Article Date: 01/25/2013

How Prevalent is BIM Use among Contractors?

By Steve Rizer


To what degree have contractors actually embraced building information modeling (BIM) technology? Even though a recent McGraw-Hill Construction survey indicated that more contractors (by percentage) are using BIM than architects, some comments that Dee Cramer BIM/CAD Manager Steve Hunt recently made at the Building Innovation 2013 Conference call into question just how deeply BIM has penetrated the contracting community.


Hunt, an instructor for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association’s Chapter Education Program, said “it’s really shocking” that BIM has not made more of an impact among member contractors across the United States.


After teaching approximately 15-18 half-day sessions for the program over the last 2-3 years, Hunt told conference attendees that he has a “really good idea” about the extent to which sheet metal contractors have adopted BIM. The “vast majority” of contractors that he has encountered in this work are struggling to “figure out what hardware and what software [to] buy. Every time I go to another area and I think, ‘Well, this one’s going to be a room full of people that are going to tell me some experiences and teach me something [about BIM],’ there’s maybe one or two people in these settings who are even doing 3D clash detection or drawing their sheet metal or plumbing and piping, or whatever it may be, into 3D BIM-compliant software. So, it’s really shocking.”


Hunt asserted that “there are a ton of contractors out there who have had CAD software, who probably answered to the survey that they’ve been plugged in to BIM, … and they’re drawing with CAD, but they don’t manufacture from it,” Hunt said. “It really surprises me when I go across the country and I talk to these people about what they’re doing. I’m telling ya’, I can’t believe that these tools haven’t been adopted. I understand the reasons why, but it’s hard to believe.”


Also included in Part II of ConstructionPro Week's Building Innovation 2013 coverage (ConstructionPro Network member access):

  • More Comments from Dee Cramer BIM/CAD Manager Steve Hunt
  • Plans for the Capability Maturity Model (CMM)
  • Other Nuggets of Information from the Conference Involving CxAlloy, “BIM Planning Guide for Facility Owners," Onuma Inc., and the "BIM Academic Education Symposium"

To join ConstructionPro Network, click here.



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