’ is managed by assigning ‘Rights’ to it, who has the right to do what with it. Often IP discussions are really about Rights, not the application of IP per se.

Rights are something authors should be concerned about. It is where the risks and rewards lie.
What are the types of Rights people are concerned about when it comes to BIM?

The right to:

be identified as author.

Sometimes called ‘Moral Rights’. This is covered by IP law in many countries and does not change with BIM.

decide what uses are permitted.

An author should be able to stipulate what their model is suitable for, or more realistically stipulate what it has been created for and let others make the call if it is suitable or not (authors don’t necessarily know what other professionals require so how could they be definitive about what their BIM is suitable for?).
But this shouldn’t extend to complete denial of access for uses not permitted. Firstly, not all possible uses can be predicted, and secondly even a model unsuitable for a particular use may still be of some use as long as its limitations are known and acknowledged.

The best way to deal with this Right is for authors to stipulate what their BIM model has been created for (i.e. their particular uses), and an affirmation that it contains all information they, as authors, are engaged to produce.
For example an architect would say their model “contains sufficient information to describe the materials and location of those materials”. What they shouldn’t say is their model is “suitable for estimating uses” as it infers they have modelled every material in accurate quantities.

decide who can use it.

Some believe their ‘ownership’ of their BIM contribution gives them the right to withhold it from whomever they choose. Whilst an author may have a good reason to prevent certain parties from using their work their reasons may conflict with the needs of other project team members and the project as a whole. The outright power of veto doesn’t work in a BIM project.

However it is reasonable to insist you be notified if some-one else receives your work. There may be matters you need to inform other parties about the content and status of your work. An all too common occurrence is contractors providing design professional’s work to sub-contractors that is inappropriate, incomplete, or not reissued when superseded. I have personally experience a situation where the piling contractor was given our documents (architect’s) to put directly in their survey total station, when all our documents had were roughly placed piles for context. They should have been given the structural engineers drawings, but neither ourselves or the structural engineer knew they had been provided with our BIM model.

The usual way to deal with provision to inappropriate parties is to stipulate the work can only be provided to those directly involved in the particular project it was created for. The way to deal with inappropriate use is to define uses that are permitted.

demand payment for its use.

Traditionally only drawings and written material were provided to others, which they referred to but didn’t directly use to generate their work. But a BIM model can be integrated into other’s work, for example running an analysis or directly measuring quantities. Because of this some believe they should get a cut in the obvious windfall others are getting.
But there is no windfall. Everyone is relying on getting the information they require from everyone else, no-one has budgeted to pay extra.

That is not to say there are no situations where you can charge. Certainly if your work is to be used for a different project, or purpose not involving your particular project. But charging project participants is not normal practice. If you intend to do it within your project you need to make that clear at the very beginning of the project, when negotiating your engagement agreement. And good luck with that!

use it for other projects and purposes.

It is perfectly reasonable for authors to expect their work will not be used for projects and purposes they are not a party to. This is what standard IP covers, and is what is lost when all IP is signed away.
There is no reason for IP to be completely signed away for BIM to work, as long as all parties agree to provide their work to other members of the project team. It is when there is a belief that there will be resistance to this that owners and contractors try and take everyone’s IP via contract clauses.

The best way to fend off attempts to take complete control of your IP is to be accommodating. Show that you will make your work available to all those that will require it for the project.


But with Rights come responsibility.

  • If you claim authorship you are forever associated with the project.
  • If you dictate what your BIM model can be used for you accept responsibility that it is suitable for that use.
  • If you refuse to provide your BIM to some-one you will be expected to provide good reasons and prove it does not impinge on your obligations to the project.
  • If you insist on the Right to charge for use of your BIM model you take on the responsibility of your BIM model being suitable for the purpose you are charging for.
    In most legal jurisdictions the act of accepting money infers you have provided a useful product, no matter what any written agreement says. You can’t charge a Quantity Surveyor for using your model for measurement and not accept responsibility for it’s accuracy and completeness.

