ICE BIM Action Group survey heat map results for 2015

This report analyses and gives context to the results of the 2015 BIM Heat Map, a survey on the application of BIM in the built environment.

The 2014 BIM heatmap. Results for 2015 are now available, showing an ever increasing understanding of BIM
The 2014 BIM heatmap. Results for 2015 are now available, showing an ever increasing understanding of BIM

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The ICE BIM Action Group first started gathering information about the impact of BIM and the infrastructure industry, within and beyond its membership, in 2013. This, the third year of conducting the survey, has allowed us to further adjust some of the questions to keep pace with the changes continuing to occur in response to the UK Government BIM Strategy, and to delve deeper into some of the key issues.

As a consequence, we have had to make some adjustments to allow comparison between the last 3 years, and to accurately identify overall trends across the industry. You will see these changes reflected in the Heat Maps shown in the tables below:

Heatmap diagram for 2013 and 2015
Figure 1. ICE BIM Action Group Survey – Heat Map Results for 2013 and 2014
BIM heatmap 2015 image
Figure 2. ICE BIM Action Group Survey – Heat Map Results for 2015

Survey Method

The survey was carried out using the 5 point symmetric Likert scaling method. The respondent is given a statement to which they provide their opinion. Each response is evenly weighted (Strongly Agree=5, Agree=4 etc.) and the average is used over all the responses. The responses are all broken down by sector and the averages are mapped as a colour to provide the above heat maps. A full size .pdf of the 2015 Heat Map is available on request to


Across Sectors

In reflecting on variances across the sectors it appears as though Airports, Tunnelling, Major Projects and Power sectors have continued to have positive responses between 2014 and 2015. Additionally the respondents from the Rail sector have become more aware of BIM and the process’ surrounding it in the last year. This may be down to increasing commitment from the likes of Network Rail and High Speed 2 and the impending deadline of the Government Construction Strategy (published in May 2011)

The Floodworks sector appears to have the most issues, with a majority of respondents not understanding the key procedural elements of BIM. Interestingly the Roads sector has responded quite negatively to this year’s survey despite the increased focus on BIM being rolled out by Highways England and other centrally funded clients. The road results could be skewed however, due in part, to the extreme variation in value of road jobs and the interest (or lack thereof) from various district councils.

Overall comparisons between 2013 - 2015

When we look back over the previous year’s results there is something promising that can be taken from the responses. Back in 2013 it appears as though people responded to the survey with much more polar responses, with “Strongly Agree” and “Strongly Disagree” showing up often. This can be rationalised by the fact that in 2013 BIM was quite fledgling in the Civil Engineering and Construction industry. It is likely that the respondents had either heard of BIM or not, meaning there was not much of a middle ground.

In 2014 none of the average scores came out as “Strongly Disagree” and the number of “Disagree” responses also declined being replaced primarily with “Neither Agree Nor Disagree”. This shows a clear increase in the in understanding of BIM and a more consistent response amongst sectors.

More interestingly in 2015 the results have continued to even out with the almost all the results averaging out at “Agree” or “Neither Agree nor Disagree”. This could be caused by respondents having acquired an increased understanding of BIM and the processes surrounding it, which presumably is based on experience instead of theory. An example of this would be the question “I believe BIM will help mitigate project risks” in 2014 a majority of individuals responded with “Strongly Agree” in contrast to 2015 where a majority responded with simply “Agree”. The reason for this, the respondents have realised that while BIM can mitigate some risks, it cannot mitigate them all. It could also be argued that some of the initial excitement around BIM has faded, it is no longer seen as the new hot topic and is instead becoming a default way of working.

Overall Comparisons 2014/2015

When the survey results are taken in their entirety we can analyse how the construction industry is looking as a whole instead of by sector. For this analysis the “Strongly Agree” and “Agree” responses have been grouped together and compared with the “Strongly Disagree” and “Disagree”. The results have been proportionately scaled to take into account the variation in the number of respondents between the 2014 and 2015 surveys.

I Know what a BIM Execution Plan Contains
Fig 3. "I Know what a BIM Execution Plan Contains" (2014 left - 2015 right)
I Know what a BIM Execution Plan (BEP) Contains
Figure 4. ";I Understand what COBie is" (2014 left - 2015 right)

In 2014 when asked about their understanding of the contents of a BIM Execution Plan (BEP, Fig. 3) around half the people surveyed did not know the answer. In contrast the 2015 survey results show that nearly three quarters of the people surveyed now know what it should contain. Furthermore between 2014 and 2015 there has been a clear growth in understanding of what the Employers Information Requirements (EIRs, Fig. 4) are and what they contain. This is a very positive sign that both BEPs and EIRs are starting to become standard industry documents which are understood and used by a majority of employees on a project.

I Understand what COBie is
Fig 5. "I Understand what COBie is" (2014 left - 2015 right)
I Know what IFC is
Figure 6. "I Know what a BIM Execution Plan (BEP) Contains" (2014 left - 2015 right)

While more respondents now understand what BEPs and EIRs are than do not, the same cannot be said for the information exchange formats. Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie, Fig. 5) and Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs, Fig. 6) continue to confuse a majority of respondents. There are some positives to be drawn from the survey results however as there is a clear increase in understanding between 2014 and 2015 in both subjects. Additionally while COBie is the required information exchange format for centrally procured projects it does not necessarily have to be used within the private sector which could account for some lack of understanding.


The survey results show that the industry is still heading in the right direction but maybe not as quickly as some would like. There are two sections of the heat map that have not changed over the past three years; there continues to be a lack of understanding of the BS/PAS 1192 family of documents and of the acronyms associated with them. The PAS suite of documents is fundamental to achieving the 2016 Level 2 targets set out by the government. The BIM Action Group believes however that while most individuals on a project should know the basics of the BS/PAS 1192 family, it would be too much to expect every employee to read every page of every standard and specification. Organisations should know however where to go if they require that information, be it internally or through a consultancy. Finally, the BIM Action Group feels as though there needs to be one last push from the Government to ensure that all organisations that are going to be affected by the Level 2 rollout are made aware exactly what will be required of them and the individuals that make up their ranks.

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