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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding the changes resulting from the virtualization of BIM-enabled collaborative design processes in the building construction industry Bhonde, Devarsh


The Canadian construction industry contributes significantly to the country's economy but faces various challenges, such as inefficiency, delayed projects, and negative environmental impact. Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been identified as a key driver for the industry's digital transformation and a potential remedy to its challenges. However, the adoption of BIM has been limited in the construction industry, which remains among the least digitalized sectors. Enabling digitalization in the construction industry, such as adopting BIM-enabled tools, requires change management competency. This study aims to understand how the virtualization led by BIM-enabled tools changes building design processes, specifically collaborative design processes. The study investigates three collaborative design processes with increasing complexity levels that employ various BIM tools. The impact of BIM-enabled tools on the collaborative design processes of maintainability design reviews, multi-disciplinary design coordination, and lean design management was investigated in this study. These design processes were studied within the context of different real-world case study projects that were selected to ensure diverse collaborative environments and contractual structures. The study utilized an action research approach, and mixed methods of data collection consisting of direct observations, interviews, and document and model analysis were used. The findings suggest that adopting BIM-enabled tools can improve collaborative design processes by enhancing communication, increasing efficiency, and improving information exchange between project stakeholders. The contributions of this study are threefold—first, the usability of virtual reality tools to improve communication and decision-making for maintainability design reviews is empirically demonstrated. Second, a framework for categorizing the changes from adopting cloud-based collaboration tools is developed and operationalized to illustrate the impact of cloud-based collaboration tools on the design coordination process. Finally, empirical evidence and practical insights are provided into the efficacy and challenges of executing lean design management processes in completely remote and virtual collaborative work environments. The findings from this study can help design professionals and project managers better plan and implement BIM-enabled tools in practice and enable the virtualization of design processes in the building construction industry.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International