BIM Adoption Planning – Value of a Model to the Project Owner

May 06, 2021 0 Comments


BIM adoption planning is one of the most important and financially rewarding things you can do for the future of your construction projects and their post-construction operation. Creating a clear and detailed adoption plan will give you the knowledge you need to improve staff and stakeholder efficiency so you can increase your profit margins. However, BIM adoption is a robust undertaking that requires investment. As with any investment, understanding and calculating ROI is extremely complex.

ROI Modeling

What is Return on investment (ROI)? ROI is a simple mathematical equation:

ROI = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) X 100

Unfortunately, calculating ROI becomes much more difficult when dollar values for the equation are unknown. In this case, an ROI Model is needed to determine the Cost of Investment, and ultimately Net Profit. “An ROI model is simply a list of all the inputs (benefits and costs) and the math needed to turn those benefits and costs into dollars.” BIM ROI Models require many complex inputs (some of which aren’t readily apparent) and can become time-consuming. Fortunately, the process of BIM Standards development, BEP development and BIM adoption planning make it much easier to establish and track necessary data points. While there are some prepackaged BIM ROI Model templates, these templates tend to be proprietary due to the value of (and expense of analyzing)  the industry-wide data used for model calculations. Using these ROI model templates allows you to harness data outside of your company to refine and enhance your own calculations. Or, you can implement an ROI model based solely on your internal data. There is no wrong answer here. As it pertains to BIM efforts, ROI model choice is often driven by decisions on cost and scalability. Suppose you need help finding the best fit for your organization. In that case, Proactive has an extensive database of various project types and sizes and can help determine which ROI model is most appropriate to support your BIM adoption plan.  To facilitate this decision, it is helpful to understand the type and quantity of data points that go into BIM ROI Model development.

BIM ROI Model Development

An ROI Model is simply a tool to designate how the ROI will be tracked and calculated (i.e., What data do I need to gather for my calculation?). The process starts with planned BIM Goals and Uses, which will be used for the “benefits” side of the equation. Then you break down your BIM investments to the smallest trackable data point. Now we have lists of goals on one side and a list of investments on the other, we need to create data indicators that will connect the two. Having extremely refined processes is necessary to develop these connections (and often why many users turn to predeveloped templates). Each of these connections aims to transform a Model Use or Goal into a cumulative dollar value. What we are really doing is establishing a system to determine the financial value of each of your BIM Models. Every model has intrinsic value and varying net worth based on the cost of development and net savings attributable to that model. Once this value is determined, we can compare it to our cost of investment. How valuable is asset data in the model? How valuable are the architecture, mechanical or plumbing models? How do your models’ value compare with other company's models? Are you over/under spending on model content?

ROI is a simple equation. But without knowing the value of your models, it is impossible to calculate the ROI associated with your BIM efforts. The BIM industry has yet to establish a standard for calculating that value. The good news is that BIM models are inherently valuable for many reasons in addition to simple ROI. However, smart BIM implementation begins with understanding the financial value of your model and the ROI it generates across the entire building life cycle, including building operation.