Impact of BIM on Construction

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Building Information Modelling is certainly beginning to change the way the building looks and the way they function. This implementation of BIM has taken the construction industry into a new-era where all processes has fasten up, the benefits are not just time and cost savings but also reduction of risks and uncertain in construction process. From the through literature review of many researchers works published in various journals suggestions are being made as how this BIM approach is being carried out in construction industry, at the same time a critical literature review is also being conducted on the cost estimation within BIM technologies and whether this can benefit or harm the future role of the quantity surveyor.

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A questionnaire was designed to identify how the use of BIM will affect the future role quantity surveyor. The questionnaires were distributed to construction professionals within UK. From the analysis of the results obtained and comparing them with the literature review it is very clear that the construction industry is lagging in implementing e-procurement approach when compared to other industries and having realizing the potential benefits the BIM is being offering in various fields of construction industry the construction professionals are very much confident that BIM approach can enhance the procurement process and were also looking forward to implement this type of approach into their projects which makes room for bringing the whole project under a single platform


1.0 Introduction

The following research will investigate and analysis how the use of BIM will affect the future role of the quantity surveyor. According to the Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA (2012), almost a third of construction consultants are now using BIM .Thenbs (2011) provided information that in May 2011 UK Government Chief Construction Adviser Paul Morrell called for BIM adoption on UK government construction projects of £5million and over.

Thenbs (2012) provide information that Building Information Modelling covers geometry, spatial relationships, light analysis, geographic information, quantities and properties of building components. BIM data can be used to illustrate the entire building life cycle. quantities and properties of materials can be extracted easily and the scope of works can be easily defined. Furthermore systems, assemblies and sequences can be shown in a relative scale to each other and relative to the entire project.

1.2 Problem identification and purpose of study

The main role of Quantity Surveyors is to “estimate the building cost “the modern quantity surveyor provides a service that covers all aspects of procurement, contractual and project cost management. The role of the quantity surveyor plays a very important role in all phases of any type of Construction Company¬†estimators have developed their computing skills in using estimating systems but mostly relying in adopting spread sheets and database ages…”(Estimating&Tendering book) I believe there is still a market for large databases and standardized items (connections, assembly options) that can assist in the bill production phase.

Repository (2012) stated that over the years the need for more cost effective, better quality and environmentally friendlier construction has grown, these factors are the main Influences on the development of technology in the construction industry. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is one of the technologies that have been creating a buzz in the construction industry over the last few years.

Ukconstructionessays (2012) provided information that Building Information Modelling, or better known as BIM is not; strictly speaking a new technology as it has been developing and used by other industry sectors since 1950s i.e. the automotive and aero plane industries.

As technology evolves, we are forced to evolve with it or run the risk of being left behind. The traditional way of utilising the services of a quantity surveyor has largely been at the stage of costing a design, and the production of procurement and construction documentation (Asworth and Hogg, 2002). With the development of technology like BIM, the responsibilities of professionals are starting to shift. BIM includes a series of cost management functions that could change the processes of cost management of construction projects. This forces the quantity surveyor to focus more on different parts of the cost management process, than what would have previously. Not only will BIM influence the cost management functions and responsibilities of the quantity surveyor, but also the technology and types of software that are currently used in quantity surveying offices.

1.5 structure of the dissertation

The whole dissertation is primarily divided up into 6 chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Literature review

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

Chapter 4: Analysis & Discussions

Chapter 5: Conclusion & Recommendations

Chapter 6: References

1.6 Aims & Objectives


The objective of this dissertation is to identify if the use of BIM in the construction industry is going to affect the future role of the quantity surveyor.


  • To understand what is BIM
  • To Research into whether BIM will help aid the Quantity Surveyor
  • To Research into whether BIM will affect the role of the Quantity surveyor
  • To summarise, analyse and evaluate the data collected in order analyse how the use of BIM will affect the future role of the quantity surveyor.
  • Critically analyse the data collected from these questionnaires by comparing theoretical conclusions with the empirical research findings to draw conclusions.
  • To prepare a questionnaire to collect data from practitioners within the construction industry in the UK in regards to whether the use of BIM will affect the future role of quantity surveyor.

Clear objectives are important to determine whether this study is achieving what it set out to do. It is also important to write program objectives as specifically as possible to provide program clarity and strong links to evaluation. It is much easier to evaluate a program when clear objectives have been developed my peer (2012).

1.7 Restraints & Limitations

The main restraint is the access and use of BIM software as a full time student I do not have access to BIM software within the construction industry or at the university. Archicad or Autodesk will need to be used to understand fully what BIM is and how it works; a student version can be downloaded online. The research will involve the use of academic materials such as textbooks, journals, published and unpublished documents and internet sites. The data analysis will be carried out by sending out questionnaires to a range of construction professionals working within a Birmingham consultancy, and the results presented in bar charts and analysed after.