You might consider forgoing Rights you may be entitled to avoid responsibility.
For example forgo the right to dictate what your BIM can be used for and instead provide it on an ‘as is’ basis.


Always keep in mind that BIM processes require information to be not only shared, but shared in particular formats. That means you have to provide your computer files to others, there is no way around this.
But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo all IP protection. The best approach is to assess whether the rights you want impede the flow of information within the project or not. If they don’t, insist on them, if they do, work out a way to achieve your aim another way or accept it is not going to happen.

Specific advice on IP in contracts and agreements is beyond my expertise so I leave that to others. Some resources:
Designing Buildings Wiki (UK)
National BIM standard – US

Generally you should expect that each participant retain IP rights over their contribution, and that the rights of others only extend to their requirements for the particular project.

You may have limited control over agreements with others but what you can do is manipulate the data you provide to others. For example sheets and annotation (text and dimensions) are not required in the BIM model you provide when you are also providing drawings and written schedules.

Methods include:

Make recipients aware of limitations:

Have standard written “conditions of use” that can be included in agreements with others and included with all document issues.

Use non-editable file format:

Provide IFC, Navisworks, DWF, PDF etc instead of your authoring software.
(These formats, to varying degrees, allow access to BIM data.)

Remove temptation:

Strip BIM models of all but essential elements and data.

Identify your work:

Embed ownership data within BIM objects.


There may be others, but I have used these in the past:

Embed “Conditions Of Use”:
Create a Starting View and put your Conditions Of Use on it.
(Revit always displays this view when opening the file so it is hard for someone to argue they didn’t see it).

Only export the model, excluding all annotation and sheets:
Create 3D view, hide what you don’t want to include, place this view on a sheet. In the Project Browser right click over the sheet and pick Save to New File. Open the new Revit file and add a Starting View with Conditions Of Use.

Delete specific views and sheets:
Create a schedule of views, manually delete views. Do the same with a Sheet List.
Or use an add-in to delete views, sheets, etc.

Make your work identifiable:
Add parameters to all your families that contain copyright information (place as a formula so it can’t be easily edited).
Prefix all your shared parameters with your organization’s acronym.



Get used to the fact that no-one is using BIM as a pretext for stealing your IP. Others don’t want to own your BIM, they just want to be able to use it.

They want the right to use the model to check if a hole can be drilled without hitting any pipes or wires. Everyone understands use of BIM doesn’t give them the right to construct an identical building somewhere else.

IP is an issue of concern, as it always has been, but not sufficient to block or hobble the use of BIM.
Let’s stop chasing windmills and get on with the real game, making IP in BIM fair to everyone.

Enabling Efficient Life-cycle Managment of the Built Environment supported by Digitial Technology – BIM – 2014

Technology is not the primary obstacle to efficient life-cycle management of the built environment!

  1. Technology limitations/issues – come from people
  2. Different meanings for the same parts
  3. Economic impacts – based on people
  4. Different values and attributes for same processes
  5. Social Impacts – outcomes for people
  6. Stakeholders (Owners!!!, AE’s, Contractors, Oversight Groups, Business Product  Manufacturers, Users) determine the uses of technology, economic value and environmental impacts

The roadblocks to increased collaboration, transparency, and productivity within the AECOO sector are as follows:

1. Lack of a robust, shared Ontology.

2. Refusal to adopt collaborative construction delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) for new construction, Job Order Contracting (JOC) for repair, renovation, sustainability, and minor new construction projects.

3. Current focus upon first-costs vs. life-cycle costs.

Standardized terms, definitions, metrics and the deployment of “best practice” business process is not rocket science.  Unfortunately too many AECOO participants and stakeholders need build their level of awareness of the above vs. ad-hoc and antagonistic processes such as design-bid-build, or even design-build.  The latter is a good attempt to be IPD-like, but is not IPD.




