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MEP BIM 2016 Survey Results

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

This is the seventh year we have conducted our annual survey on the use of building information modeling (BIM) by engineers and designers in the MEP industry. Here is what we have learned:

  • Use of BIM for 3D collision detection has not changed in 7 years.
  • Expectations of use of BIM for 3D collision detection in the future continues to decrease compared to previous years.
  • Use of BIM for other purposes appears to not be changing, but more years of data are needed.

Complete results from the survey in 2010201120122013, 2014, and 2015 are available online.

Demographics

These results are based upon 58 respondents from the United States. The handful of respondents from outside the United States were filtered out of the results.

The following graphs show the size and types of the companies that respondents work at. Most of the respondents work at large companies. Most of the respondents work at consulting companies.

10-company-size

15-mep-size

20-industry

Different Ways BIM is Used

The first result we will look at is various ways BIM has been used on projects. We have been tracking four uses of BIM since the start of our survey: 3D collision detection, automated design, material takeoffs, and green design. We also have been tracking companies that do not use BIM at all.

Prior to 2015, we asked, “Select all the ways your company uses BIM on projects.” We changed the wording of this question a little bit last year. We asked, “Select the percentage of your projects that you use BIM for this specific purpose on projects”. Using 0% as “no” and anything else as “yes”, we were able to compare all the years.

The change in wording caused a significant jump in the use of BIM for material takeoffs and green building design.

There appears to be a trend of increasing use of BIM for 3D collision detection and automated design.

60-bim-type-comparison

3D Collision Detection

The next result we will look at is the specific use of BIM for 3D collision detection. Each year we have asked what percentage of projects use BIM for 3D collision detection.

This first graph shows the current use of 3D collision detection for each year since 2010. The shape of the line is largely unchanged from year to year. The overall use of BIM for 3D collision detection has remained the same for the last seven years.

(These graphs can be a little confusing at first. The x-axis is the answer the survey respondent gave to the question. The y-axis is the number of respondents who gave that answer. For example, at the far left of the graph, 16% of respondents use 3D collision detection on none of their projects in 2016. At the far right, 7% of respondents use 3D collision detection on all of their projects in 2016.)

75-3d-bim-today-comparison

The next graph shows the expected use of 3D collision detection in the future for each year since 2010. The percentage of respondents who thought all of their future projects would use BIM for 3D collision detection was around 30% for the first three years of the survey (2010-2012). In 2013, that value dropped to around 20% and has stayed at about that value. This year, that value dropped even lower, to 12%.

115-3d-bim-future-comparison

The final graph compares the actual use of 3D collision detection in 2016 with what was anticipated three years ago in 2013. The actual use is less than what was anticipated. This result is the same as what we have seen the last three years.

0-3d-bim-prediction

Once again, we repeat this year the result we stated in 2013: far fewer projects today include 3D collision detection than people predicted 3 years ago. We expect the actual use of BIM for 3D collision detection to remain the same in the future.

Previously, people were continuing to overestimate it’s use in the future. It looks like expectations are now coming down to match current use.

Other Uses of BIM

Next we have a snapshot of all the ways people are using BIM for MEP design this year. These questions were new last year. With two years of data we can start to see trends for these uses, but there is not enough data to support any strong conclusions. It will be two more years before we can compare the predictions from last year with the actual use.

Any BIM On a Project: We intentionally did not define BIM for this question. It was left up to the respondent to decide what “BIM” meant and whether it applied to their projects.

The use of BIM compared to last year appears largely unchanged. There is some expectation of increased use in the future, but not a lot.

prediction-any

Automate Design and Calculations: This use of BIM should not depend upon anyone else on the project using BIM. You can size a duct, a feeder conductor, or a pipe whether or not the architect or structural engineer provide you with their model. This use is one where every project could benefit from BIM.

This use has increased slightly this year. The expectation of future use is close to current use.

prediction-calcs

Construction Documents: This use of BIM also should not depend upon anyone else on the project using BIM. Having a model from the architect should help, but it is not necessary. This use is also one where every project could benefit from BIM. This use fell this year.

There is some expectation of increased use in the future, but not a lot.

prediction-construction-docs

Material Takeoffs: To use a material takeoff or cost estimate, you typically need to be doing the design and the construction. When these tasks are separated, companies are hesitant to share data out of fear of liability. Even when both tasks are performed by the same company, the model needs to be able to be created early enough in the process for this information to have any value.

This use is unchanged from last year. There is some expectation of increased use in the future, but not a lot.

prediction-takeoffs

Green Building Design: Green building design is a hot topic, but not a very common use for BIM. A lot of green design is about design choices (daylighting of rooms or choice of mechanical equipment) that BIM cannot help the engineer with. Once the choice is made, BIM can be used to model it, but there is no magic “make my building green” button.

This use is unchanged from last year. The expectation of future use is close to current use.

prediction-green

Revit Model: Revit is a specific implementation of BIM. It is often requested by specific companies and government agencies as a final deliverable for a project.

This use is unchanged from last year. The expectation of future use is close to current use.

prediction-revit

Simulation and Animation: This category was added because a few respondents mentioned it as a use in previous years. It does not appear to be very popular.

This use is unchanged from last year. The expectation of future use is close to current use.

prediction-simulation

Prefabrication: This category was also mentioned by respondents in previous years. Overall, it is not very popular.

This use is unchanged from last year. The expectation of future use is close to current use.

prediction-prefab

Fees: Finally, we asked whether respondents charged more when asked to use BIM for these various purposes. There is not much change in these values this year.

fee

The Use of BIM is Not Changing

The number of projects that use BIM for 3D collision detection has not changed in seven years. The use of 3D collision detection in the MEP industry is stable and will not change in the future. Projects that benefit from 3D collision detection are already using it. Projects that do not currently benefit from 3D collision detection will not start benefiting from it in the future.

Last year, our hypothesis was that the other uses of BIM are also stable and will not change in the future. We think other uses of BIM are like 3D collision detection. BIM software is mature enough today that if BIM is going to help on a project, it is already being used on it. If BIM is not going to help today, it won’t help in the future. The use of BIM in three years will match the use of BIM today.

Based upon our results from our new questions so far, it appears likely that this hypothesis is correct. We will know more as we continue to run the survey in future years.

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