Market Research: BIM Consulting

Early in 2020, BIM Guru conducted a survey for business planning purposes. The results and findings are shared here for others to view. All results are 100% anonymous. All results are deduced in regards to the results given and are not necessarily a complete picture of the Australian or global market.


Currently BIM Guru is in setup mode - market research has been essential for me to understand the needs and wants of my market prior to entering it. I notice that many consultants project what they want of the market, in the hope it will attract only those they want to work with. To me, it is better to ask the market what they need, then find a meeting point in the middle.


Where did respondents find the Survey?

In total, 83 people responded across a period of 2 weeks. More than half the results were generated from the first day of release. This indicated a majority of respondents came from my Linkedin network.


There is naturally going to be some sampling bias incurred by this - a majority of respondents will be 'sold' on BIM and most likely align with my beliefs and software platforms of choice from my Youtube Channel. A notable sample type missing from here is probably business owners and directors who tend not to be as active within my network.



Question 1: Size of company of respondent

One of the most important things I wanted to know - what size of company should I be targeting as a BIM consultant? I was able to cross examine some results to gauge the respective answers of these types of respondents also as the results came in.


3 of my respondents listed their 'Other' as a BIM Consulting company. Glad to see I've got their attention - I look forward to meeting many of them when I begin operating alongside them in the market soon!



Question 2: Sector of the AEC industry of respondent's company

I won't lie - I was surprised (but not unhappy) to see Engineering outpace Architecture on the respondent volume here. This did however give me some valuable insight into the types of companies I should be marketing my services towards. I'm glad I made friends with all my engineers during my work to date!


It was disappointing to see a lower volume of responses from construction companies; both a sign of their pace of change as well as online presence. Being kept too busy on site to diddle-daddle on Linkedin maybe? Probably not a bad thing!



Question 3/4: BIM usage by project %, company BIM usage by year

This result aligned with my expectations - 70% is usually the figure most reports return for BIM project adoption in Australia and other developed countries.


Duration of usage results were however all over the place, results were clustered around the 1-3 and 12-15 year range - a clear period of non-adoption between. This indicates to me that the market might comprise of leaders and resistors, and less in between these two adoption typologies.



Question 5: BIM management method of respondent's company

It's refreshing to see that company BIM Management Groups are becoming more common than the 'lone-wolf' BIM Manager approach. I've been a part of both of these approaches in past employment, and the former is far more rewarding and productive in my opinion.


It is of no surprise that the BIM project adoption rate roughly correlates to the percentage of companies who engage an active BIM Management system.


As an emerging BIM Consultant, I was happy to see that a small portion of the market actively engages them; however the size of the market this indicates means that pursuing clients will be necessary vs. waiting for them!



Question 6: BIM platforms used by respondent's companies

Obviously some heavy sampling bias in action here - my Youtube channel is mostly focused on Autodesk Revit so this has reflected in this result.


I do personally find that Revit is the most commonly used BIM Platform in Australia, however I know it isn't used in 95% of cases. The weighting of response by engineering companies is no doubt related to the volume of AutoCAD usage.


I was very surprised to see a low presence of Rhino 3D, as I know a lot of companies use this software in-house (although usually in tandem with other programs). This may have meant respondents answered which programs they use versus which programs their companies use.


Navisworks and Civil3D were the most common 'Other' answers.



Question 7: Company engagement with computational design workflows

Anyone who follows my work will know I'm a huge fan of computational design and its potential/realized impact on BIM workflows. I'm glad to see that 60% of respondents emulated this sentiment - although I still must question if this is context of their company, or their workflows.


Computational design is often pursued in isolation of the company bigger picture in my experience (even in 200+ company size), so I expect that embedded computational design usage is closer to 50%.


I have been warned by other consultants that computational design is a 'dead end' pursuit currently, however I will still market and pursue any clients willing to work with me on computational design workflows regardless.



Question 8: Why would the respondent engage a BIM Consultant


Exactly what I expected and hoped for - BIM Consultants would primarily be engaged for filling skills gaps, and redistributing their knowledge among companies to combat this.


I was surprised to see the volume of respondents who would engage a BIM Consultant to make more profit, however given the speed at which an expert can turn around an issue this makes more sense when I think about it longer...


I got a cheeky 'Other' answer that said 'Only if they are better than me... I doubt it'. Challenge accepted, whoever you may be!



Question 9: Why wouldn't the respondent engage a BIM Consultant


I thought this question would be a more bitter pill to swallow the results for, however it wasn't actually that bad. Only 30% or so of respondents seemed to reflect an active desire or apathy not to engage BIM Consultants (this question allowed multiple options).


One of the biggest challenges in setting up my business has been to determine my pricing structure - I don't want to drive down the market rates, but I don't want to drive away my clients. Having only a 30% 'Too expensive' answer was comforting; as most of these respondents would likely have also said they simply wouldn't use one anyway.


The highest answer of in-house development alternatives is refreshing - I do not see BIM Consulting as a means to 'replace' a companies development core, but more so as an opportunity to improve it and form a long-lasting symbiotic relationship with its beating heart of delivery.


A brilliant 'other' answer I received was that all too often BIM Consultants impose their ideas as oppose to work with what a client presents them with. This is a highly valuable insight, and has helped me ensure I actively listen to the needs of my clients, as well as build upon them rather than simply impose my alternative in its place.


This was without a doubt the most valuable section of the survey for my business development direction.



Question 10: Priority of BIM Consulting services


I am surprised to see Computational Design top this list - I probably put it down to sampling bias again. Refreshing nonetheless!


I was relieved to see BIM Modelling, content and training services closer to the top - these are core focuses for my business when it is in full motion (spoiler alert!). I was likewise relieved to see migration from other platforms and documentation services at the bottom of the list; these are less desirable targets for me personally; I aim to minimize the amount of preaching/converting I do in my work.



Conclusion


Overall, I got a lot of answers that matched my expectations, and a few curve balls that surprised me. This exercise was highly valuable to my business planning phase, and I encourage anyone else moving into this style of work to do this before leaping into the market. It's a wild world out there - keep your wits about you!


Thanks to everyone who responded, and I hope you find these results useful and insightful to your line of work.


See you all soon in the market.


- Gavin Crump @BIM Guru

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