Another restraint is how many people answer and return the questionnaire, the more people that answer the questionnaire will be beneficial within the analysis as a greater number of people will give much more accurate results. Many of the potential individuals who will carry out the questionnaire may have busy schedules so research must be taken into ensuring that questions are suitable and are able to draw suitable responses from at the end. It will be hard to measure how many construction companies currently use BIM and whether It is having an effect on the role of quantity surveyors working within the construction industry as there isn’t enough time to gather research from every construction around the UK .Throughout the study an open mind will be maintained whilst undertaking the research and analysis of the data collected.

1.8 Research Beneficiaries / Dissemination

This research will be useful into identifying whether the use of BIM will affect the future role of the quantity surveyor or aid the future role of the quantity surveyor. And to also identify what specific ways the quantity surveyor may benefit from using BIM and in what specific ways the quantity surveyor may be affected by the use of BIM in the future.

Other categories to benefit from this research include the researcher, students and academics. By undertaking this research companies and people working within the construction industry can have a better understanding on the use of BIM approach and how it can be implemented within the cost estimation stage of a project and also into different phases of a project and the views of other professionals working within the UK construction industry on this application can be found and thus can implement that application effectively for the success of the project.

2.0 Literature review

2.1 Introduction:

In this chapter 2 of literature review, a critical literature has been conducted about how the use of BIM can aid the role of quantity surveyor and how BIM may be a threat to the future role of the quantity surveyor.

2.2 Building Information modelling

Constructionbusinessowner (2012) provided information that BIM allows early collaboration and integration of the design information in a 3-D environment programs are widely used in the early stages to eliminate potential issues that would be costly to rectify in the field.

All parties involved benefit. Designers can identify and correct design issues before they result in rework and schedule delays. Contractors have more reliable information and can better plan for equipment use and construction sequencing. Owners can “walk” the project in a 3-D environment during the design. And facility managers can pinpoint ergonomic issues and plan maintenance activities more efficiently by sharing the model with their vendors and contractors.

BIM will only benefit users if it leads to improved design, faster delivery, reduced price or improved value. A combination of these factors will dictate how successful BIM implementation will be in the coming years. When all members of the construction team work on the same model, from early design through to completion, changes are automatically coordinated across the project and information generated is therefore of high quality.

The construction industry is widely acknowledged as unique and conservative. Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems have the potential to revolutionize current practices and to automate the measurement of quantities from construction drawings. However, there are fears that such developments could threaten the future role of the quantity surveyor.

2.3 Advantages of BIM

The application of BIM has the result of many advantages, such as:

  • Greater speed

The multi-dimensionality of BIM allows various deliverables and documentation to be prepared simultaneously to the design of the building. Furthermore, the use of object-oriented design and the re-use of information accelerate the creation of drawings (Ashcraft, 2007). Changes made to a certain aspect of the model or the design will be automatically updated through the rest of the project, which allows for major time savings.

  • Lower costs

Sabol (2012) provided information that BIM offers the capability to generate take-offs, counts and measurements directly from a model. This provides a process where information stays consistent throughout the project and changes can be readily accommodated. Building information modelling supports the full project lifecycle and offers the capability to integrate costing efforts throughout all project phases. According to chuck Eastman (2011) at any stage of the design, BIM technology can extract an accurate bill of quantities and spaces that can be used for cost estimation.

Cost estimating is currently a time consuming process, requiring an entire team of estimators. Acebytes (2012) provided information that there are multiple factors hindering the transition to model-based estimating; however, the risks are justified by the benefits of estimating with BIM. Building Information Modelling has the capability to automate a quantity take-off, which will reduce the time and costs required to estimate a project. By using a building information model instead of drawings; the take offs, counts, and measurements can be generated directly from the underlying model and the information can be linked to generate bills of materials, size and area estimations along with other related estimating information. According to Hardin (2009) another strategy for leveraging BIM during a project is to use the BIM file for updating estimates very quickly, last minute design changes can be altered and updated much more quickly than typical take off methodologies can catch up with.

  • Disadvantages of BIM

Precisedraftunginc (2012) provided information that BIM requires more effort at the front end of a project to establish the initial framework. But the payoff is that you are able to extract a much higher quality and greater quantity of information from that model. BIM allows changes to happen easily, so clients may continue to make changes too late in the process, and that can impact construction and design costs.

  • BIM results in much larger file sizes than traditional CAD systems, and requires higher performing computer hardware to operate it effectively.
  • BIM requires more thoughtful design. We now have to do what all good designers have done in the past: Think in 3d and visualize the final product!

