Digitalising construction: Future directions of government strategies for Building Information Modeling

Digitalising construction: Future directions of government strategies for Building Information Modeling

Mohammad S. Al-Mohammad

Ahmad Tarmizi Haron

Rahimi A. Rahman

BIM Implementation: Cross-Regional Analysis

Monitoring implementation rates allows countries to observe industry trends and forecast future needs. It assists in planning for the construction industry's digital transformation and staying ahead of technological advancements. Figure 1 shows the BIM implementation rates in different countries.

Figure 1 BIM implementation rates across different regions (Source: BIM Report Malaysia 2021)

Challenges to Implementing BIM in Malaysia Persist

Training programs for BIM present substantial costs, considering the need to train many staff members across different disciplines within an organisation. The costs encompass registration fees, instructor fees and training materials. Learning BIM requires time for individuals to grasp the concepts, gain proficiency in the software tools, and understand the collaborative aspects of working in the BIM environment. Longer training durations can lead to higher costs due to extended periods away from project work or increased downtime during training. During training, individuals may be less productive or unavailable for project-related tasks. Organisations need to consider this trade-off and plan training activities strategically to minimise disruption to project progress. Furthermore, BIM software is expensive, especially for comprehensive and feature-rich solutions. They require ongoing maintenance and upgrades. The high cost can result in a fragmented industry, with some organisations utilising BIM while others lag, impeding the full potential of collaboration and interoperability offered by BIM.

BIM promotes collaboration between multiple parties in a digital manner. Undefined rights and responsibilities may cause legal problems in data security and sharing. If data security is not ensured, sensitive data will not be shared. BIM projects involve the creation and exchange of valuable digital assets. Without a clear contractual framework, issues related to ownership and usage rights of these assets may arise, potentially leading to disputes. Therefore, it becomes crucial to establish well-defined dispute resolution mechanisms to address potential conflicts.

The lack of BIM knowledge can create resistance to change among professionals accustomed to traditional construction processes. BIM requires specific workflows for modelling, data exchange, and collaboration. Without BIM knowledge and proper training, users may not fully utilise BIM tools and functionalities, resulting in less efficient and less collaborative workflows. Inexperienced users may create inaccurate or incomplete BIM models, leading to issues with data quality. The lack of BIM knowledge results in a steep learning curve for users, resulting in delays as they try to familiarise themselves with BIM software and practices. BIM offers numerous benefits, such as improved visualisation, clash detection, and data-driven decision-making. With the necessary knowledge, project teams may experience these advantages.



Government Strategies for Enhancing BIM Implementation

Governments have the means to create an enabling environment for BIM implementation and drive the construction industry towards digitalisation and collaborative practices. Formulating effective strategies to avoid the strain of resources and ensure the success of BIM implementation is crucial. The following subsections discuss government-related strategies that can support digital transformation towards BIM. Figure 2 shows government strategies for enhancing BIM implementation in the construction industry.

Figure 2 Government strategies for enhancing BIM implementation

Enhancing BIM Knowledge

·         Education and Training Programs:

      Develop and support BIM educational programs and construction-related courses to integrate BIM concepts and practices into curricula.


·         Workshops and Seminars:

Organize workshops, seminars, and conferences to raise awareness about BIM and its benefits among industry professionals, policymakers, and stakeholders.


·         BIM Certification and Licensing:

Introduce certification and licensing programs for construction professionals who demonstrate proficiency in BIM. This can incentivise individuals to acquire BIM knowledge and skills.


·         Financial Assistance Programs:

Offer financial assistance and incentives to construction firms that invest in BIM technology and training. This can encourage companies to adopt BIM practices and help offset the initial costs.


·         Public Procurement Policies:

Implement public procurement policies that require the use of BIM on government-funded projects. This can create a demand for BIM expertise, prompting companies to train their workforce.


·         Industry Engagement:

Foster collaborations between government agencies, educational institutions, and private companies to create BIM-focused training programs and share resources.


·         BIM Resource Centers:

Establish BIM resource centres or online platforms that provide access to educational materials, best practices, and case studies to help professionals learn about BIM implementation.


·         Research and Development Grants:

Offer grants and funding opportunities for research and development in BIM technology and applications. This can help drive innovation and advance BIM knowledge within the industry.


·         Awareness & Information Dissemination:

Launch public awareness campaigns to inform the public about the benefits of BIM in construction, leading to increased demand for BIM professionals.


·         Collaborative Projects:

Encourage joint projects between academia and industry to develop BIM-related tools, software, and workflows. This collaboration can enhance BIM expertise and foster innovation.


·         International Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing:

Collaborate with other countries and international organisations with successful BIM adoption strategies to share knowledge and best practices.


·         Skill Development Programs:

Partner with construction industry associations to create skill development programs focusing on BIM-related competencies.


·         Continuous Professional Development:

Encourage and incentivise construction professionals to engage in continuous learning and professional development related to BIM.


Develop BIM Contractual Frameworks 

·         BIM Mandates and Guidelines:

Mandate the use of BIM in public projects or incentivise its adoption through guidelines and policies. Governments encourage the private sector to develop contractual frameworks that align with the established standards by setting clear expectations for BIM implementation.


·         Industry Engagement:

Involve stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, and BIM consultants, in developing the contractual framework. Consultation with experts ensures that the framework reflects the practical requirements of the project and is feasible to implement.


·         Model Contracts and Templates:

Develop model BIM contracts and templates to serve as a robust foundation for project stakeholders to build upon. These model contracts can include clauses related to BIM responsibilities, deliverables, intellectual property, data exchange, and collaboration, making it easier to adapt them to specific projects.


