Collaborative processes help US industry respond to growth pressures


FMI and the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) have released their Eighth Annual Survey of Owners. Based on over 200 responses from a variety of owner types and industries, the survey has both good news and bad news for construction IT. Building information modelling (BIM) technologies are increasingly used, but there is also a continued lack of investment in information technology (see stories at and Cadalyst).

The construction industry is said to be adopting new business approaches and making the ‘technological shift’ to meet the seven challenges — “the perfect storm” — converging on the construction industry:

  • Aging infrastructure
  • Schedule speed, complexity and ability to design and construct globally
  • Global competition
  • Alternative delivery and financing systems
  • Aging Workforce
  • Attraction of Gen Y; Retention of Gen X and Baby Boomers
  • Investment in Purposeful Training

FMI senior consultant Marisé Mikulis said: “One consistent trend we’ve noticed throughout the years is the increased application of collaborative work models to bridge the industry’s historically ‘silo-ed’ work processes.” The report indicates increased use of design/build as a procurement method, with increased reliance on construction and project managers.

Parallel to this movement to collaborative work models is growing use of BIM: approximately 35% of survey respondents had used BIM processes and technology for one or more years; 74% of current BIM users would recommend use of such systems.

Despite the expanding use of BIM, however, nearly 25% of owners still do not know how much IT spending takes place to support project objectives, the report states. Owners who apply technologies use them in ways that have limited observable impact, making financial or productivity-based justifications for their use difficult. Mikulis says: “Technology use in construction is obviously resulting in higher quality project execution, but owners are still having trouble justifying IT as a business cost.”

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  1. I thought this might be of interest: the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a think tank in Washington, D.C., hosted a discussion with Barry LePatner on “How IT Can Help Fix America’s Ailing Construction Industry.” Audio and video from this event is available online at:

  2. Thanks Daniel, I also blogged about Barry LePatner in December – see

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