3.0 Research Methodology

A Quantitative research methodology will be used. According to Shamil Naoum, (2006 p.g39) quantitative research is based on a hypothesis or a theory composed of a variable measured and analysed with statistical procedures. Quantitative research enables the author to measure and analyse data. Benefitof (2012) provided information that the relationship between an independent and dependent variable is studied in detail. The use of standard means in quantitative research means that any research may be replicated, analysed and also compared with other similar studies. Quantitative research allows for greater accuracy and objectivity of results gained .Quantitative research usually filters out all external factors and if well designed, it provides unbiased and real results. Quantitative research is a great method to finalise results and disprove or prove a hypothesis. It is useful for testing results gotten from doing various qualitative experiments, thereby leading to the final answer. Quantitative Research will provide the advantage of finding a premeditated set of result from a range of professionals in the construction industry.

The main strengths of quantitative data collection:

  • Numeric estimates
  • Opportunity for relatively uncomplicated data analysis
  • Data which are verifiable
  • Data which are comparable between different communities within different locations
  • Data which do not require analytical judgement beyond consideration of how information will be presented in the dissemination process.

The Weaknesses of quantitative data collection:

  • Gaps in information – issues which are not included in the questionnaire, or secondary data checklist, will not be included in the analysis
  • A labour intensive data collection process
  • Limited participation by affected persons in the content of the questions or direction of the information collection process.

(Reliefweb 2012)

A Questionnaire will be produced to obtain data. Statpac (2012) provided information that Questionnaires are very cost effective when compared to face-to-face interviews. Questionnaires are easy to analyse, they are familiar to most people. They are less are less intrusive than telephone or face-to-face surveys. The results from the questionnaires will then be produced into bar charts and analysed.

The questionaries will be sent by letter to a construction consultancy in Birmingham Rider Levett Bucknall in which I gained work experience with in 2011. Questionnaires will also be sent out to a number of Contractors within the west midlands area this will aid within the analysis as the research will be gained by both contractor and consultants and a deeper and more accurate conclusion will be gained at the end of the study. The nature of the data required will be based on personal opinion from a range of construction professionals working within a construction consultancy and a construction contractor.

4.0 Results

4.1 Introduction

This chapter is mainly intended to cover the results in detail from the questionnaire sent to the various construction professionals within the UK in a statistical format by making use of Excel and MS Word. The questionnaire data has been broke down critically by representing in graphs and tables.

4.2 Results Explanation

The questionnaire has been distributed to 79 construction professionals through email. Out of these 79 questionnaires 37 complete responses have been obtained and 13 responses were incomplete responses.

Sample Size originally distributed = 79

Response received (complete response) = 37

No: of incomplete Responses =

5.0 Discussion of Results

6.0 Conclusion and Recommendations

The aim of this research report was to study the influence of BIM on the quantity surveying profession. One of the most apparent and vital consequences that will result from implementing BIM into the quantity surveying profession is the effect that it will have on the traditional roles and responsibilities of the quantity surveyor and the structure of quantity surveying firms. BIM’s capabilities of automating the production of bills of quantities, which is one of the quantity surveyors fundamental tasks, will have both positive and negative effects on the quantity surveying industry. The automatic production of bills of quantities will enable quantity surveyors to get involved in the early design stages of a construction project and make designers aware of cost implications and manage costs from early on. This will enable designers to design to a cost instead of quantity surveyors costing to a design, which will satisfy the employers need for cost effective construction. In the past measurement was usually undertaken by senior quantity surveyors, but over the years it has diminished into a task delegated to more junior personnel while professional quantity surveyors take up more strategic roles (Ashworth and Hogg, 2007).

Although work is required initially to develop the skills and processes needed to integrate BIM and QS processes, the resulting benefits undoubtedly justify the investment.

Recent years have witnessed the realization of many of the ideas of BIM visionaries, and the next five years will see increasing numbers of successful implementations, changes in the building industry, and new trial uses and extensions of what can be achieved with BIM, beyond its use today. This period will see the transition of BIM to accepted mainstream practice; and the transition will impact all building professionals and participants. But the greatest impact will be on the individual practitioner, who will need to learn to work, design, engineer, build, or manage with BIM.

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Estimators have to access the risks of the project and with BIM you can be more sure of the correct-ability of the drawn material and the demonetised possibility of errors under the build. The question is only how soon they will be liable to correct their ways of working with the same percent advised. It will only take one company to burst the bobble – all of the sudden all eyes will be turned to the contractor who went 5-8% under all the other tenders. The companies left behind still stuck to the 2D system will never know what hit them and will very soon have to turn the key. “In practice this is time-consuming both for contractors and sub-contractors, and the amount of paperwork had increased immensely. Nevertheless, contractors always need a “bill of quantities”, whether produced by the clients quantity surveyor, by an in-house commission or by sharing the services of an independent quantity surveyor.” There will be a higher demand to the contractors to be able to build accordantly to drawings as a model can be pulled out and digitally measured. They will have to be more accurate in their tenders as the possibility of extra works cause of quality on the drawings will be higher.


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