BIM Infant Industry

A BIM Infant Industry is a concept that refers to a specific stage in the adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) within a construction industry in a particular region, usually a country. This concept characterizes the situation of the

  1. Limited BIM adoption (i.e., only a small number of industry participants are actively using BIM in their projects),
  2. Early implementation (i.e., the industry is in the initial stages of transitioning from traditional methods to BIM workflows and practices), and
  3. Challenges and resistance (i.e., implementing BIM projects can be challenging)

Challenges and resistance are likely to be due to factors such as

  1. Lack of awareness and understanding of BIM benefits,
  2. Insufficient skilled professionals and resources,
  3. Resistance to change from established practices, and
  4. Difficulty in achieving the desired return on investment (ROI) due to initial costs and complexities.

Identifying an industry as being in its BIM infancy is important for several reasons. Importantly, this identification allows the development of specific and targeted strategies and support mechanisms to foster BIM adoption in the early stages. These strategies may focus on the following.

  1. Raising awareness and education about BIM benefits and capabilities.
  2. Developing training programs to equip professionals with the necessary BIM skills.
  3. Providing incentives and support for organisations to pilot BIM projects and overcome initial hurdles.
  4. Establishing clear standards and guidelines for BIM implementation.

Recognising the infant stage helps manage expectations and avoid frustration during initial BIM implementation. Achieving widespread adoption and realising the full potential of BIM requires time and sustained effort. Setting realistic expectations is important for the successful adoption of an innovation such as BIM.

Realising the infancy context also encourages collaboration between experienced BIM users and those in their early stages. This allows knowledge sharing, best practice exchange, and mutual learning to overcome common challenges.

With appropriate support and focused efforts, the BIM Infant Industry can gradually mature and transition towards increased BIM adoption.

I introduced the concept of the BIM Infant Industry through my 2013 paper titled “Assessing the BIM Maturity in a BIM Infant Industry”, that I co-authored with Prof. Chitra Weddikkara. This concept was proposed to describe the specific challenges and characteristics faced by construction industries in the early stages of BIM implementation. My main argument was that recognising this “infant” stage is crucial for developing appropriate strategies and fostering successful BIM adoption. I believe that, by introducing this concept, I have contributed to a more nuanced understanding of BIM adoption and provided valuable insights for policymakers, industry leaders, and practitioners working to navigate the early phases of BIM implementation within their specific contexts.

Recommended Reading

LinkedIn Article on BIM Infant Industry

Jayasena, H. S., & Weddikkara, C. (2013). Assessing the BIM Maturity in a BIM Infant Industry. The Second World Construction Symposium 2013: Socio-Economic Sustainability in Construction (pp. 62-69). Colombo: Ceylon Institute of Builders – Sri Lanka. Mirror Link

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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Application of Lean Principles to Reduce BIM Implementation Costs

It is well known that today’s construction industry is undergoing a major technological advancement with Building Information Modelling (BIM), a transformative technology with associated processes that have shifted how construction projects are conceived, executed, and managed. The benefits of BIM have become increasingly obvious; many have already adopted it, and more are trying to do so. This recognition has extended to the point where some governments have mandated BIM for their public sector projects and building approval processes. However, a critical challenge hindering the effective adoption of BIM is the issue of associated costs, especially when implementing BIM in a less developed economy like Sri Lanka.

One of the promising scientific approaches to cost optimization is the Lean concept. Lean Principles are known for their ability to enhance operational efficiency, improve the quality of products and processes, and reduce waste. All of these factors can contribute to optimizing costs, or in better terms: to optimizing value. Costs cannot be considered independently but need to be evaluated based on the benefits they can deliver. However, not all benefits would necessarily align with the user’s needs. For example, BIM can support realistic visualization of the proposed building. If the client does not require regular visualization of that nature, spending a significant amount of money on a high-end computer system and rendering software is a waste. When the system is designed and set up based on the technology, incurring such unnecessary costs is possible. The concern is further emphasized by the fact that BIM means different things to different users, and their BIM expectations could vary.

Therefore, the value-driven approach of Lean Principles is likely to bring value to BIM adoption in a BIM Infant Industry like Sri Lanka. As a result, it became interesting to identify the potential application of Lean Principles to the cost centres of BIM implementation to efficiently implement BIM in the Sri Lankan construction industry. A study was conducted to uncover opportunities for addressing the major barrier of costs associated with BIM implementation by applying suitable Lean Principles, thus enhancing overall value.

Through a literature review, several cost centres associated with BIM implementation were first identified. The application of Lean Principles to address these issues was determined through a qualitative study involving data collection from experts and content analysis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten experts who possessed expertise in both Lean and BIM. Since there was a limited number of local experts in Sri Lanka, overseas experts with prior experience in the Sri Lankan context were also included.

