All manner of industries are witnessing a paradigm shift with the introduction and implementation of innovative technology. The construction industry is no exception. Ever since its introduction and especially over the last few years, BIM Technology has transformed the way the construction industry operates. Many countries like the UK have made the use of BIM mandatory for large-scale public projects.
The impact of BIM drives optimum utilization of the resources as well as greater productivity and profitability. The Indian construction industry is catching up with the utilization of BIM technology, but it has its fair share of challenges.
Mr. CB Amarnath, Founder, India BIM Association has this to say, “We have about 30-40K people who are using BIM for projects, but most of the people providing these services are for the global markets, there are a very few who are providing the services for Indian projects largely because they are not able to convince clients about the benefits of BIM. When we talk about the level of development, it’s mainly for modeling, scheduling, estimation, and not for construction tracking or FM usage, etc. There is a need for providing information about how this can be adopted for various stages of projects.”
BIM Adoption Challenges in India
BIM has been around for nearly two decades but has recently become more mainstream in the professional consciousness. The adoption of BIM technology has been slower than expected in India due to some inherent challenges. Here are some significant hurdles that BIM adoption in the Indian construction industry faces:
1. Lack of Expertise
The biggest challenge faced by the construction industry for BIM adoption is the lack of widespread expertise. Some organizations (like Excelize) do provide specialized BIM services. But it’s fair to say that the majority of India’s construction companies do not have many employees who are qualified or knowledgeable enough to integrate BIM and construction projects seamlessly. The lack of in-house expertise results in BIM experiments. Projects suffer from inefficiency and loss of profits due to increased operating costs. This creates the perception that the technology is hard to adopt.
2. Lack of Awareness
The second most significant hurdle is the lack of awareness regarding BIM technology. In a country as vast as India, there’s no dearth of construction projects – both public and private. But it is still true that a significant part of the real estate industry is not attuned to the most modern construction practices. There is a lack of awareness of the implementation of BIM and the potential benefits. This translates into a lack of management support or sponsorship, without which no strategic initiative can become successful.
3. Cost-effectiveness for small projects
BIM has more than proved its mettle in big projects by saving humungous amounts of money by reducing operating and inventory costs. However, this cannot always be said for smaller projects. These projects lend themselves easily to more intuitive and experience-driven decision making. The penalty for mistakes is also smaller as are the budgets. This makes it less attractive to implement BIM with its operating costs and effort commitments. Hiring experts and training the existing workforce involves significant investments. The small and medium size construction companies see this as an expense rather than an investment as they are less likely to see the long-term benefits of investing in BIM services.
4. Resistance to change
A growing fraction of construction companies have adopted BIM for their construction projects. But implementing BIM also necessitates a change in the operations of the construction company. Better planning means greater responsibility for perfect execution. There is less room for error and hence greater pressure to perform. All these factors contribute to resistance to adopt technological change. Companies that worry about the cultural impact prefer to operate traditionally instead of investing in training the existing workforce or hiring a new workforce that is more in tune with the BIM-driven approach.
5. Lack of cooperation between stakeholders
The most significant advantage of BIM technology is the integration of the workflow of all the involved stakeholders. Now, this involves high levels of collaboration from the interested parties. This is a significant challenge that only becomes greater as the project becomes bigger. Large infrastructure projects have multiple teams associated with specific point responsibilities. Quite often the involved parties lack the will to cooperate. Conflicts arising due to noncooperation between the stakeholders make it difficult to carry out work -BIM-led or not.
Successful BIM adoption demands a level of expertise within the organization. It mandates a change in the organization’s way of working. The cost and effort of leveraging BIM have restricted its impact to the larger, more visionary companies and projects. That said, this is the direction the world is moving in and India has to catch up. It’s time for India’s construction industry to get the BIM power.