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The adoption of 4D BIM in the UK construction industry: an innovation diffusion approach

Barry J. Gledson (Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
David Greenwood (Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 20 November 2017

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2625

Abstract

Purpose

British construction industry KPI data collected over recent years shows a trend in projects exceeding their time schedules. In 2013, the UK Government set a target for projects timeframes to reduce by 50 per cent. Proposed interventions included more rapid project delivery processes, and consistent improvements to construction delivery predictions, deployed within the framework of 4D Building Information Modelling (BIM). The purpose of this paper is to use Rogers’ Innovation Diffusion theory as a basis to investigate how this adoption has taken place.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 97 construction planning practitioners were surveyed to measure 4D BIM innovation take-up over time. Classic innovation diffusion research methods were adopted.

Findings

Results indicated an increasing rate of 4D BIM adoption and reveal a time lag between awareness and first use that is characteristic of this type of innovation.

Research limitations/implications

Use of a non-probability sampling strategy prevents the results being generalisable to the wider construction population. Future research directions and methods are suggested, including qualitative investigations into decision-making processes around 4D BIM, and case studies exploring the consequences of 4D BIM adoption.

Practical implications

Recommendations of how to facilitate the adoption of 4D BIM innovation are proposed, which identify the critical aspects of system compatibility and safe trialling of the innovation.

Originality/value

This paper reinforces 4D BIM as an innovation and records its actual UK industry adoption rate using an accepted diffusion research method. By focusing on UK industry-wide diffusion the work also stands apart from more typical research efforts that limit innovation diffusion exploration to individual organisations.

Keywords

Citation

Gledson, B.J. and Greenwood, D. (2017), "The adoption of 4D BIM in the UK construction industry: an innovation diffusion approach", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 950-967. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-03-2016-0066

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited