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information technology
BIM Survey Delves Into Users' Desires and Expectations

The first posting of this story contained an error, ascribing a specific interpretation of the data to the researcher who conducted the study. Researcher Lachmi Khemlani says the interpretation was not her own conclusion but that of Bentley Systems Inc. The software vendor funded the project and released the raw data. The story said Khemlani calculated that a specific and higher percentage of respondents prefer the approaches and features she believes Bentley handles most successfully. A smaller percentage prefers those for which Revit has strong suits. Khemlani says the percentages were derived by Bentley based on the survey results and were not reported by her.

A new report takes a read on what the emerging class of users and would-be-users of Building Information Modeling want from BIM software, based on a survey of more than 650 subscribers to an online construction technology evaluation publication.

The survey, released Oct. 12, was funded by Bentley Systems Inc., Exton, Pa., but was conducted independently by Lachmi Khemlani, founder and editor of AECbytes. It focuses on  user desires and expectations and seeks to find the products, including Bentley’s or products of its rivals, such as Autodesk’s Revit, Archicad, Digital Project, Tekla Structures and others, that best address those desires.

Related Link:

BIM Survey Results

Khemlani posted her report and interpretation at Bentley has posted both the report and the raw data in an Excel spreadsheet as well as a “BIM Wizard” at The site lets visitors take the survey. Huw Roberts, Bentley Buildings’ director of global marketing, says that should help them frame their own research into BIM.

Khemlani’s report, “Top Criteria for BIM Solutions,” shows that users’ top desire is to generate construction drawings from within BIM products. But somewhat surprisingly, interoperability and integration with take-off, estimating, scheduling and various analysis products were far down the list. The ability to generate photo-realistic animations and renderings ranked near the bottom.

Khemlani also applied her judgment as to which product best serves each function. Analyzing the response data, Bentley claims that 58% of the respondents preferred the approaches and features Khemlani said Bentley handles most successfully while 38% preferred those for which Revit has stronger suits.

“This survey is about structuring your thinking about these issues,” says Roberts.  “This is one of the the things a firm would do in evaluating their BIM path.”

BIM Criteria
Full construction-document production support
Smart objects that maintain association, connectivity and relationships
Availability of object libraries
Supports distributed work processes with multiple people on the same project
Quality of help, documentation, tutorials and learning resources
Ability to work on large projects
Automated setup, management and coordination
Multidisciplinary. Serves architecture, structural engineering and MEP
Ability to support preliminary conceptual design modeling
Direct integration with cost estimating
Supports construction-related tasks such as take-off, estimating and 4D scheduling
Direct integration with energy analysis applications
Extensibility and customization capability
Direct integration with structural analysis applications
Direct integration with project-management applications
IFC compatibility
The number of third-party developers developing add-on applications
Built-in ability to generate highly-photorealistic renderings and animations
The market share leadership position of the vendor offering the BIM solution
Source: © Lachmi Khemlani, AECbytes 2007



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