From the study findings, it can now be concluded that the application of Lean Principles can significantly reduce the costs associated with BIM implementation in the Sri Lankan construction industry. The study identifies several Lean Principles that can be applied to BIM implementation, including value stream mapping, 5S, visual management, and continuous improvement. The study also identifies specific cost centres associated with BIM implementation and offers recommendations for reducing costs in each of these areas. Ultimately, the study suggests that the application of lean principles can lead to more efficient and effective BIM implementation.

This is a synopsis of an article we published in the Benchmarking journal in 2023. The article is titled “Can lean principles assist in reducing BIM implementation costs? A contemporary application of lean principles to the Sri Lankan construction industry.” While many other studies have focused on using BIM to achieve Lean in construction projects, our study differs by examining how to apply Lean principles to achieve value in BIM implementation, making an original contribution to knowledge.

Citation to the original article

Weerasinghe, L.N., Rathnasinghe, A.P., Jayasena, H.S., Thurairajah, N. and Thayaparan, M. (2023), “Can lean principles assist to reduce BIM implementation costs? A contemporary application of lean principles to the Sri Lankan construction industry“, Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

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Mind Mapping Your Initial Research Interest

Mind mapping is a graphical technique used to visually organize information and ideas. It is a creative and effective tool for organizing thoughts. In this presentation, I explain how you can effectively use MindMup 2, a free tool for mind mapping, to organize your initial ideas when you are starting your research.

Click on double-sided arrow on bottom-right of the presentation to make it full-screen.

Doing Research

New to research? Complete two paragraphs by filling the spaces with the words given. You can try as many times you want. Try to complete with minimum attempts. Think logically.

Green BIM Adoption Framework for Existing Buildings

Green BIM is a standardized approach and an integrated process where BIM design software and BIM-based sustainability software are used to perform comprehensive sustainability analysis of buildings, through the use of enriched building data to optimize building performances [p.25]. It is a digital model-based approach that involves generating and managing coordinated and consistent building data over the lifecycle to accomplish desired sustainability goals. Green BIM integrates sustainable design principles with BIM tools to achieve improved building performances and environmental impacts. The concept of Green BIM is based primarily on the convergence of sustainable buildings and BIM, focusing on integrated design processes, environmentally sustainable design principles, and optimization of green building certification credits.

While enriched BIM data is naturally generated to a good extent in the design and construction process of a new building, it was observed that existing data poses a challenge for the implementation of Green BIM in existing buildings. With the aim of overcoming this challenge, a study focusing on the adoption of Green Building Information Modelling (BIM) for existing buildings was carried out. This is a synopsis of an article published in the journal Intelligent Buildings International based on this study.

The research aims to identify the challenges of generating BIM data from existing building information and to recognize the solutions to overcome them. It also compares the different challenges encountered when applying Green BIM in existing contexts, particularly in buildings that were not constructed using BIM during the design and construction stages. The study provides insights into the practical challenges that arise in these existing conditions and offers a conceptual framework for implementing Green BIM techniques in existing buildings.

A multiple case study involving two existing buildings was conducted to achieve the study aim. The first case is a 13-year-old building, and the second case is 2 years old. Both buildings are three-story educational buildings within a university. The purpose of the case studies was to identify the challenges of implementing Green BIM for existing buildings. The methodology involved the practical implementation of Green BIM techniques for the selected cases. The analysis, comparing one building with new conditions and the other with old conditions, enabled the identification of different challenges when applying Green BIM to existing buildings. The study utilized Autodesk Revit as the modelling tool and Green Building Studio (GBS) for simulations.

The study revealed several challenges for Green BIM for existing buildings, such as errors in drawings, complexity, and excessive time consumption for modelling. It also identified potential solutions to overcome these challenges. Consequently, a framework for the successful implementation of Green BIM in existing buildings was developed based on these research findings. This framework benefits existing buildings in Sri Lanka by providing a structured approach to address the practical challenges of implementing Green BIM in the context of existing buildings.

The framework offers potential solutions to overcome identified challenges. By addressing these challenges, the framework aims to facilitate the successful adoption of Green BIM technology, leading to improved sustainability, energy efficiency, and environmental performance of existing buildings in Sri Lanka. Additionally, the framework serves as a guide for researchers and industry practitioners interested in the development of Green BIM for existing building contexts, contributing to the advancement of sustainable building practices in the country.

Citation to Original Article

Rathnasiri, P., & Jayasena, S. (2022). Green building information modelling technology adoption for existing buildings in Sri Lanka. Facilities management perspective. Intelligent Buildings International, 14(1), 23–44.

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Behind a Great Personality

When young Suneetha Attygalle arrived at Sydney Australia to study her diploma in Orthoptics through a Colombo Plan scholarship, it was her first day away without her parents. Siri, a Sri Lankan who had lived in Australia for five years was requested to help and look after her. He did the task entrusted to him so well, finally marrying her, with the promise to look after her for life. Unfortunately, he had to leave this world too early, leaving her to look after their children alone.

