Building Information Modelling: Point of Adoption


by Bilal Succar & Mohamad Kassem


Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the current expression of construction industry innovation generating a wide range of augmented market deliverables, new requirements and emergent roles. For organizations to cross the innovation chasm, they need to progressively implement complementary tools, workflows and protocols. Such multifaceted implementation is not instantaneous but passes through recursive periods of implementation readiness, capability acquisition, and performance maturity. Similarly, BIM diffusion within organizations is not a frictionless derivative of BIM implementation, but a function of competition dynamics and institutional isomorphic pressures. While there are a number of academic studies and industry surveys covering organisational readiness, software implementation or innovation diffusion, there is no single conceptual model to describe, explain and test BIM adoption as a single construct connecting all these concepts. Based on published research and experiential knowledge, this paper introduces the Point of Adoption (PoA) model which integrates these concepts into a single visual model. The PoA model – not only clarifies the connection between these concepts but – facilitates the assessment of current organisational abilities, and clarifies a step-wise approach to BIM adoption and continuous performance improvement.

3.1 BIM Implementation

Implementation refers to the wilful activities of an identifiable player1 as it adopts a novel system/process to improve its current performance. More specifically, BIM implementation refers to the set of activities undertaken by an organizational unit to prepare for, deploy or improve its BIM deliverables (products) and their related workflows (processes). BIM implementation is introduced here as a three-phased approach separating an organization’s readiness to adopt; capability to perform; and its performance maturity:

  •   BIM readiness is the pre-implementation status representing the propensity of an organization or organisational unit to adopt BIM tools, workflows and protocols. Readiness is expressed2 as the level of preparation, the potential to participate, or the capacity to innovate. Readiness can be measured using a variety of approaches – product- based, process-based, and overall maturity (Saleh & Alshawi, 2005) – and signifies the planning and preparation activities preceding implementation;
  •   BIM capability is the wilful implementation of BIM tools, workflows and protocols. BIM capability is achieved through well-defined revolutionary stages (object-based modelling, model-based collaboration, and network-based integration) separated by numerous evolutionary steps (Succar, 2009). BIM capability covers many technology, process and policy topics and is expressed as the minimum ability of an organization or team to deliver a measureable outcome; and
  •   BIM maturity (or post-implementation) is the gradual and continual improvement in quality, repeatability and predictability within available capabilities. BIM maturity is expressed as maturity levels (or performance improvement milestones) that organizations, teams and whole markets aspire to. There are five maturity levels: [a] Ad- hoc or low maturity; [b] Defined or medium-low maturity; [c] Managed or medium maturity; [d] Integrated or medium-high maturity; and [e] Optimised or high maturity (Succar, 2010).

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