Surveying and information technology provider Leica Geosystems has released a whitepaper into Building Information Modelling (BIM), calling for wider and more collaborative adoption.

Leica argues for more collaboration in BIM use. © W Scullin CC BY 2.0

"Digital Construction: The Shift to Digital Construction" enthuses about the benefits of BIM technologies and practices. However, Leica also notes that industry adoption of BIM is in an early stage, and its full value is yet to be realised. It puts forward a general case for collaborative Building Information Modelling, albeit without providing any specific examples of practices, technologies or projects.

Readers will find nothing new in the document; but as an introduction to the concept of BIM it may interest some.

According to Leica, "the construction industry is on the up with forecasts suggesting sustained growth up to 2030, but the cost of delivery is getting higher."

The whitepaper argues that "digital construction presents an opportunity to make operations more productive and capitalise on market growth… [and] help bring projects in on time and on budget by making everyone involved more productive and eliminating mistakes."

It defines BIM as "creating and managing digital information of a construction project at every stage of its lifecycle, enabling everyone involved to have visibility, share information, collaborate and work to the same principles."

"A simple example is the tape measure, a historically trusted tool carried by almost every person in the construction environment, which relies on manual measurements and individual interpretations. Instead of jotting it down on paper, then sharing with relevant colleagues, businesses can now use digital tools to take an exact measurement, digitally record it and then send it off to the appropriate recipient in real time, without delay or risk of error."

While these benefits are "incremental", Leica argues that they can be compounded and cascaded across a project and stakeholders. However, BIM practices are often "only being used at the early stages of design and construction."

The whitepaper goes on to provide a brief overview of BIM practices and their benefits at every stage of construction, from surveying through earthworks to completion and maintenance. These include accuracy and speed, winning contracts, and better health and safety profiles for projects. Leica notes also the UK's "BIM mandate", which it suggests may be replicated across Europe.

The whitepaper concludes that "while many companies feel they have adopted BIM because a digital model of a project exists, one of the key principles of BIM, collaboration, is not necessarily happening in practice."