A quiet house surrounded by tall trees at the end of the street, I met this charming lady, Mrs. Suneetha Caldera, wife of late Professor Siri Caldera, introduced by a friend Archt. Nissanka Attygalle. She was Nissanka’s elder sister. Driven by my curiosity I enquired, and she was kind enough to tell me her memories about her husband.

Siri Caldera got qualified as a draughtsman at age of 19. He received a Commonwealth scholarship to study a six year programme in Quantity Surveying in Australia. He completed the programme within four years, and worked the balance two years as a Quantity Surveyor in Brisbane and Sydney. This was the time he met Suneetha Attygalle. They got married in 1967 and were blessed with three daughters. During this time Siri Caldera worked as the Chief Quantity Surveyor at the Buildings Department. In early 80’s, he left with his family to Nigeria for a two-year assignment. He returned to Sri Lanka following an invitation to lead the establishment of a Quantity Surveying degree course at University of Moratuwa.

“Upon return Siri joined the university as the Professor of Quantity Surveying. He worked very hard to get the course implemented, he spent most of his time at the University”; said Mrs. Caldera. “This was the time he got a very attractive offer to work as the Quantity Surveyor for a project in Kuwait. They even came to Sri Lanka to get him to accept the offer. But he humbly refused saying that he had a greater responsibility here. Had he accepted that offer, he could have been still alive”; she added.

“Siri used to call his students ‘my children’, and he asked me to look after ‘our children’, while he was always worried about the future of his children. I did not go to work as it became impossible to look after three girls and all the work at home while doing a job. Siri did not want to stay away from the university ‘for a second’ as he was always worried about the Quantity Surveying being invaded by some others. What he wanted was to keep Quantity Surveying for graduates, his children. I could realize how much he had to fight for this purpose, from the way he came home exhausted everyday. I asked him not to take that much of stress as it would not be good for his health condition. What he told was that it was only until his first batch of students graduates. Then he could hand over the Quantity Surveying Department (Department of Building Economics) to them and live peacefully thereafter”; Mrs. Caldera awakened the memories. Professor Caldera could not witness the graduation of his first batch of students. He died a few months before their graduations due to a heart failure resulted from high blood pressure.

“It was a troublesome time with JVP insurgence; in addition to this sort of pressure, he had to face the internal pressure from forces within the university which wanted to wipe out the Quantity Surveying degree. The extreme stress and tension increased his blood pressure to high risk levels. Still he did not give up his fight; and that fight didn’t leave him any room to fight for his own life. Finally, we lost him at a time we needed him the most. He died in Kandy; we could not even bring his remains to Colombo due to uncertain situation in the country. His demise brought us lot of hardship. I was not working. Our eldest daughter was sitting for university entrance. She happened to give up her higher education and find employment. The youngest was only eleven years old.”

She told me all these with a smile on her face, but I could feel the sadness within. I could also feel the glow on her face when I said that we still have a photograph of the professor on the department wall, and that “Professor Caldera” is a legend – a story being told by senior students to their juniors as a tradition.

She has been courageous to overcome the hardships she faced. Her elder daughter now lives in Canada. The youngest has become a lecturer following her father’s footsteps and now reading for a PhD. Her second daughter is a lawyer, and she’s the one who lives with her mother.

This is a report from an unplanned interview I had with Mrs. Caldera. There can be many flaws in this article due to my lack of prior preparation and lack of time for her to recall the past leisurely. I like to thank Archt. Nissanka Attygalle, for giving me the opportunity to meet Mrs. Caldera, and for the photographs he later emailed me. Finally, I express my heartfelt gratitude to Mrs. Caldera, for her care and understanding extended to her late husband, which in turn enabled him to reach his dreams, even though he could not live to see his dreams coming true. The only way in which we can repay him is to become world-class Quantity Surveyors. That was his dream and I am sure that he must be still looking after us from heaven.

This is a copy of the article I wrote Quantity Surveying Alumni website in December 2012. I thought of republishing here since the QS Alumni website is revamped and the new website does not contain the article.

The Effect of Winner’s Curse on Contract Management

Following the evidence that, there is high probability for large winner’s curse to exist in the Sri Lankan construction industry (please read this first), we moved forward to identify how it could challenge the contract management of a project. This is a synopsis of a paper I published with Ruwandika Uhanowitage at the International Conference on Building Education and Research: Building Resilience, held at Kandalama Hotel in 2008.

Large winner’s curse means that the winning contracts shall either carry losses with below average profits or even negative profits. This can lead to cash flow problems for the contractor, who may try to compensate by submitting numerous claims or reducing time and quality performance. As a result, post-contract management difficulties may arise, requiring extra effort for corrective measures from the client and consultants. One of the key impacts of this scenario is the elevated aggressiveness of the contractor in claiming.

