The adoption of 4D BIM in the UK construction industry: An Innovation Diffusion approach

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Purpose: More than half of UK construction projects exceed their planned time schedules. This is a trend that has been recorded over a number of years using standard industry KPI data. Despite these failings, UK Government introduced a strategic target of delivering future projects 50% faster than the project durations achieved in 2013. To realise this strategy requires, amongst other things, more rapid project delivery processes, and consistent improvements to the time predictability aspects of on-site construction delivery periods. There is an expectation, supported by some evidence, that the adoption of 4D BIM by UK project planners will contribute to this. The aim of the present research was to investigate how this adoption has taken place, using Rogers’ Innovation Diffusion theory as a basis. Design/methodology/approach: A survey of 97 construction planning practitioners was conducted to measure 4D BIM innovation take-up over time. Classic innovation diffusion research methods were adopted. Findings: Analysis of the data addresses how the benefits of 4D BIM are being realised and explore reasons for adoption or rejection decisions of this innovation. 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. Several possible future research directions and methods are advised. These include qualitative investigations into the decision making process around 4D BIM, and case study exploration of the consequences of 4D BIM innovation 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-967
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2017


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