ConstructionPro Week, Volume: Construction Advisor Today - Issue: 123 - 09/02/2011

Extent to Which States Will Require BIM for Public Facilities Remains Unclear

It is still unclear just how many states will follow Wisconsin’s lead and require the use of building information modeling (BIM) on certain public projects within their jurisdictions.


More than two years have passed since Wisconsin’s landmark move to require the use of BIM on all projects totaling more than $5 million in cost and new construction projects totaling $2.5 million in cost. Although the policy has been deemed a success so far and officials from several states have expressed an interest in BIM, the number of states that ultimately will adopt a comparable policy anytime in the near future remains a mystery. 


In providing an update on other states’ consideration of a comparable BIM policies, Bill Napier, project manager within the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Division of State Facilities (DSF), told Construction Project Controls and BIM Report (CPC/BIM), “The last information I have on Texas (the Texas Facilities Commission) is that they withdrew their BIM requirements. As members of the National Association of State Facilities Administrators (NASFA), we are collaborating with other similar state agencies as we leverage the application of this technology to improve delivery of public construction projects.  We have been contacted by representatives from Massachusetts, Utah, Georgia, Virginia, Washington, and Connecticut, to name a few.” In addition, Ohio has implemented a BIM protocol.

Napier reported that, “in general [within Wisconsin], most of the firms competing and selected for major projects valued at $5 million or more are utilizing this technology successfully. The next steps with the implementation strategy are to assess current guidelines and update in context of technology development and industry capabilities. We won’t be able to fully assess the benefits of the use of BIM until projects are completed.”


There are 22 projects in Wisconsin that have been authorized since July 1, 2009, and meet the criteria for having to comply with DSF’s BIM guidelines, Napier said. Of the 22 projects, four are in the construction phase with most scheduled for construction completion next year. Another four projects are in final design and are being prepared for bidding. Most of the projects, 13, are in preliminary design and are being prepared for Wisconsin Building Commission action to bid and construct. One project is in process of A/E selection.

Napier Provides Additional Details

In his email interview with CPC/BIM, Napier provided the following additional information about Wisconsin’s policy:

CPC/BIM: What penalties, if any, are there for non-compliance?

Napier: There is no penalty. This is a transitional technology and is implemented as a guideline for use in developing traditional plans and specifications. Projects are progressing into construction that were required to use the guidelines.  


CPC/BIM: BIM has been cited for its potential for cost-effectiveness. About how much money does the state expect to save through this requirement?


Napier: The initial cost-effectiveness of the BIM technology is in improved understanding of the design team and owner with respect to visualization and system coordination. This is expected to result in fewer construction change orders and lessened risk for adverse schedule impacts that are generated by owner changes and document coordination errors. We do not have an estimate of the savings.

CPC/BIM: Besides the five types of BIM authoring software that are pre-approved for use (Autodesk Revit Architecture, Structure, and MEP; Bentley Architecture; Graphisoft ArchiCAD; Nemetschek AllPlan; and Tekla Structures), what other software programs, if any, are undergoing consideration? Which software programs, if any, have been rejected and why?


Napier: The guidelines are not intended to be restrictive; they list acceptable software. No software has been rejected.  

CPC/BIM: In your opinion, if this requirement works, what are the chances of BIM being required for additional projects within Wisconsin as well?


Napier: No opinion. We are still in the early stages of implementing this technology.  

Wisconsin’s policy can be accessed via the following link: .


NASFA Official Also Reports State Interest in BIM

NASFA, whose mission is to foster communication and provide leadership in the development and implementation of state facility administration practices, consulted its membership and reported the following stances and developments regarding a BIM policy for public facilities within their states:


Colorado -- “This is not applicable to the state of Colorado.”

Connecticut -- The state is requiring BIM on all design-build projects as well as CMR projects at this time. We place this requirement into the invitation for RFPs and do not have a requirement for other projects at this time. “We do not restrict A/Es to provide us with a BIM model but require 2D bid documents as well.”


Kentucky -- “Yes, we are considering adopting BIM.  We have used BIM on several projects, but we do not yet have a standard policy developed. We haven’t adopted a standard policy.”   


North Dakota -- The state is neither considering nor adopting such a policy.


Ohio -– The state Architect’s Office published a BIM Protocol document to guide state projects and inform other public owners. The protocol is available



”This was developed in response to the recommendations of the Ohio Construction Reform Panel.”


Wisconsin -- The state Department of Administration implemented BIM requirements based on DSF BIM guidelines and standards effective July 1, 2009. “These will be updated as we progress through Digital Facility Management Handover.”



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