·         BIM Training and Education:

Invest in BIM training and education programs for construction professionals, contractors, and government officials. By increasing awareness and knowledge, stakeholders can better understand the contractual requirements and implement BIM effectively in the projects.


·         Standardisation of BIM Processes:

 Develop national BIM standards and guidelines that outline best practices, data exchange protocols, and BIM processes to be followed in projects. Standardisation promotes consistency and interoperability between different projects and contractual agreements.


·         Performance Evaluation and Case Studies:

 Conduct performance evaluations of BIM projects to assess their success and identify areas for improvement in the contractual framework.


·         Monitor and Enforce Compliance:

Establish mechanisms to monitor BIM implementation in projects and enforce compliance with the contractual framework. Regular audits and evaluations help ensure that BIM processes and deliverables are by the established standards.


·         Public-Private Partnerships:

Foster public-private partnerships to promote BIM implementation and share knowledge and experiences. Collaborating with the private sector can lead to innovative solutions and a better understanding of practical challenges in BIM projects.


·         Incentives and Recognition:

Offer incentives or recognition to construction firms that demonstrate exemplary BIM implementation and adherence to the contractual framework. Recognising success encourages other stakeholders to prioritise BIM adoption.


·         Continuous Improvement:

Regularly review and update the contractual framework to stay abreast of technological advancements, industry trends, and lessons learned from previous projects. A flexible and adaptive approach is essential to support the dynamic nature of BIM implementation. 


Develop a program for BIM training.

·         Financial Assistance Programs:

    Establish financial assistance programs to support organisations, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in funding BIM training initiatives. This can include grants and subsidies to offset the costs associated with BIM training. 

·         Public-Private Partnerships: 

     Collaborate with industry associations, educational institutions, and private training providers to develop joint BIM training programs. Such partnerships can leverage the expertise and resources of stakeholders to design comprehensive and cost-effective training initiatives. By pooling their resources, governments and private entities can create training programs that are accessible, affordable, and tailored to meet industry needs.


·         Training Infrastructure

    Invest in developing training infrastructure, such as BIM training centres or labs, where individuals and organisations can access training resources and facilities. These dedicated training spaces can provide hands-on experience with BIM software, simulations, and collaborative exercises.


·         Trainer Programs: 

    Establish programs to enhance the pool of skilled BIM trainers. This can include funding specialised train-the-trainer programs, where experienced industry professionals are trained to become certified BIM trainers. Support the development of BIM training curricula in educational institutions, ensuring that future graduates are equipped with the necessary BIM skills.


·         Awareness Campaigns and Information Dissemination

     Launch awareness campaigns to educate organisations about BIM benefits and the importance of training. These campaigns can highlight successful BIM implementation case studies, emphasise the potential cost savings, and showcase the long-term advantages of investing in BIM training.


·         Collaboration with Educational Institutions:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

     Foster collaboration between industry stakeholders and educational institutions to integrate BIM training into academic programs. This can include incorporating BIM courses or modules into relevant degree programs, promoting research and development in BIM-related areas, and facilitating internships or apprenticeships with industry partners. By integrating BIM education into the academic curriculum, governments ensure that future professionals are well-prepared for BIM implementation in the workforce.


·         Continuous Professional Development Programs

     Encourage and incentivise continuous professional development in BIM by offering certifications, accreditation programs, or mandatory training requirements for certain roles within the construction industry. These programs can motivate professionals to continually upgrade their BIM skills and stay abreast of the latest developments. 


·         International Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing:

    Facilitate international collaboration and knowledge sharing by participating in global forums, conferences, and partnerships focused on BIM training. By learning from other countries' best practices and experiences, governments can gain insights into effective training strategies and adapt them to their local context.


Integrate BIM into academic curricula. 

·         Faculty Training:

Provide training and professional development opportunities for faculty members to enhance their understanding and proficiency in BIM. This could involve workshops, seminars, or collaboration with industry professionals experienced in BIM implementation.


·         Resources and Infrastructure

     Ensure that the necessary resources and infrastructure are available to support BIM integration. This includes access to BIM software, hardware, and relevant documentation. Consider partnerships with industry organisations or utilising cloud-based platforms for accessibility.


·         Practical Exercises and Projects:

Incorporate practical exercises and real-world projects into the curriculum to allow students to apply BIM principles hands-only. These exercises should encourage critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.


·         Industry Engagement:

Partner with industry stakeholders, such as architecture firms, engineering companies, and construction organisations. Encourage guest lectures, internships, or collaborative projects to give students real-world exposure and networking opportunities.


·         Assessment and Evaluation:

Develop an assessment framework to evaluate students' knowledge and skills in BIM. This could include exams, project evaluations, or portfolio reviews. Continuously monitor and update the curriculum based on feedback from students, faculty, and industry partners.


·     Continuous Improvement:

   Regularly review and update the BIM program to align with industry trends, technological advancements, and evolving academic standards. Stay abreast of the latest developments in BIM and related fields to ensure the program remains relevant and up to date.



BIM is a digital technology promising enhanced collaboration, efficiency, and sustainability. Given its potential, governments have been formulating strategies to promote its implementation in the construction industry. Due to the significant allocation of resources, efforts, time, and costs, optimising these strategies is imperative. To diffuse and implement BIM effectively, government strategies are essential in orchestrating a coordinated approach that involves multiple stakeholders, including public and private sector players, academia, and industry experts. Optimising these strategies ensures a well-structured and targeted effort towards overcoming challenges to construction digitalisation toward BIM and improved industry efficiency.

Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB)

Tingkat 10, Menara Dato Onn,

Pusat Dagangan Dunia (WTC),

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel: 0340477000


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