Should This Project Be a "BIM Project"?

Last week, in a conversation with a newer BIM Manager, we ended up discussing a question that seems to always come up during a firm's first few years of BIM adoption. In his case, the question was worded:
How can I convince my leadership team that a project is a good fit for BIM?
It is really a variation on a question Harvard University asked the Tocci team to address - should this project be a "BIM project"? How do we decide which projects are good candidates for BIM? My team and I came up with the BIM Decision Matrix - an algorithm that calculates which projects are candidates for BIM to add value.

You don't need an algorithm to think about whether or not you should implement BIM on a project. I would recommend considering the following project characteristics, based on the best available information.

Construction Type

New construction projects are best suited for BIM implementation, but renovation and maintenance projects can benefit depending on the overall scope of the project. (15)

Program Complexity

Teams see the value of BIM most easily on complex projects, such as labs and healthcare. However, factors in other types of programs can add value. For example, the replication of typical layouts in residential projects makes for good BIM utilization. (18)


Budget is another major factor to consider in BIM implementation. The cost of implementing BIM becomes transparent on projects valued around $2M or greater. Plus, budget is a pretty good indicator of the scale of a project - another factor. (25)


Schedule impacts the potential value a project gets from BIM because of the mobilization time often required. The further along a project is, the lower the opportunity for using BIM. (7)

Project Delivery Method

Projects with a more collaborative contract form will benefit slightly more from BIM than other projects. (14)

Team BIM Capability

Team BIM capability can really impact the value a project gets from BIM. Honestly, the better project partners are at BIM, the easier it is to implement BIM! (15)

Existing Building Documentation

The form of existing building documentation is especially important for renovation and maintenance projects. Existing BIM data is the most useful; although CAD and laser scan data can serve as meaningful baselines when used properly. (6)

If you want to compare a few projects, you can use the numerical values included at the end of each factor. Use your best judgment to assign values to each category, and then add them up. The higher the number, the more likely it is that a project will benefit from BIM implementation. For Harvard, we considered 65+ a "proceed" with BIM implementation, between 45 and 65 an "investigate" BIM implementation, and below 45 a "reconsider" BIM implementation.

I keep this list at seven factors to stay in line with Miller's Law. It really is easier to remember seven things. But of course, these are probably just a few of the factors. What am I missing? What do you consider when deciding if a project is a "BIM project"?

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