Building Information Modelling Scope and Adoption in Developed and Developing Countries: A Case of Sydney, NSW and New Delhi

Modified: 18th May 2020
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Table of Contents


1.1 Introduction/Background

1.2. Aims and Objectives


2.1 BIM concept and benefits

2.2 Global perspective of BIM:

2.3 AEC Industry in India:

2.4 Slow adoption and barriers to BIM:


3.1 Data Sources:






1.1 Introduction/Background

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a remarkable paradigm that has recently taken over the global AEC industry. It uses smart and quantifiable three-dimensional (3D) project model in order to enhance the project’s design, construction, operation and maintenance (Sawhney, 2014). As defined by (Eastman, et al., 2011), BIM refers to a modeling technology with a set of processes to analyze building models, characterized by digital objects that include coordinated data describing their behavior.

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BIM has significant benefits for the project even after its lifecycle, but such benefits cannot be utilized because of failure in the successful implementation of BIM in the construction industry (Ahmed, 2018). The construction industry is in urgent need to revamp its system in order to strive profitably like other sectors. According to (Van Lith et al., 2015), the construction industry is plagued with issues of inefficiency, fragmentation, adversarial culture and lack of collaborative working environment.

Despite the presence of many challenges, the usage of BIM globally, especially in developed countries is extensively reported. Developed economies such as Australia, USA, etc. have been successful in adopting and implementing technologies like BIM in their day-to-day work, in order to improve salience issues in their construction industry. They can support not only 3D models but also the construction management areas of time management, scheduling, cost control, estimating, safety training, facilities management, and sustainability. The benefits gained by using BIM surpasses its disadvantages, including discovering any possible construction issue by developing a highly detailed model of the building which can be made to perform in a way similar to the actual building. Any issue can be investigated, and the building can be redesigned thus saving money and time (Miller, 2018).

Many construction projects in developed countries are exploring and utilizing the potential of BIM for design and construction, yet the usage of this technology in developing countries is still lagging. Construction companies in developing countries suffer from issues likes socio-economic stress, resource shortage, environmental concerns, construction industry development, and organization culture (G. Ofori, 2000). Such challenges cause hindrance in the adoption of BIM. Articles by (Bui et al., 2016) verified that researchers in developing countries, like India, have begun to delve in topics related to BIM, which is still in infancy stage at the moment. It shows the need to explore BIM for less developed countries rather than only highlighting the benefits of BIM in developed economies.

The construction industry in developing economies plays a very important role in the growth of GDP of the country, in which BIM could be a major factor. Therefore, this research aims to provide a review of BIM implication and identify the main issues faced by real estate and infrastructure developers, architects, engineers, and contractors. The focus of this study will be to identify the difficulties which could be faced while adopting BIM in a developing country, in case of India, by comparing it with the issues faced by early adopters of BIM. The barriers to adapt this technology will also be explored. The research seeks to answer whether Indian AEC industry can use BIM to transform itself into an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable sector that is capable to fulfill the required needs of the industry.

Due to the time constraint, the current dissertation case studies will be limited to research only in Sydney, NSW, Australia, and New Delhi, India.

1.2. Aims and Objectives

The aim of the research is to explore and examine the BIM adopters in a developed country and the barriers faced while adopting BIM in a developing country. While observing the problems faced by early adopters, the difficulties which could be potentially faced by the companies in developing nations can be identified. Specifically, it will:

  • Determine the impact of using BIM in terms of cost and time effectiveness and prepare a comparative analysis.
  • Identify the barriers hindering BIM adoption with recommendations to make it more accessible in India.


Rapid growth and innovation in technology have opened a plethora of options and all the industries are becoming more reliant on technology to discover hidden potentials (Hardin & McCool, 2015). The construction industry is no different. Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) industry, one of the world’s largest industry, is still considered as one of the least effective industry (Dillow, 2018). It is frequently criticized for being incompetent and slow to innovate and is known for its sluggish adaption to technological advancement.

Construction projects are becoming complex and difficult to manage day by day. As a response to it, technology is being developed at a very fast face ( Travaglini, et al., 2014). Advancement in ICT – Information and communication technology has been put forward to deal with the issue to improve the industry’s low productivity rate (Lindblad, 2013).

Technology progression in the field of construction has allowed to increase productivity, reduce the cost of the project, improve collaboration, reduce protect time, improve quality and helped to tackle more complex projects. This ongoing digitization has the potential to reshape not only the construction industry but also the entire built world (Dillow, 2018). One such technology which has gained momentum in the last two decades is Building Information Modelling (BIM).  It has always driven construction forward, so it seems odd that many companies, especially in developing countries, are slow to adopt new technology (Jones, 2018).

