Last month, I wrote about how Building Information Modeling (BIM) helped a project meet its time and money goals when local legislation requiring LEED certification was enacted in Wasington, D.C.  The original article that appeared in McGraw Hill Construction provided an excellent overview of BIM uses and strategies for all construction projects, including green ones.  The question that keeps running through my mind is: When … not if … will BIM become mainstream?  

Already, industry contract documents contain BIM provisions.  In June 2008, ConsensusDOCS issued its new BIM-baby called the 301 BIM Addendum.  In October 2008, American Institute of Architects (AIA) issued the the 3.5 Release, a collective group of documents that included a BIM exhibit, as well as two new Integrated Project Delivery agreements, two new Design-Build agreements and a Scope of Services document.  The BIM protocol exhibit called the E202–2008 BIM Protocol is available online for free!

Not only is the private industry demanding ways to integrate BIM into projects, so too is the public industry.  Earlier this month, Wisconsin (through its Division of State Facilities) became the first state to require BIM on the following types of projects:

  • all projects (new or additions/alterations) with a total budget of $5 million or more
  • all new construction with a budget of $2.5 million or more
  • all addition/alteration construction with total project funding of $2.5 million or greater that includes new addition costs of 50% or more of total

In addition, BIM is "encouraged but not required" on all other projects. Public comments are now being taken on the new BIM standards and guidelines at the DFS website.

What do I think?  I imagine most of the players in the large Wisconsin projects know, understand and fully appreciate the utility of BIM as an enhancement to the construction process.  More important, however, is the affect that that, if these projects are successful, Wisconsin and its mandated use of BIM will have on the use of BIM by other states and localities.  If unsuccessful (by standards of cost, delay, or litigation), then it may simply stall … and not derail … the timing of the mainstream acceptance of BIM.