MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 1.2- Problem Definition

BIM is argued to be “a catalyst for change, poised to reduce industry's fragmentation, improve its efficiency/effectiveness and lower the high costs of inadequate interoperability” (Succar, 2009: p. 357). Studies show that there has been an important growth on the use of BIM software in the recent years (AIA, 2009; McGraw-Hill, 2008 and McGraw-Hill, 2010).

In the USA, as of 2008 and according to AIA (2009), 34% of registered AIA members have purchased a BIM software package, percentage that doubles the numbers of 3 years before (Ibid). It is important to remember the definition of BIM used on the previous section comprises not only tools but also the adoption of new processes, so the data expressing “use of BIM” has to be analyzed with caution for it is not clear if it refers only to the use of BIM software or to the holistic approach to BIM that this dissertation is interested in.

Regardless of this difficulty analysing the data, the penetration rates (McGraw-Hill, 2010a) show the relevance that the technology is gaining in some countries. But not all countries embrace it at the same pace. As it can be seen on Figure 1.2, North America is ahead of Europe on BIM adoption rates.

Figure 1.2 BIM Adoption Rates in North America and Europe
After McGraw-Hill, 2010a)

On the other hand, and despite the great increase in Journal Articles about BIM in recent years (Figure 1.3), Project Management Literature has tended to ignore the topic of BIM. Only Bansal (2011) and Benjoaran (2009) mention this concept in the International Journal of Project Management. The only mention found on the Project Management Institute literature –the Project Management Journal and PMI organised Conferences- is a conference paper by Lee (2008) that briefly mentions the possible beneficial outcomes of using BIM from the Project Manager point of view.
BIM is becoming a relevant topic of research in recent years (Figure 1.3) but none of this increase in interest on the topic has arrived to PM specialised literature (Table 1.2). Research is thus needed on the role of BIM as a Project Management [PM] tool. Most of the potential benefits of BIM mentioned on the previous section of this chapter are key aspects of the role of a Project Manager (PMI, 2004), for this reason PM literature should no longer ignore this topic and join other scholars on analyzing the potential benefits of implementing BIM in construction projects.

Figure 1.3 Evolution of the Number of Journal Articles Mentioning BIM

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