2.1 BIM concept and benefits

BIM refers to a highly collaborative procedure that allows various stakeholders and AEC professionals working on a project to collaborate on the development of a building within one 3D model (Lorek, 2018). It plays a very significant role in continually improving design, construction, operations and maintenance of the AEC industry and helps to transform industry landscape. The main role of BIM is to integrate all project lifecycle phases and provide benefits to all stakeholders in the following way:





Architects, designer, and engineers

Creativity and innovation


Contactors and other stakeholders

Model-centric planning process


Facility Management (FM) Team

Allowing data-driven operation and maintenance.



Reduction in overall project cost and better delivery of the project (Sawhney, 2014).

2.1.1 Types of BIM

BIM is not only limited to just 3D spatial dimensions, but it also extends the capacity of project team over parameters such as time, cost, quality, sustainability, etc. The concept of BIM 4D modeling is associated with augmenting the 3D model with the construction schedule, 5D modeling with cost estimation, 6D modeling with sustainability and 7D modeling with facilities management. BIM technology provides a large range of indirect and direct benefits and helps to make the building process more simplified and transparent (Ahmed, 2018).

2.1.2 Benefits of BIM

It is more than just a mere software tool, it helps to combine technology with people and helps to address issues of the AEC industry in order to develop a new way to deliver built environment (Sawhney, 2014). It always allows everyone to work with the most up-to-date information (Jones, 2018).

According to CRC Construction innovation (Innovation, 2007), the key benefit of BIM includes accurate geometrical representation of building project in an integrated data environment. Apart from that, information can be easily shared and building proposals can be stimulated and analyzed leading to improved and more innovative design solutions. Also, proper visualization helps in better understanding of the proposal (Azhar, 2011). According to a survey conducted by Kunz and Gilligan (kunz & Gilligan, 2007) the use of BIM leads to increased productivity and reduced contingencies.

A survey by Becerik and Rice suggests that Architectural firm use BIM for design-related benefits like design visualization, massing studies and building design. On the other hand the contractors are benefited mostly for clash detection, generation of the prefabricated model and also related to sustainability aspects of buildings (Becerik-Gerber & Rice, 2010).

According to Azhar (Azhar, 2011) BIM adoption will benefit firms by:

  • Cost estimating – BIM can perform quantity take-off and adjust any changes throughout the design.
  • Drawings – BIM facilitates easy development of drawings.
  • Clash detection – BIM can identify any major conflicts between buildings and utilities.
  • Construction sequencing – BIM can help in the sequencing of materials and delivery schedule.

The benefits received by BIM adoption tends to affect and enhance the construction project’s overall cost in way one or another.

2.2 Global perspective of BIM:

Globally there has been a remarkable development in the built environment sector on the form of BIM. Despite the presence of problems, BIM is gaining popularity in the global built environment sector as it tends to reduce cost and time and thus help to increase productivity (Sawhney, 2014). People are working hard to resolve BIM related issues using various internal and external issues.

Developed economies like Australia, USA, UK, etc., have been successful in implementing concepts and technologies like BIM in order to improve some obstacles in their construction industry. They have been pioneers in developing and improving the functionality of BIM. The construction industry in developed countries are increasingly embracing the importance of BIM as a catalyst for better operational efficiencies. Pärn and Edwards developed a BIM plug-in which facilitates the integration of BIM and FM semantic data. In return, it reduces costs and helps to ease the update of FM data (Pärn & Edwards, 2017). Moreover, Zhang developed an algorithm which can prevent site related hazards by automatically checking building models and schedule safety measures (Zhang, et al., 2013).

The following summarizes the status of BIM Globally:







General Services Administration (GSA) has developed BIM guidelines and standards

70% of projects uses BIM and almost every user plan to improve its adoption.



UK: UK’S BIM industry working group has developed strategies to implement BIM.

Denmark: BIM usage executed by Danish State clients, such as Palaces and Properties Agency, the Danish University Property Agency and the Defense Construction Services.

Finland: Finland’s state property services agency, Senate Properties, has been using BIM for its projects.

36% adoption in Europe.


Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Housing Authority has

set a target of using BIM in all new projects.


South Korea

South Korea’s Public Procurement

Service has made it compulsory to use BIM for all private sector projects over US$ 40 million.



Majority of firms are using BIM in their practice.

