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43 CHAPTER SIX CONCLUSIONS SUMMARY Because Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an emerging technology, it is only recently being implemented in airports in North America. The objectives of this study were to synthesize information about current state of the art and practice related to BIM in general industry and to determine the status of BIM in targeted airports. The study concludes that although many of these airports have not implemented BIM throughout all of the facility life-cycle phases, they are making progress toward that goal. TRENDS AND ISSUES More than half of the airport respondents are in the early phases of BIM adoption where they are between the interested and integrating stages of adoption. Most are discovering barriers and overcoming barriers to adoption related to integration issues, such as data silos and lack of industry standards and contract language. Although the BIM activity levels for the airports currently range from low to very high, airports are realizing (basic) project-level BIM benefits, such as cost savings generated from early detection of issues. However, most have not yet fully integrated BIM throughout their organizations and are, therefore, not yielding organization-level benefits. There were consistencies, however, in the benefits reported at the project level and organization level. Improved visualization was the number one benefit reported by airports. Two other top benefits cited were better cost control and collaboration among project team using a single source of information. Visualization provides communication (through facility information and facility representations) to critical stakeholders and decision makers that can support decision making throughout the airportâs organiza- tion without requiring architecture, engineering, and construction professionals (AEC)-level training in design or construction. Although visualization is considered a byproduct of other BIM processes, such as design and three-dimensional coordination, it provides vital support for improved communication that an airportâs BIM champion can leverage as one of the main benefits. The results also indicate a shift of airport BIM activity from project-level (beginning to basic) implementation to an orga- nization-level (intermediate to advanced) implementation. All airports report adding more BIM uses that will facilitate the airportsâ expansion or advancement of their current use of BIM throughout all facility life-cycle phases. This leads to greater BIM implementation maturity (experience, project implementation, and BIM use across the life cycle) and, in turn, will translate to greater benefits. BIM will also use designated resources in its infrastructure of people, processes, and technology. Airports are challenged in developing the custom, organization-level strategy for BIM implementation because each air- port is unique, with its own business case and resources to support its BIM strategic plan and its BIM use across the facility life cycle. Therefore, the results from respondent airports in this study cannot be generalized to all airports. However, the results provide insight for airports as they progress through the adoption phases within each life-cycle phase. Respondents reported organizational readiness to be important in the implementation process. An organizationâs imple- mentation strategy can be optimized through having a BIM champion, having an implementation plan that outlines orga- nizational goals, and ensuring team membersâ willingness to adopt BIM. Massachusetts Port Authorityâs Implementation Roadmap in Appendix B illustrates such a strategy. The lack of contractual language that specifically defines the asset data to be included or the model level of development is another issue for airports implementing BIM at the organization level. Once again this issue corresponds with the need for a BIM Strategy and Implementation Plan that is unique to each airport.
44 KNOWLEDGE GAPS AND FUTURE RESEARCH This study identified a number of knowledge gaps related to business processes and BIM. Although reported as one of the top benefits of BIM, better cost control was not the number one metric being used as a key performance indicator (KPI) by respondent airports. One airport reported tracking reduced initial costs and reduced life-cycle costs in their return on investment (ROI) calculations related to BIM. The gap between identifying better cost control as a BIM benefit and actually having cost-related KPIs in place to calculate the ROI related to reduced cost reflects a gap com- mon across the AEC industry implementation of BIM. Further research is needed in this area to support an airportâs ability to operationalize the identified benefit of reduced costs through metrics that provide the information needed for airports to calculate their ROI for BIM. The complexity and uniqueness of an airport facility in terms of its existing conditions and lack of available data about initial costs and life-cycle costs is a barrier to implementing meaningful KPIs and calculating ROI. That some of the respondent airports reported that they are realizing benefits in the planning, design, and construction life- cycle phases is promising. However, the noticeable gap in this area relates to the full understanding of the lack of BIM use in the operations and maintenance phase of the life cycle. Only one of the airports reports full implementation in this phase and is realizing benefits. This gap provides further support for the need to develop KPIs and ROI calculations specific to the airport industry. Most of the respondent airports require BIM deliverables that are inadequate for operations and maintenance. The effect is marginalized facility management and compromised opportunities to realize benefits and determine ROI. It will become increasingly important for airports to share information related to implementing a comprehensive facility management strategy, developing meaningful key performance indicators, calculating return on investment, and creating the contract language and documents to facilitate a full BIM implementation.