The development and  application of robust standardized terms, taxonomies, hierarchies, etc. will enable BLM/BIM.  We need to move faster to deal with critical global Economic and Environment realities (global warming, diminishing natural resources, new competitive landscape …).


  • Terms – language
  • Syntax – make deductions from language
  • Semantics – interpretation of languages
  • Taxonomy – classification system
  • Ontology – meaning-making system
  • World Theatre – social system


BIM Basics 2014 – Building Information Modeling, Models, and Management

BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by technology.  As such, its ultimate purpose is to manage total cost of ownership (TCO).

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)/Lifecycle Cost :Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a dollar per square foot value ($#/square foot) associated with a facility. It is a calculation of all facilities-specific costs (not including furnishings or non-facility specific equipment) divided by estimated lifespan of the building (30 or 50 years), and the total gross area. Facilities specific costs include all construction, preservation, maintenance, and operations costs. A strategic asset management practice that considers all costs of operations and maintenance, and other costs, in addition to acquisition costs. TCO, therefore includes the representation of the sum total of the present value of all direct, indirect, recurring and non-recurring costs incurred or estimated to be incurred in the design, development, production, operation, maintenance of an facility/structure/asset over its anticipated lifespan. (Inclusive of site/utilities, new construction, deferred maintenance, preventive/routine maintenance, renovation, compliance, capital renewal,and occupancy costs.) Again, note that land values are specifically excluded.

Is this an appropriate metric?  Are there others?

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2014 – Owners Need to Step It Up and Get Serious about BIM / BLM – Life-cycle Management of the Built Environment

It’s time for Owners to stop the marketing… Stop hyping their LEED  Silver or “Whatever” Buildings… and actually participate in life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.   This is the real BIM / BLM  (built-environment life-cycle management) and it’s critical to the financial, economic and mission goals of many/most organizations.

Improved decision making with respect to construction, repair, renovation, operations, and sustainability of the built environment, as well as associated efficient construction project delivery has several basic requirements.

1.   Recognition and consistent implementation of built-environment life-cycle management (BLM) “best practices” relative to business processes, workflows, requisite competencies, technologies, information management requirements, and associated metrics.

2.  Standardized robust terms, definitions, and inter-relationships for all associated built environment practice areas and/or competencies.

3.  A focus upon life-cycle costs vs. first costs in terms finance and environmental impact.

4.  Collaborative project delivery methods and practices such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Job Order Contracting, (JOC), and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) vs. traditional ad-hoc and antagonistic methods such as design-bid-build (DBB) or interim methods such as design build (DB).

5.  Continuous monitoring and improvement.

Owners pay the bills are ultimately responsible for managing the built environment efficiently.  It’s beyond time that many/most Owners get started!


Time to Restart, Reinvent BIM … BLM… Built-environment Life-cycle Managment?

If one had to name the single most important aspect of BIM, I would select the project delivery method.   Collaborative methods are a requirement.  They set the tone, establish responsibilities, and determine if/how information is shared (as well as when and the format)… and ultimately determine the success or failure.  The good news is they are not new and they are proven.  The bad is that the market has cultural objection to change and to sharing.   Examples of collaborative methods are Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, Job Order Contracting, JOC, Public Private Partnerships, PPP, etc.

Equally important is a life-cycle view vs. first cost mentality.  This provides true value for everyone and removes the disadvantages associated with low bid.

I have been blessed to be able to work with the largest Owners across all market sectors as well as contractors, subs, and AEs of all sizes.  My focus is upon both the strategic aspects of life-cycle management and tactical implementation supported by technology and robust data architectures. 

As we all know, there’s a lot of dysfunction in the AECOO market,   Folks continue to attempt to reinvent the wheel despite proven business best practices, vendors (especially software) mislead by saying the “do everything”…especially the IWMS folks.  Also the BIM focus has largely focused upon 3D visualization and many don’t even understand life-cycle management, requirements, and/or metrics.

The 3D visualization aspect BIM has little true value at the moment other that pretty pictures, crash detection, and prefabrication (specific material vendors).

