Innovative Capability of Building Information Modeling in Construction Design

Mustafa Selçuk Çıdık, David Boyd, Niraj Thurairajah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The construction industry has long been urged to innovate, but innovation has been elusive because of the inherent social and organizational complexity of construction. Therefore, developing insight into the practice of innovating is needed to better understand and perform innovation in construction. Focusing on the practice of innovating requires exploring the enabling capability of solutions for practitioners to establish novel ways of doing things for improvement, referred to as 'innovative capability.' Building information modeling (BIM) has been promoted as an enabler of innovation in construction design because of its data management capabilities and the opportunities for interdisciplinary work based on them. Nevertheless, previous work presents divergent results exploring what BIM technologies can do for people and what people can actually do in BIM-enabled design practices, which presents confusion about the innovative capability of BIM. This paper aims to establish the basis of this confusion as a necessary step in developing more realistic ways of assessing and exploiting this capability. A conceptual continuum is proposed based on the functionalist/technology-centered and nonfunctionalist/human-centered perspectives on BIM to consider divergent arguments about its innovative capability; this continuum is used to analyze empirical findings from BIM-enabled design practices. The analyses suggest that individuals use BIM but are confused about its innovative capability because they adopt different views of BIM depending on their job and perspective. Given this, innovation is held back by the unexpressed differences between the views of BIM adopted by various practitioners who have to work together. It is argued that recognizing these differences, and working toward their reconciliation, is the way forward in establishing and exploiting the innovative capability of BIM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04017047
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number8
Early online date8 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


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