It is an exciting time in the global construction industry, and building information modeling (BIM) is accelerating the pace of positive change for contractors of all types, sizes and locations.

Since 2007, McGraw Hill Construction has been closely tracking the business impacts of AEC technology advances through its SmartMarket Report series, with a particular focus on how BIM is transforming the design and construction process in Western Europe, Asia and North America. Over that period construction companies have emerged as the leading drivers of BIM innovation and value.

Our latest BIM SmartMarket Report, "The Business Value of BIM for Construction in Global Markets," focuses specifically on BIM usage by construction companies in nine major global markets. Findings from the report, released last month, include the following:

  • The percentage of their project work that involves BIM, both current and forecast
  • Return on investment (ROI) on their BIM program
  • Benefits they are receiving from BIM in three categories: internal, project and process
  • Which investments they are planning to make to grow their BIM programs
  • What business processes and policies they are adopting to support BIM

Although BIM implementation has been underway for many years in France, Germany, U.K., Canada and the U.S., the markets that have begun adopting more recently, such as Korea, Brazil, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, are showing tremendous momentum and are outperforming the more established regions in several key categories of the research such as ROI, commitment to investment, offering innovative new services and expanding the use of BIM to non-building projects like mining and manufacturing.

Among other key findings of this new research are the following:


  • Two-thirds of all the construction companies report a positive ROI on their BIM program and have clear ideas about how to further improve it.
  • Firms in Japan, Germany and France are the leaders, with over 95% in each market showing positive results.
  • ROI increases directly with a contractor's level of BIM engagement, represented by its BIM experience, skill level and commitment to doing a high percentage of its work in BIM.

BIM Benefits

  • Fewer errors and omissions, less rework and lower construction cost are among the top project-related BIM benefits cited by contractors.
  • Better cost control/predictability and reduced cycle time for workflows and approvals are also acknowledged as important process benefits of BIM.
  • Leveraging BIM capabilities to win new work, maintain repeat business and offer new services are key internal benefits.

BIM Investments

  • Contractors are increasingly assuming the central role on BIM projects, therefore the top planned investment categories focus on IT infrastructure for hosting and sharing models and collaborative process between companies.
  • While construction companies in the less advanced BIM markets are still focused on basic software and hardware investments, the more mature BIM users are planning heavy investments in mobile technology to get the value of BIM to the field.

Expansion of BIM Usage

Over the next two years, contractors expect the percentage of their work that involves BIM will increase by 50% on average. Growth markets such as Brazil are forecasting to triple the current number of companies using BIM at high levels over the next two years.

The full report is available for free download here.

Stephen A. Jones is a senior director of McGraw Hill Construction and principal author of this SmartMarket Report.