BIM is really BLM (built-environment life-cycle management) and therefore must support a as framework of collaborative project delivery.   Many/most current methods and models only support linear and/or serial processes vs. parallel co-existent cycles.



A BIM / BLM primary issue that has been largely avoided to date is the lack of a robust BLM (built-environment life-cycle management) ONOTLOGY.     BLM/BIM will continue to be impossible without one.   For starters what is a life-cycle…what are the primary phases…competencies…technologies… metrics…? 
There is a reason BLM/BIM has stagnated… and this is it. 

Is there a BIM/BLM clear mission statement, clear value. proposition,  robust ontology….documented proven business best practices, quantitative metrics… all of these must precede technology. 
Tech is just an enabler for cost-efficient deployment, etc.

BIM Guide for Owners – Building Information Management, Model, Modeling

Citation – Some excepts and content from: Computer Integrated Construction Research Program. (2013). “BIM Planning Guide for Facility Owners”. Version 2.0, June, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA.

The Architectural, Engineering, Construction, and Operations (AECO) Industry has a critical need for facility owners to understand and communicate their goals for implementing BIM throughout the life-cycle of a facility/built structure so that teams can produce the information during a project that will add value to the owner’s business operations.  


Building Information Management, Model and Modeling


BIM is a term which represents three separate but linked functions:

Building Information Management: Is the ORGANIZATION & CONTROL of the business process by utilizing the information in the digital prototype to effect the sharing of information over the entire lifecycle of an asset. The benefits include centralized and visual communication, early exploration of options, sustainability, efficient design, integration of disciplines, site control, as built documentation, etc.–effectively developing an asset lifecycle process and model from conception to final retirement.

Building Information Model: Is the DIGITAL REPRESENTATION of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle from inception onwards.

Building Information Modeling: Is a BUSINESS PROCESS for generating and leveraging building data to design, construct and operate the building during its lifecycle. BIM allows all stakeholders to have access to the same information at the same time through interoperability between technology platforms.

From a BIM planning perspective there are multiple levels to be considered: 

• STRATEGIC PLANNING to assess existing organizational conditions; align BIM
goals and objectives with desired BIM Uses and maturity level; and develop a tran
sition plan for BIM implementation;
• IMPLEMENTATION PLANNING to develop the detailed implementation plan
within the operations of the organization; and
• PROCUREMENT PLANNING to identify key issues to consider when creating
BIM contract requirements.

In reality however, one could easily argue that it is the construction delivery method that dictates the overall success or failure of a project.  Furthermore, collaborative construction delivery methods (examples being IPD – Integrated Project Delivery for major new construction, and JOC – Job Order Contracting for repair, renovation, sustainability, and minor new construction) are probable requirements.  The construction delivery method impacts virtually all aspects of BIM PLANNING ELEMENTS.


Defines the BIM goals and objectives; assesses change readiness; and considers management and resource support.
Identifies the methods in which BIM will be implemented for generating, processing, communicating, executing, and managing information about the owner’s facilities.
Describes the means to accomplish the BIM Uses by documenting the current methods, designing new processes
leveraging BIM, and developing transition plans
Documents the information needs of the organization, including the model element breakdown, level of development, and facility data.
Determines the technology infrastructure to support BIM including computer software, hardware, networks, and physical workspaces.
Establishes the roles, responsibilities, education, and training of the active participants in the BIM processes established.

As might be expected, CHANGE MANAGEMENT is central to successful BIM implementation.



Another important consideration it the type and granularity of information required at this stage of your life-cycle management strategy.


Another way to look at things is the “level of maturity” of your overall BIM process.  This concept incorporates consideration of construction delivery methods, granularity of content, and other factors into some form of rating mechanism.


Another critical aspect is clear definition of terms!   BIM is an evolving discipline so it is critical to define every important term.  Below is  just a short list of terms that should be included in any BIM related project…with clear definitions.

