MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 3.2.2 - Primary Data

Questionnaires were used to gather primary data. The type of primary data necessary for this research was both of quantitative and qualitative matter. The questionnaires were divided in 6 pages, and written both in English (Annex I) and Spanish (Annex II) to be sure that the low level of knowledge of the English language in Spain (Europapress, 2010) was not a reason for getting less answers from this country. This translation required an extra effort but was seen as a key step, since as we have mentioned on the previous section of this chapter, no reliable secondary data was found regarding the penetration of BIM in Spain in any publication.

A preliminary version of the questionnaires was sent to some test respondents to ensure that the questionnaires were easily understandable and to get some feedback on the type of questions and length of the questionnaires. The feedback received forced the author to simplify and shorten some parts of the questionnaire as well as to state more clearly what the purpose of the survey was and what would be the benefits for the respondents by answering the questions.

The initial page was an introductory page to the questionnaire and to the subject of BIM, to ensure that even those who had no knowledge of what BIM is had a basic understanding of why this topic was being studied.

The second page was intended to collect information regarding the profile of the respondent and the company he/she worked for. Basic information about country, gender age and job type was asked to have a basis to compare the different respondent’s profile. The type and size of the company was also requested. Regarding the size of the company, the definition of the European Commission for micro, small and medium sized companies was used (European Commission, 2009).

Page three wanted to get a basic overview of the attitude of the respondent towards ICT. The author of this dissertation considered this point important to be able to compare the respondent’s attitude towards a more general topic like ICT and the implementation of new processes with their attitude towards the more specific subject of BIM.

The next page, page four, intended to get a basic understanding of the software expertise of the respondent, to know if their opinions about the topic were based on own experience or just on intuition. At the end of page four, a question asking if the respondent had any experience using BIM was used to redirect those who had no experience directly to page six. This way, page five that consisted of questions that only respondents who had used BIM should answer was skipped by those who had never used BIM.

The final page was meant to collect some qualitative information on the views of the respondents about BIM, its usefulness and the challenges that make BIM implementation difficult. Overall feedback about the topic and the questionnaires was requested and the possibility to receive the results via email was offered.

The questionnaires were created using the free platform Google Documents (available at This platform allows the easy creation of survey forms and the results are automatically placed on a spreadsheet that can be exported to Excel or to other statistical analysis programs. The choice of this platform was based on the previous successful use of this platform by the author and on a cost basis. Other online survey applications were analysed, but the chosen one was seen as the most convenient due to its zero costs, ease of use and author’s previous experience with it.

To reach the highest possible number of respondents, the author used all free online means available to him to spread the questionnaires to the maximum number of professionals of the AEC Industry. The questionnaires were sent per email to all the author’s contacts that work on AEC related fields. Additionally, the questionnaires were posted on AEC related online forums and professional groups of the professional networking site “LinkedIn” and, lastly, the author posted a link to the questionnaires on his website (

The author website is a blog styled website that since 2007 has been publishing articles related to the AEC Industry, with special focus on AEC Software tools. With around 800 visitors per day, the website has a quite diverse audience in terms of locations, and most of its readers are from AEC related fields, this was seen as a great opportunity to reach a great number of unknown professionals who could have some valuable insights for this research. The results shown in chapter 4 prove that using this platform was of great relevance due to the number of responses that came from this source.

A list of all used means of spreading the questionnaires amongst AEC Industry professionals is detailed on figure 3.2. This combined methodology, as it will be further explained on the Results and Findings Chapter, has the advantage of reaching a much wider audience. The problem encountered with this combined methodology was that it was almost impossible to get accurate response rate numbers; it is not clear to how many potential respondents did the questionnaires reach. To try to get an estimate of the response rate, the author used a hyperlink tracking service. This type of service, allows tracking the number of people who click on certain link, and thus it allows knowing how many people showed interest in the questionnaires and reaching the starting page. Although this is not the traditional method for calculation the response rates, since it is impossible to know otherwise how many people saw the link or received an email, all response rate estimations will based on this methodology. The estimation of the response rate as well as further details on the methodology used to track it will be explained in detail in the following chapter.

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