75% adoption

The United States of America is the world leader in BIM adoption and is evolving rapidly and is followed by the United Kingdom. Even adoption in Australia is very impressive with the majority of the organizations using BIM in projects. A study by Jung and Lee indicated an advanced level of BIM implication in North America, Europe and Oceania. However, it also described countries like Middle east, India, South America to be still in the introduction phase (Jung & G., 2015).

Developing countries like India have started to explore the filed. However, it remains far below the expected level (Sawhney, 2014). Adoption of new technology has helped developing countries by reducing the intensity of challenges. Yet, there are a lot of issues still to be resolved for the proper implementation of BIM.

2.3 AEC Industry in India:

AEC sector in India plays a very significant role in the infrastructure and industrial development of the country and is a key pillar of the Indian economy. It is the second-largest employment generator in India. However, lately this sector has been plagued with a lot of challenges namely; cost overruns, distrust among stakeholders, quality issues, skill deficit, and other inefficiencies. Lack of standards and low use of advanced technology are some of the key issues across the construction sector. Majorly, the construction industry in India still depends on traditional construction techniques of using two-dimensional (2D) drawings and set of documents which are more prone to errors and omissions. Reliance on such error-prone data and information tends to make project inefficient and results in low productivity (Sawhney, 2014).  The use of BIM is restricted to just 3D design of project model. There is no record of its subsequent application in construction.

According to Chougule and Konnur, Indian construction industry comprised of a minority of BIM user, lacking any BIM knowledge (Chougule & Konnur, 2015). In the case of India, BIM is relatively popular only amongst architects in comparison to other consultants. It is mostly used in the design and development state. There is barely any evidence of its usage in Facility Management stage.

With so high volume of construction and urbanization expected in the coming year, BIM may act like a lever that is required by AEC industry in order to meet its goal. With such potential to offer, employing BIM in India can prove to provide outstanding benefits to Indian AEC industry (Sawhney, 2014).

2.4 Slow adoption and barriers to BIM:

BIM has been widely implemented in the world, especially in developed countries. However, companies and organization still face a range of barriers in its application. Its adoption requires leaving behind old and deficient work techniques and practices associated with the construction process.

According to Eastman (Eastman, et al., 2011) clients usually prefer not to invest in new ventures and prefer to first observe the benefits and barriers while being used by other competitors. Apart from that, the cost of the initial investment is usually high as the BIM software and hardware requires a huge amount. Added to this is the cost of training and hiring specialist, particularly trained for such software ( Bryde, et al., 2013) (Chien, et al., 2014). Top and senior management’s lack of support and interest also acts as a barrier in the adoption of BIM (Herold, et al., 2008).

Azhar classifies BIM related barriers in two major categories; Technology related risk and Process related risks. Technology related risk includes risk due to lack of any BIM standard in the project in order to ensure consistency in information and formatting styles. Lack of any standards results in inaccurate and inconsistent models (Azhar, et al., 2012). BIM is all about collaboration and integrating of data from different parties such as civil engineers, architects, MEP designer, clients, contractors, sub-contractors, consultants, etc. Different software are used by different parties which creates interoperability barriers (Wikforss & Lofgren, 2007) (Eastman, et al., 2011). BIM software are often complex and requires a long time to train staff and employees as compared to conventional 2D CAD software (Liu, et al., 2010).

According to a survey conducted by Anil Sawhney along with KPMG, the main challenges of adopting BIM in India is due the hesitancy to embrace changes by stakeholders. Consultants in India such as electrical, plumbing consultants, structural and mechanical have not embraced BIM in their day to day work environment. Even id client is willing to adopt BIM, lack of such specialists poses a challenge for adoption. As far as government initiatives are concerned, the Indian Government has no defined policy for effective implementation of BIM (Sawhney, 2014).

A study conducted by Vyas in India, states that the major issues resulting in delays of BIM adoption includes equipment issues, lack of employees. Poor decision making, teamwork and lack of strategic planning. A lack of proper discussions between the employees and teams and lack of interpersonal skills adds to the delays in adoption (Vyas, 2013).


The developed countries, on one hand, is facing issues related to full adoption of BIM in their AEC Industries. On the other hand, developing countries are lagging in BIM implementation in their industries due to the absence of any clear procedure and guidance on BIM adoption.



The purpose of the study is to explore BIM implementation and barriers in a developing country and to formulate a comparative analysis in terms of cost and time effectiveness of using BIM. From the viewpoint of the objective of the study, Exploratory type of research is carried out to approach current dissertation.