• BIM Champion/Manager
• BIM Project Execution Plan
• BIM Use
• Design Model
• Fabrication Model
• Facility Data
• Federated Model
• Level of Development
• Project Team
• Record Model





BIM (Building Information Management, Modeling, Model) vs. EVM (Earned Value Managment) vs. TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)

BIM, EVM, TCO (or TCM – Total Cost Management) are all inter-related  

BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technologies. 

TCM is effective application of professional and technical expertise to planand control resources, costs, profitability and risks. Simply stated, it is a systematic approach to managing cost throughout the life-cycle of any enterprise, program, facility, project, product, or service. This is accomplished through the application of cost engineering and cost management principles (I assert this aspect is somewhat incorrect…it not only cost engineering and cost managemt principles, but rather the application and integration multi-discipline competencies;…but hey this definition is from the AAECI, so how can I complain?). , proven methodologies and the latest technology in support of the management process. It can also be considered the sum of the practices and processes that an enterprise uses to manage the total life-cycle cost investment in its portfolio of strategic assets.  (Source: (PUBLIC REVIEW DRAFT) AACE® International Recommended Practice No. 82R-13 EARNED VALUE MANAGEMENT (EVM) OVERVIEW AND RECOMMENDED PRACTICES CONSISTENT WITH ANSI EIA-748)



EVM has two critical flaws…

1. No mention of the need for collaborative project delivery methods, examples in construction sector being IPD – Integrate Project Delivery and JOC – Job Order Contracting.  I argue that EVM is little more than an accounting number crunching exercise unless embedded within a collaborative project delivery methods.  (History BTW proves me write on this… just as in the case of ISO 9000, consultant made millions while little true improvement in fundamental business processes was gained).

2. No mention of functional as well as physical metrics.  Both are required in terms of a product, building, etc. 


So, what is needed?

A complete ontology for each sector (built infrastructure, products, etc.).  A life-cycle management strategy noting all required competencies, process, technologies, stakeholder, etc. etc.

For example…


And a rich listing of metrics.


What’s Really Needed to Make BIM Work.

Building Information Management (that’s right forget the “modeling” distraction), BIM, is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.

What is required to accomplish BIM?

1. Commitment, understanding, and knowledge on the part of all stakeholders – Owner, AEs, Contractors, Subs, Product and Service Providers, and Oversight Groups.

2. Robust, collaborative business practices complete with a well defined ontology, metrics, and methods for continuous improvement.

3.  Open standard technology (cloud computing, GIS, CPMS, CAFM, Cost Estimating, Project Delivery, BAS, Visualization) that embeds and supports life-cycle management processes.

Simple right?  Well actually it is, IF AND ONLY IF, Owners drive the process (they pay the bills, period…not AEs, Contractors, Trades) and Suppliers are willing and capable of working in a collaborative BIM environment (not all will be…FACT).

Now for a few specifics… not in any particular order:

Life-cycle management of the built environment requires the integration of disparate information, parties, domains…etc., each having their own value, contribution, level of permanence, etc. in order to define the scope, schedule,  cost/budget (initial and life-cycle)  budget, performance, value of a project or potential project.

Progress measurement analysis and control  is continuous, as are decision-making and decision-support activities.

Behaviors and domains spans: Organizational, Planning, Budgeting, Accounting, Architecture, Construction, Technology, and Legal.  Change management is likely the most significant barrier to entry for BIM, as other issues are trivial in comparison.

Fundamental life-cycle phases and strategies are applicable:  Analyze (Develop and maintain measurement tools) , Plan (For progress and performance measurement), Execute (design, procure, construct, maintain, repair, renew, adapt, deconstruction, reuse…  track resources, measure progress, track resource, review/report progress … physical and functional aspects).

