2D to 3D: still a work in progress

Estimates regarding the adoption of building information modelling (BIM) vary depending on who you talk to, where they are based, and what kind of role they have. About 18 months ago, for instance, an American survey estimated that about 35% of building owners had tried BIM on one or more projects (see my post), while estimates of UK BIM adoption at an Ecobuild seminar I attended earlier this month were put much lower – mostly well below 10% – by UK industry practitioners, including individuals from some of the UK’s most innovative practices.

Usefully, Cadalyst‘s Robert Green undertook a survey of 600+ CAD managers last year that included a question about firms making the transition from 2D to 3D design. He reports (CAD Manager’s Journey into 3D, Part 1) that the market is still very 2D-centric:

Totally 2D — 19%
Mainly 2D but evaluating 3D — 51%
Hybrid 2D/3D — 24%
Totally 3D — 6%

In other words, 70% of the survey respondents worked in companies that were almost solely producing 2D output, and only about one in twenty were totally 3D (I suspect the figures in the UK would be similar, or possibly even gloomier from the point of view of 3D adoption).

The rest of Robert’s article gives a good analysis of the reasons that 3D adoption is not racing ahead: he mentions: learning curves, training costs, hardware costs, time pressures, legacy issues and user reluctance.

Update (27 April 2009): Part 3 of Robert’s analysis of the survey is, perhaps, even more gloomy, suggesting that 84% of the AEC/construction industry is 2D:

“Very few companies have brought 3D into their workflows, and almost none have made the full transition to 3D. Why so low? Most likely it is because most of the industry still uses a lot of paper and uses 2D DWG files as the primary project documents. It seems that even if you want to be fully 3D in the AEC industry, it is almost impossible to do so because of market factors.”

He continues: “Contract requirements for 2D DWG files mean a lot of AEC companies continue to work in 2D tools even if they might like to move to 3D.”

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2009/03/2d-to-3d-still-a-work-in-progress/

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  1. […] other commentators (see my posts US structural engineers warming to BIM, and 2D to 3D: still a work in progress), Mike has also found marked differences in the speed at which different disciplines, […]

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