Research methods refers to strategies or techniques used to collect data in order to analyze new information or for better understanding of the research topic. The collected data can be either be quantitative or qualitative in nature, depending on the nature of the topic. The quantitative or structured approach aims to quantify the data and puts emphasis on the measurement of variable, the qualitative or unstructured approach aims to explore diversity instead of quantity. A mix of both can also be employed for data collection. (kumar, 2019).

The aim of the study is to examine the extent to which BIM is implemented in developed nations in order to find out issues which could be faced while adopting BIM in developing nation and to compare its cost and time efficiency in both categories of nations. The research uses mixed-method approach to meets its aim and objectives.

The research is broadly divided into two parts, the first part uses Qualitative data collection method to provide background information about BIM in Australia and India and to examine the experience of early adopters of BIM. For the second part, Quantitative data collection method will be used to collect data from various companies working in AEC industry in Sydney and New Delhi. A questionnaire will be prepared with the objective of knowing the users of BIM to record its benefits, with respect to cost and time efficiency. The designed questionnaire will help to provide a current status check on BIM and will be sent to AEC sector practitioners in New Delhi and Sydney. It is expected to be finished within a month of receiving approval from ethics boards at UNSW.

After obtaining permission from ethics boards from UNSW, the questionnaires will be distributed among the participants. The data collected via the questionnaire will be carefully analyzed. The obtained data will be tabulated and analyzed and expressed with the help of tools such as tables, pie charts, bar charts and percentages (Fadason, et al., 2018). The target firms of this research will be Engineering, Architectural, Building and Quantity Surveying consultancy.


establish this claim quantitatively, survey methodology has been



establish this claim quantitatively, survey methodology has been



establish this claim quantitatively, survey methodology has been


3.1 Data Sources:

  • To conduct a literature review, secondary data collected covering various aspects of BIM implications from different Journals, Government records, Books, Website etc. will be reviewed (Saunders, 2009). The topic covered in literature reviews gives us an insight of the construction industry in Australia and India by looking into issues regarding adoption of BIM.
  • For the purpose of this research, it is necessary to collect primary data sources by the means of Questionnaire. It will be sent to AEC companies who have adopted BIM as a part of their work style in order to establish the issues and problems faced by them in the early stages. It will provide with a realistic view about the topic under consideration (Sindhu, 2011).
  • India BIM Association (IBIMA) publications and reports, which are publicly available, will be used to analyze the data about policies regarding BIM implantation in India. IBIMA has conducted literature surveys to understand the roadblocks of using BIM and the hurdles that Indian AEC industry is facing (India BIM Association, 2016).


The research will be carried from July 2019 to May 2020.


July 2019

August 2019

September 2019

October 2019

November 2019

December 2019

January 2019

February 2019

March 2020



Finalizing research topic












Draft proposal












Final research proposal












Literature review












Questionnaire design












Ethics Application












Data collection












Analysis of data












Preliminary Draft – 1












Preliminary Draft – 2












Final Draft


















Practical Implication of this thesis are:

  • To highlight the benefits of using BIM, in terms of its cost and time effectiveness, to non-users of BIM.
  • To facilitate companies in developing countries to take a similar approach to that taken by early adopters of BIM in developed nations.
  • Recommend a course of action to be performed in order to counter issues related to the adoption of BIM in AEC industry.

Existing studies revealed that there is very less or negligible progress in BIM in developing countries in comparison with Developed countries. Hence, a need to carry the research and provide some recommendations to counter the issue.

Developing countries can benefits from the findings of this study, as the study highlights the best BIM practices and provide strategies on improving BIM process.  It can help BIM managers and project teams to increase their knowledge of BIM and help them in evaluating the level of BIM’s implementation required in their project. BIM project case studies in advanced countries can help in further highlighting the benefits and possibility to countries which are still an early development of BIM adoption.

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The ethical challenges need to be accounted while using mixed research method approach. The conducted research will be completely based on the voluntary participation of the respondents. Moreover, they will be provided with the right to withdraw at any stage if they feel like that this will cause any harm to their company’s profile. The respondents will be provided with enough information and assurances in order to help them understand the implication of participating in the research (Saunders, 2009). The collected data will be used only for the purpose of research and the privacy and anonymity of the participants will be considered as high importance (Bryman & Bell, 2007). As far as the literature study is considered, the work of other authors will be properly acknowledged in research with the use of the Harvard referencing system.

The distribution of the questionnaire to carry survey will only begin after it has been approved from the UNSW Human Research ethics Committee. The questionnaire is expected to be submitted to the committee in October 2019. Considering the low-risk impact of the topic, it is predicted that the proposed topic will likely not lead to distress for both the parties – the researcher and the participants.



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