What “tools” are needed? Well, for starters, a standardized set of the following:

Overall Life-cycle and/or Total Cost of Ownership process and glossary of terms/ontology

Robust, collaborative construction delivery methods (Integrate Project Delivery – IPD, Job Order Contacting – JOC, Private Public Partnerships – PPP)

List of Items and Item Classifications and Parameters (function, measurements, performance, …)

Cost Data Architecture / Cost Classifications / Cost Types  – Materials, Equipment, Labor, Environmental, Life-Safety

Metrics: Physical and Functional and associated Assessment Methods and Criteria




Smart Market Report – The Business Value of BIM for Construction in the Major Global Markets: How Contractors Around the World Are Driving Innovation with Building Information Modeling

How many of you find this report misleading?

BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.

Are 71% of US/North America respondents are practicing BIM”?   Is this true?  Or has someone in the organization purchased 3D visualization software and/or worked with someone who has?   3D visualization is not BIM.

Does anyone out there really believe that “BIM is reaching maturity among contractors in Europe and North America”?

Many/most respondent don’t have the tools to practice BIM or even understand the critical “best practices” or processes to achieve BIM.

Like many reports and discussions of BIM, this survey apparently fails to clearly define BIM to survey participants.  Isn’t it time to get smarter about BIM?


Construction Market Perfomance and Construction Market Forecast

Construction Spending Improves in February

04/26/2013 by Bernard M. Markstein (source: Reed Construction Data 2013 – Construction eWire, reblogged by 4Clicks Solutions, LLC – Premier cost estimating and efficient construction delivery management software for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, SATCO, MATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS, and more.

Total Construction Spending and its Major Components
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that total construction spending rebounded 1.2% in February to $885.1 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) following a 2.1% drop in January. However, spending numbers for December and January were revised down $9.0 billion and $8.5 billion, respectively, and were 1.0% lower than the previously reported numbers for each month. Year-to-date (January and February) not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction spending was up 6.6% compared to the same period in 2012.

Nonresidential building construction rose 0.6% to $297.8 billion (SAAR) in February after decreasing 1.1% in January. Year-to-date spending was 0.6% (NSA) higher than in 2012.

Heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending made a modest recovery from January’s sharp decline of 5.3%, rising 0.9% to $277.8 billion (SAAR) in February. January’s drop was due to a huge jump in power construction spending in an effort to take advantage of expiring tax credits in November and December. Excluding power construction spending, heavy construction spending increased 0.7% in January and 0.9% in February. Year-to-date heavy engineering (including power) NSA spending increased 2.1% from the same period in 2012.

Total residential construction spending, which includes improvements, increased 2.0% in February to $309.6 billion (SAAR) after no change in January. New residential construction spending, which excludes improvements, advanced 3.0% after jumping 3.9% in January. Year-to-date NSA total residential construction spending was 19.2% higher, and new residential construction was 33.8% higher than the same period in 2012.

