The Future of BIM Across the Lifecycle: Overheard in the Big Room

overheard big room bim future lifecycle

Technology has enabled rapid advancement in almost every sector, but nowhere are its effects felt as greatly as in construction. While humans have been engineering architectural feats for thousands of years, traditional drawings are often siloed, stagnant, and vulnerable to rapid obsolescence. 

Building information modeling (BIM) is set to change all that, its revolutionary goal since the 1970s when it was first proposed. In the last 30 years since the construction industry has widely agreed upon this approach, BIM has gone from a novel concept to a project essential. 

Because while BIM is traditionally seen as a design tool, its benefits extend throughout the construction lifecycle, from planning to building to operating. It allows every stakeholder to visualize the product throughout installation and later when it is in use. It facilitates collaboration and communication, reduces expense due to rework or oversight, and has proven its value again and again.  

BIM in the Big Room 

But how do construction professionals themselves see BIM’s impact outside of design? As soon as we started pondering that question, we knew we needed their take on it. This is exactly what The Big Room is for, a place to discuss and share big industry ideas.  

Specifically, The Big Room is an online community designed for you to collaborate, ideate, and grow with other construction professionals and with Autodesk Construction Cloud™. It’s a place for you to enhance your industry knowledge, converse with Autodesk enthusiasts around the world, and get recognized for the work you do, day-in and day-out. Whether you are new to Autodesk Construction Cloud or are a seasoned veteran, you have a voice in The Big Room. 

In our regular content series, Overheard in the Big Room, we will be sharing some of the hottest conversations happening in construction right now – think what role the metaverse might play in our future, for example. If you’d like to be part of the conversation, we invite you to join today

Beyond Design: What the Professionals Think About BIM 

So, how does BIM impact construction currently, and what opportunities will it present for the future? How can universal access to model viewing change the process? And where else can the tool play a role? 

Here’s what construction aficionados in The Big Room had to say. 

BIM in Real Life 

As BIM has been in use for decades now, the technology is relatively mature. While it hasn’t yet hit saturation point, we’ve seen advancements around every corner, and many businesses already rely on it heavily for their daily work. 

Smoothing Relationships from the Outset 

“Our teams use the BIM models for collaboration and communication. Similarly, we use them when setting out the design and process of the project at the onset. This allows us to have better communication with clients, vendors and support teams, who may or may not be familiar with standard drawing packages.” 

- Michael Isaak, Design Manager at AECOM Gilbert Garcia 

Internal Use Only 

“We use BIM models for collaboration between disciplines. Mainly for clash detection and working out issues between models, but nothing with the contractor. I don’t believe any of the current contractors have a BIM person on their staff.” 

- Nick Smilek, Senior Structural CADD Designer and Revit Structural Designer at Moffatt & Nichol  

A Push for Construction 

“We are using BIM for design coordination and collaboration. However, I look to push for the construction side to use more.” 

- Michael Shurgalla, Senior Design Technology Specialist at Merrick & Company 

The Right Information at the Right Time 

“Today the benefits of BIM – its great contribution to the world of construction, collaboration and the flow of the right information to the right person at the right time – are increasingly obvious.” 

- Jonas Alberto Vidal Valdivia, Autodesk Featured Publisher at ATC Cubicomp 

Constant Improvement 

“We’re gradually implementing and adjusting workflows. Day in and day out, we see the benefits of BIM and it just keeps improving. For us, it’s all about collaboration and the flow of information in the right direction.” 

- President, France-based contractor 

Challenges of BIM 

Of course, not everything is simple. Here’s where respondents saw challenges arising with BIM. 

Lack of Transparency 

“I don’t really know how BIM gets used or if it does within our organization, but I feel like asking about that could help me to really integrate the principles I’ve learned into true understanding.” 

- Caitlyn, Project Assistant 

Requires Intentional Institution 

“To me it seems like most want to or aspire to leverage the data and tools, but no one seems to ever get aligned to make it efficient and effective in their projects and it ends up getting abandoned.” 

- BIM/VDC Manager  

A (Still Incomplete) Philosophy of Working 

“I’ve always believed that BIM is a philosophy of working. So, it’s more like all the projects that we do need to follow the BIM workflow. Having said that, if one works with GC or the PMO or is representing the client, the kind of insights and decision-making power BIM provides is hardly available through any other way of working. The hurdles to implement BIM at least in the market that I cater to (INDIA) are the following: 

The financial aspect of the tools, and from whom among the project stakeholders you should recover these costs, are still questions that we tackle with every BIM implementation project. 

The lack of awareness and skill among industry practitioners regarding BIM is something that we all should be responsible for. However, with Autodesk Construction Cloud Learning Centre, which is completely free, I think this scenario will change as well.” 

