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Diffusion of BIM policies in China: an event history analysis

Yu Yang (Department of Construction Management and Real Estate, School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China) (Finance Department, OCT Property (Group) Co., Ltd., Chengdu Branch, Chengdu, China)
Shiting Shao (Department of Construction Management and Real Estate, School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Dongping Cao (Department of Construction Management and Real Estate, School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 27 February 2024

162

Abstract

Purpose

Despite the critical role of the policy environment in facilitating the advancement of building information modeling (BIM) as a systemic innovation to reshape traditional facility design, construction and operation processes, scant scholarly attention has been paid to systematically investigating how and why complex BIM policies are concretely and gradually implemented in different regional contexts from a dynamic policy diffusion perspective. This study aims to empirically investigate how different types of BIM policy instruments are dynamically implemented in heterogeneous regions over time and how the diffusion of BIM policies across different regions is comprehensively impacted by both internal efficiency needs and external legitimacy pressures.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employed a positivist research paradigm in which BIM policy data from 182 prefecture-level and above cities in China during 2011–2022 were analyzed with quantitative approaches for theory verification. Based on the content analysis of the evolutionary characteristics of the adopted BIM policy instruments in heterogeneous regions over time, the event history analysis (EHA) method was then used to further examine the mechanisms underlying the diffusion of BIM policies across different regions.

Findings

The content analysis results show that while environmental instruments (such as technological integration and goal planning) are the primary policy instruments currently adopted in China, recent years have also witnessed increasing adoptions of supply-side instruments (such as fiscal support and information support) and demand-side instruments (such as demonstration projects and tax incentives). After controlling for the impacts of regional fiscal and technical resources, the EHA results illustrate that BIM policy adoption positively relates to regional construction industry scale but negatively relates to regional industry productivity and that compared with public pressures from industry participants, vertical pressures from the central government and horizontal pressures from neighboring regions are more substantial drivers for policy adoption.

Originality/value

As an exploratory effort of using a dynamic policy diffusion perspective to systematically investigate how BIM policies are adopted in heterogeneous regional contexts to facilitate BIM advancement, this study not only characterizes the complexity and dynamics of BIM policies but also provides deepened understandings of the mechanisms underlying policy adoption in the conservative construction industry. The findings hold implications for how multifarious policy instruments can be more effectively and dynamically adopted to facilitate the advancement of BIM and related technologies as innovative solutions in the construction domain.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos: 72271186 and 71802150) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities in China (No: 12002150055).

Citation

Yang, Y., Shao, S. and Cao, D. (2024), "Diffusion of BIM policies in China: an event history analysis", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-08-2023-0826

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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