U.S. Total Construction Spending
(billions of U.S. current dollars)
Current Monthly (1)
(latest actual values)
3-Month Moving Average Year-to-Date (NSA)
Dec-12 Jan-13 Feb-13 Dec-12 Jan-13 Feb-13 Jan-12 to
Jan-13 to
New Single-family 146.3 151.6 158.1 144.1 147.5 152.0 15.5 20.6
  Month-over-Month % Change 1.3% 3.6% 4.3% 2.4% 2.3% 3.1%
  Year-over-year % Change (NSA) 29.5% 31.2% 34.6% 30.0% 30.5% 31.7% 8.7% 32.8%
New Multifamily (2) 31.8 33.5 32.6 30.6 31.9 32.6 3.6 5.0
4.6% 5.3% -2.7% 3.8% 4.2% 2.3%
35.0% 41.9% 34.5% 20.4% 41.9% 38.1% 9.3% 38.1%
New Residential (3) 178.1 185.1 190.6 174.7 179.4 184.6 19.1 25.6
1.9% 3.9% 3.0% 2.6% 2.7% 2.9%
30.5% 33.1% 34.6% 30.3% 31.4% 32.7% 8.8% 33.8%
Residential Improvements (4) 125.4 118.4 118.9 130.6 125.0 120.9 14.5 14.5
-4.5% -5.6% 0.5% -1.7% -4.3% -3.3%
3.9% -1.2% 1.2% 10.8% 4.4% 1.4% 2.6% -0.1%
Total Residential (5) (6) 303.5 303.4 309.6 305.3 304.4 305.5 33.6 40.1
-0.9% 0.0% 2.0% 0.7% -0.3% 0.4%
18.4% 18.2% 20.3% 21.1% 19.3% 18.9% 6.0% 19.2%
Nonresidential Building 299.5 296.1 297.8 299.9 297.9 297.8 43.4 43.7
0.5% -1.1% 0.6% 0.2% -0.7% 0.0%
0.1% 1.0% 0.2% 2.5% 1.1% 0.4% 12.9% 0.6%
Heavy Engineering (Non-Building) 290.5 275.2 277.8 282.2 284.7 281.2 35.6 36.4
0.8% -5.3% 0.9% 2.8% 0.9% -1.2%
15.7% 1.6% 2.6% 11.5% 11.1% 7.1% 14.8% 2.1%
Total (6) 893.6 874.8 885.1 887.4 887.0 884.5 112.6 120.1
0.1% -2.1% 1.2% 1.2% -0.1% -0.3%
10.7% 6.4% 6.9% 11.3% 9.9% 8.1% 11.4% 6.6%
(1) Monthly levels are seasonally adjusted at annual rates (SAAR figures).
(2) New Multifamily = New Private Multifamily + New Public Multifamily – Public Improvements (estimated by Reed Economics)
(3) New Residential = New Single-family + New Multifamily
(4) Residential Improvements include remodeling, renovation and replacement work.
Number also includes RCD estimate of improvements to public housing.
(5) Total Residential = New Single-family + New Multifamily + Residential Improvements.
(6) Total may not equal the sum of its components due to rounding.
Source: Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Total public construction spending rose for the second month in a row, up a seasonally adjusted (SA) 0.9% in February after increasing 0.2% in January. However, year-to-date NSA public construction spending was 3.8% lower than in the same period in 2012.

Total private construction spending increased 1.3% in February after plunging 3.1% in January. Nonetheless, year-to-date NSA private construction spending was 11.5% higher than in 2012.

Public and Private Construction Spending
(billions of U.S. current dollars)
Current Monthly (1)
(latest actual values)
3-Month Moving Average Year-to-Date (NSA) Annual
Dec-12 Jan-13 Feb-13 Dec-12 Jan-13 Feb-13 Jan-12 to
Jan-13 to
2010 2011 2012
Public Spending 269.0 269.6 272.1 272.6 271.0 270.2 35.9 34.5 304.0 283.3 275.7
  Month-over-Month % Change -2.0% 0.2% 0.9% -0.7% -0.6% -0.3%
  Year-over-year % Change (NSA) -6.5% -3.3% -4.2% -3.5% -4.4% -4.8% -2.4% -3.8% -3.5% -3.5% -3.5%
Private Spending 624.7 605.2 613.0 614.9 616.0 614.3 76.8 85.6 500.6 495.0 578.8
1.1% -3.1% 1.3% 2.1% 0.2% -0.3%
19.1% 10.8% 12.1% 19.1% 17.0% 14.2% 19.2% 11.5% -14.9% -14.9% -14.9%
Monthly levels are seasonally adjusted at annual rates (SAAR figures).
Source: Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Economy
The employment report for March was disappointing. The data showed a scant 88,000 increase in nonfarm payroll jobs for the month. That is the smallest increase since June 2012. It follows the largest monthly gain — 268,000 — since February 2012. Some solace can be taken in that the March number is subject to revision. The January payroll number was revised up 29,000 jobs, and the February number was revised up 32,000 jobs.

Care should always be exercised when looking at just one month’s report. February’s increase was a surprise on the upside. The average for the February and March increases is 178,000 jobs, roughly in line with the average monthly increase of 180,000 jobs for the six months prior to that. Also, special circumstances may have held the employment number down. Federal jobs fell by 14,000 — 12,000 of which were due to reductions in U.S. Postal Service employment.

Still, the low number bears watching. It is unlikely that the disappointing report was solely due to federal budget cuts from sequestration, but sequestration may well have been a contributing factor. Although there were no direct layoffs in the federal government due to sequestration, many private firms involved in government contracts have indicated they are holding hiring in abeyance and are not renewing some employment contracts. Likewise, many federal departments and agencies have slowed or stopped hiring due to sequestration.

On the positive side, construction employment saw an increase of 18,000 jobs — the tenth month in a row that construction employment increased. On a year-over-year basis, construction employment was up 174,000 jobs.

Overall, the United States economy appears to be healthy and able to move forward despite many impediments and risks. One of the impediments to faster growth is sequestration. To date, sequestration’s effects have been limited, but are expected to grow over the next several months as the cutbacks in federal spending are instituted and the effects spread throughout the economy. Recession in much of Europe also hurts U.S. growth by limiting our exports to that region of the world.

Major risks on the horizon include the expiration of the temporary federal debt ceiling in mid-May and likely battles over funding the federal government’s operations beyond fiscal 2013, which concludes at the end of September 2013.

Despite these impediments and risks, there are positive forces helping lift the economy. These include historically low interest rates and the improving housing market. The Reed forecast is based on the economy continuing to advance at a moderate pace.

Risks to the Economy and the Forecast
Major risks to the economy include:

  • Expiration of the temporary federal debt ceiling without an extension or putting a higher debt ceiling in place
  • Sharp reductions in government spending in the short term rather than phasing in cuts over a number of years
  • Sovereign debt default by one or more European governments
  • One or more European governments abandoning the euro
  • A sudden, significant increase in oil prices for a prolonged period

The result of any one of these risks occurring would be to reduce economic growth and to increase the probability of recession. It would also mean lower commercial construction spending than currently in the Reed Construction Data forecast.

The Forecast
The Reed Construction Data forecast assumes that the above risks are avoided. Total construction spending is forecast to grow 7.3% this year and 9.7% in 2014.

U.S. Total Construction Spending
(billions of U.S. current dollars)
Actual Forecast
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
New Single-family 105.3 112.6 108.2 129.3 162.0 187.1
   Year-over-year % Change -43.3% 6.9% -3.9% 19.5% 25.4% 15.5%
New Multifamily (1) 35.9 24.1 22.6 27.2 35.0 39.9
-30.0% -32.9% -6.0% 20.4% 28.4% 14.1%
New Residential (2) 141.2 136.7 130.8 156.5 197.0 227.0
-40.4% -3.2% -4.3% 19.6% 25.9% 15.2%
Residential Improvements (3) 112.7 112.5 114.9 125.6 123.1 135.8
-6.6% -0.2% 2.2% 9.3% -1.9% 10.3%
Total Residential (4) (5) 253.9 249.1 245.7 282.0 320.1 362.9
-29.0% -1.9% -1.4% 14.8% 13.5% 13.4%
Nonresidential Building 375.7 290.4 283.1 299.1 307.2 333.3
-14.2% -22.7% -2.5% 5.6% 2.7% 8.5%
Heavy Engineering (Non-Building) 273.5 265.0 249.4 273.4 289.9 309.8
0.5% -3.1% -5.9% 9.6% 6.0% 6.9%
Total (5) 903.2 804.6 778.2 854.5 917.2 1,006.0
-15.4% -10.9% -3.3% 9.8% 7.3% 9.7%
(1) New Multifamily = New Private Multifamily + New Public Multifamily – Public Improvements
(estimated by Reed Economics)
(2) New Residential = New Single-family + New Multifamily
(3) Residential Improvements include remodeling, renovation and replacement work.
Number also includes RCD estimate of improvements to public housing.
(4) Total Residential = New Single-family + New Multifamily + Residential Improvements.
(5) Total may not equal the sum of its components due to rounding.
Source: Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce. Forecast: Reed Construction Data