- Tejas Bavadekar, Sr. Executive of Projects, Business Development and Strategy at Shrikhande Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (SCPL-ASIA) 

BIM-Based Benefits and Opportunities 

As with any technology still being reimagined and adopted, BIM brings many benefits and opportunities to the table. 

Streamlining 4D BIM 

“I believe most of the field team today is ready to use BIM – provided that the model and the apps run smoothly on mobile devices, and that the app interface is user-friendly. We are seeing great progress from Autodesk by the recent release of Autodesk Construction Cloud Mobile apps! One more thing that really interests our field team is the power of animating the models with respect to the schedule, i.e., 4D BIM. If we can get a streamlined process and app for that, I think it would be a huge step forward!” 

- Sr. VDC Project Engineer  

Accessibility Is King 

“I am a big supporter of continuing to make the model and any aspect of the BIM process more accessible to not only the construction team, but also any stakeholders. It is also important to increase the collaboration with the design team as early as possible to complete the project successfully.” 

- Gilbert Garcia, Digital Construction Project Manager at Turner Construction Company 

Don’t Fear the Transition 

“This reminds me of when my previous company transitioned from AutoCAD to Revit. We basically did the project side by side in case something fell through where we couldn’t control the outcome. Like upgrading software versions, just cross your fingers, do it and don’t look back. The front line is benefiting already, but it needs progress down the line make use of all that effort and new technology.” 

- Senior Technologist  

How to “Model” Building Information Modeling 

“BIM can be adopted in baby steps for big construction firms through showing them the outputs and cost saving, simply by taking any one example of their projects. This will surely build interest in the owner and team to start digging deep into BIM.” 

- Keval Solanki, Business Lead at AstonGreens Pvt. Ltd. 

Quicker and More Accurate Takeoff 

“As a subcontractor, I am anxious to see widespread adoption of models. In our workflow, this could improve our takeoff accuracy and speed, as well as give us a springboard of information otherwise spread out.” 

- Isaac Harned, Document Control Senior Specialist at Engineered Air Balance Co. Inc. 

BIM in the Wild 

BIM is known for being mobile as heck, which is one of its greatest selling points: the fact that it can integrate into field work as easily as at an office desk. So just how is BIM being used in the field today? Here are a few quick snapshots of how it works in real life. 

Mobile Viewing on the Go 

“Mobile model viewing is tremendously useful, especially while onsite walking through with clients who may or may not be used to construction and ‘hard-copy’ drawing sets.” 

- Michael Isaak, Design Manager at AECOM 

Revisions? Let’s Find Out 

“I think it would be a great assist when working on the close out/punch list phase of the projects to compare model versus actual. That way you can see if there are needed revisions.” 

- Michael Shurgalla, Senior Design Technology Specialist at Merrick & Company 

Office-Field Connection 

“I can see this being very useful in the field as a tool further connecting the office to the real world.” 

- Nick Smilek, Senior Structural CADD Designer and Revit Structural Designer at Moffatt & Nichol 

Design, Correction and Confirmation in Motion 

“I feel BIM’s possibility to reduce time consumption of making or correcting drawing sheets, and to be very useful for confirming information directly from models.” 

- Tachiki Tooru, Specialist Senior Member at Transcosmos Inc. 

Closing the Gap 

“Narrowing the gap between the office estimations and the in-field construction can only be beneficial. It is certainly a growing tool that will be a helpful tool long into the future of construction.” 

- Estimator 

All in all, BIM has much more to teach us. Despite its integration with many office and field workflows around the world, the potential is still great for further global advancement – doubtless in ways we haven’t yet even though of.  

Keep Tabs on Cutting-Edge Construction Topics with Overheard in the Big Room 

Want to stay tuned on those developments and make sure you don’t miss out? Now it’s easy to do so with our ongoing series Overheard in the Big Room, the best place to do just that. We welcome you to join in as well, monitor the conversation, contribute your ideas and keep the creative juices flowing in the field, office and everywhere else. Walk, don’t run, to join the conversation today. 

Oh, and if you’re curious, we’ve recently released new capabilities in Autodesk Construction Cloud. These will help you further strengthen BIM workflows in the field and tie your office and field teams together ever more effectively. Make sure you check out those new tools as well. 

Learn More


Grace Ellis

As Manager of Content Marketing Strategy at Autodesk and Editor in Chief of the Digital Builder Blog, Grace has nearly 15 years of experience creating world-class content for technology firms. She has been working within the construction technology space for the last 6+ years and is passionate about empowering industry professionals with cutting-edge tools and leading strategies that improve the quality of their jobs and lives.