Institution of Structural Engineers survey reveals small business BIM concerns

The Institution of Structural Engineers has released the results of a survey examining attitudes to Building Information Modelling (BIM) among the structural engineering profession in the United Kingdom.

The survey, which received over 900 responses from the Institution of Structural Engineers’ practising UK membership, was organised to gauge attitudes in advance of the first ever BIM conference specifically for structural engineers, which was held on 3 September at the Institution’s London Headquarters.

Among the survey respondents, 53% were from companies with over 50 employees, while 29% were from businesses of ten employees or less. 9% were from companies of 11-20 employees and 9% from companies of 20-50 employees.

The survey highlighted the challenges which BIM implementation presents for small businesses:

  • 73% of all those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that BIM implementation presents serious cost and commercial challenges for small businesses
  • 76% of respondents from businesses under 10 employees said they are just starting their BIM journey and have little understanding of the finer details.
  • Only 9.6% of respondents from businesses under 10 employees said clients regularly ask about their company’s use of BIM, (Compared to almost 50% of respondents from businesses with over 50 employees).
  • 66% of respondents from businesses under 10 employees agreed or strongly agreed that the government BIM initiative will make it harder for small businesses to compete for government contracts.

Other key findings of the survey included:

  1. 71% of all those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that BIM is here to stay and that in the future clients will expect it to be incorporated into their work.
  2. 61% of all those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that BIM will improve current structural engineering practise.
  3. 58% of all those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that BIM implementation presents significant opportunity for new business and improved efficiency.
  4. 56% of all those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that there is a lack of clarity about what Level 2 BIM actually is.

Martin Powell, Chief Executive of the Institution of Structural Engineers said:

“On behalf of the Institution I would like to thank our members for their tremendous response to this survey. It has provided us with a clear impression of the challenges and opportunities BIM is creating in the structural engineering profession, and delivered invaluable context for our inaugural BIM conference.

“Both our conference and survey made clear that BIM still means different things to different people and still creates uncertainty about how and when it is best employed. What is certain is that working with BIM will mean a transformation in traditional working methods across the construction industry.

“What is also apparent is a clear divide between large and small consultancies, with larger organisations taking the lead on BIM. The question now is: what if any opportunities does BIM offer small and medium enterprises? Further, how can we improve education on the subject to identify positive steps which smaller businesses can take to make a success of BIM?”

For a complete guide to the findings of the Institution of Structural Engineers’ 2013 BIM survey visit www.istructe.org/news