Who is the International Leader in Virtual Construction?
It never fails. I will travel to an industry event somewhere in the world and a builder will ask, “How does BIM in construction differ in ‘Country-X’ versus here? Are builders there farther along the adoption curve or behind us?”
A complete answer to that question is going to offend someone because some region/society/group is always “leading” and some other is always “trailing.” My usual answer is, “Go there yourself and find out.” (Which, I’ve learned, is equally unpopular, but it does shorten the conversation.) There are, however, interesting characteristics associated with those countries whose constructors lead this trend. And there are certain characteristics associated with those regions that lag the pack. On a recent plane ride I made some notes, and in this post I offer my list.
Characteristics That Influence International Leadership
in Virtual Construction
(in no particular order)
A Society’s Litigiousness
Industry & Higher Education Partnerships
Degree to Which Competition is Open/Transparent
Culturally Programmed Problem Solving: Plan versus Experiment
Ratio of Government-to-Private Sector Spending and Degree of Regulation
Before discussing a few of the above characteristics, I’d like to point out some notably absent traits. Like a country’s construction market size. Or the customary role of the Architect (which varies widely around the world). Also notably absent from my list is whether a country is home to a leading BIM technology company. (Leave it to a technology person like me to notice…)
So now to the list. I hope the influence of each Characteristic is self-explanatory. You can probably guess what constitutes good and what constitutes bad on each scale. So I won’t take the time to discuss them all here. But I will comment on two of my favorites…..
Litigiousness plays out much as you might guess. If the project team habitually relies on lawyers to solve their problems, there is not much incentive to drive new methodologies like Virtual Construction into the project. Highly litigious societies are held back, and less litigious societies have a better chance of leadership. This holds true up to a point. Taking the USA (definitely a litigious society) as an example, it appears that decades of legal fees and client dissatisfaction have driven the industry to a tipping point. The backlash is led by a super-involved generation of owners whose appetite for positive change is accelerating the adoption of BIM. So too much of a bad thing can eventually lead to a good thing!
One’s approach to problem solving has a big impact on Virtual Construction leadership. Whether we are talking about a region, a country, a culture, or a single construction firm there are norms associated with the way they routinely approach problem solving. On my scale, there are ‘planners’ at one end and ‘experimenters’ at the other. And when it comes to Virtual Construction, experimenters are leading. The reasons are entirely clear as construction projects are complex undertakings involving many disparate firms and interests. Combine that with the relative infancy of BIM in construction and you can appreciate that one can plan only so far ahead. Those implementers who cannot take the first step without a three-year roadmap immediately become non-implementers. The experimenters, however, are undeterred. They try things one step at a time and course correct as they go. The time for long-term planning based on codified experience and intellect will come, but right now international leaders are experimenting their way forward, and it is producing great results.
Reference : http://www.vicosoftware.com