We used two variables to assess the winner’s curse: Winning Margin and Winning Bid Range. The Winning Margin quantifies the difference between the winning bid and the second lowest bid, offering a measure of the perceived winner’s curse. The Winning Bid Range measures the gap between the average bid and the lowest bid, providing an estimate of the theoretical winning margin, assuming the average bid reflects the normal market price.

The contractor’s claim attitude index was a new measure we identified through our study to represent the level of contract management difficulties because the contractor’s aggressiveness of claiming is a key factor to aggravate difficulty of contract management. The index was calculated as the ratio between the amount claimed for the contractual claims such as variations, fluctuations, and cost headings under time extensions by the contractor, and the actual amount approved for payment. The formula used to calculate the claim attitude index is as follows:

Claim attitude index = Quoted amount by contractor / Approved amount

The research was designed as a correlation study based on a survey of 20 building projects. The study revealed a significant positive correlation between the winner’s curse and post-contract management difficulties. The higher the winner’s curse, the higher the contractor’s claim attitude index, which signifies greater contract management challenges. Moreover, the research indicated that while both the winning margin and winning bid range are positively correlated with the contractor’s claim attitude index, it was the winning margin that displayed the strongest correlation. These findings imply that contractors with a pronounced perceived winner’s curse are more likely to claim aggressively, resulting in increased paperwork, negotiations, and potentially strained relationships.

The study’s implications for the construction industry are noteworthy. Clients should exercise caution when awarding projects to bidders with a substantial winner’s curse. Instead of relying solely on bid prices, clients should take into account other critical factors, including the contractor’s experience, reputation, and track record when making their decisions.

Citation to Original Paper (click on the title to open the paper)

Jayasena, H. S., & Uhanowitage, R. (2008). The Effect of Winner’s Curse on Post-Contract Management. International Conference on Building Education and Research, Building Resilience (pp. 284-285). Kandalama, Sri Lanka: CIB.

Mirror Link

The Dark Side of Construction Bidding: Evidence of Winner’s Curses in Sri Lanka

The winner’s curse is a phenomenon that occurs when the winning bidder in an auction or bidding process ends up paying more for the item or project than it is actually worth. This concept is explained in the book “The winner’s curse: paradoxes and anomalies of economic life” by Richard Thaler. The explanation primarily focuses on the buyer’s perspective, as the concept of the winner’s curse was originally introduced in the context of auctions in the oil drilling industry. In these auctions, buyers often place bids without having a precise understanding of the potential oil reserves they can extract.

In the construction industry, the dynamics differ from traditional auctions because, in construction tenders, bidders present proposals to provide their services at a specific price to the client, rather than bidding to purchase a product. Each bid specifies the price a contractor is willing to accept from the client in exchange for completing the construction project. In this context, the winner’s curse can occur when a contractor secures a bid but later realizes that the actual project costs exceed their initial estimates during the pricing phase. This miscalculation can result in reduced profits or even financial losses, thereby negatively impacting the overall profitability of construction projects.

The study conducted by us in Sri Lanka from 2003 to 2005 revealed strong evidence of significant winner’s curses in the Sri Lankan construction industry. The research employed the winning margin and the distribution of bid prices to identify potential winner’s curses. Analysing 389 bids across 64 private sector projects, the study observed considerable variability in bid prices, with a standard deviation of 16.13% from the average bid. This indicates that the winning bids consistently fell significantly below the average price, as the winning bid tended to be closer to the lower end of the price spectrum, not near the average.

The winning margin represents the difference between the lowest (i.e., winning) bid and the second lowest bid. It essentially quantifies “the money left on the table,” as the winner could have secured the bid by offering just one rupee less than the second lowest bid. On average, the winning margin was 9.32%, meaning that, on average, the second lowest bid was approximately 9% higher than the lowest bid. However, this winning margin could range from as low as 0.12% to as high as 35.06%.

The significant price variability and substantial winning margin emphasize the gravity of the winner’s curse issue within the Sri Lankan construction industry. The presence of substantial winner’s curses serves as a indicator of inefficiencies, including issues related to information, inexperience, or inadequate training among cost estimators. These inefficiencies are detrimental not only to the industry’s growth but also to individual clients. Given the compelling evidence, it is vital that we collectively address and confront this issue.

This article provides an overview of the paper titled “The Winner’s Curse in the Sri Lankan Construction Industry,” which was a part of my master’s study at the National University of Singapore. Associate Professor Wille Tan supervised the study. I am grateful to his guidance and insights.

Cite the original article

Willie Tan & Himal Suranga (2008) The Winner’s Curse in the Sri Lankan Construction Industry, International Journal of Construction Management, 8:1, 29-35, DOI: 10.1080/15623599.2008.10773106

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