AFU: a Framework to Aid BIM Adoption in a BIM Infant Industry

The Affordance-Led Framework of Understanding (AFU) is a structured approach designed to assess the state of BIM affordances at a given moment and study their evolution over time. The term “affordance-led” is used because it centres around the concept of affordances. Affordances represent the perceived, expected, or real opportunities (and constraints) that a technology or system provides to its users. It’s crucial to understand that affordances are not intrinsic to the innovation itself but emerge from the interaction between the user and the innovation. Thus, it represents the complementarity between the user and the technology or the system. This departure from traditional innovation adoption models, which typically focused solely on the “innovation” itself while overlooking the subjective interpretation by users, is a distinguishing feature of the AFU. The subjectivity of what BIM means to different users further emphasizes the significance of this shift.

The AFU is based on a comprehensive framework that categorizes the various states of affordances at any given time. It offers a unified, interconnected framework for comprehending the status and dynamics of affordances within a user’s BIM adoption context. By using the AFU, adopters can assess their position in the BIM adoption process at any specific point and develop strategies to realize the expected dynamics of affordances, thereby ensuring the successful integration of BIM or informed withdrawal from their BIM adoption efforts. The AFU provides a detailed view of the context, enabling experts to focus on critical issues, making it a valuable resource for practitioners seeking to understand the status of BIM adoption within a given setting.

At the early stages of BIM diffusion within an industry, the importance of the AFU is significant because the failure of adoption by a few early adopters can lead to increased user dissatisfaction, negative word-of-mouth, and potential erosion of goodwill among adopters. Negative information spreads more rapidly than positive news, significantly disrupting the effective diffusion of BIM in the industry. Therefore, the success of BIM adoption at the micro-level, for individuals or small groups, is critical for the overall success of BIM diffusion in an emerging industry, often referred to as a BIM Infant Industry in theory.

While we have not explicitly addressed it, after reading this article, you will realize that the AFU can be applied to various other innovation adoption contexts. The AFU serves as a universally applicable foundational framework in the realm of innovation adoption processes. It is not a theory in itself but rather a theoretical framework that can be leveraged to comprehend BIM adoption and decision-making in other innovation adoption contexts. As innovation continues to reshape industries, the insights offered by the AFU will play a vital role in informed decision-making and the promotion of innovation diffusion across diverse sectors. We are optimistic that the AFU will introduce a new dimension to the study of innovation adoption.

This article serves as a condensed overview of the recent publication under the title “The Affordance-Led Framework for Understanding BIM Adoption” in Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, presenting the primary findings from my doctoral research. In this study, a framework was developed to aid BIM adopters, change agents, and other stakeholders in gaining a deeper understanding of the adoption context, thereby facilitating effective strategies for BIM adoption. This research is grounded in the theory of Diffusion of Innovations.

I would like to express my gratitude to my research supervisors, Professor Kanchana Perera and Associate Professor Niraj Thurairajah, as well as Dr Mohan Siriwardena, the chair of the progress panel, for their invaluable contributions that played a pivotal role in the successful completion of my doctoral study. I would also like to express my gratitude to Professor Chitra Weddikkara, who provided guidance and supervision during the initial phases of my study.

Citation to Original Article
Jayasena, H.S., Thurairajah, N., Perera, B.A.K.S. and Siriwardena, M. (2023), “Affordance-led framework of understanding of BIM adoption“, Archnet-IJAR, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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