Institutional drivers and performance impacts of BIM implementation in construction projects : an empirical study in China

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Institutional drivers and performance impacts of BIM implementation in construction projects : an empirical study in China


Author: Cao, Dongping
Title: Institutional drivers and performance impacts of BIM implementation in construction projects : an empirical study in China
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2016
Subject: Building information modeling.
Building -- Data processing.
Construction industry -- Information resources management -- China.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xv, 243 pages
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: As a fundamentally new way of creating, sharing and utilising project lifecycle information, building information modelling (BIM) has been increasingly regarded as one of the most promising technologies to address the performance problems in traditional design and construction processes. Despite its great potential, the advancement of BIM worldwide is still in a relatively infant stage, with a relatively high percentage of construction projects still sitting on the sidelines of BIM implementation, and many others which have already been involved in BIM use having not yet gained the expected benefits from BIM implementation. Drawing on institutional theory and resource dependence theory, this study aims to identify how institutional isomorphic pressures drive the implementation of BIM in construction projects, and how BIM implementation activities in turn impact the performances of involved project participants. To achieve these aims, project-based data from the Chinese mainland were collected and analysed to sequentially investigate: (1) the characteristics of BIM implementation; (2) the impacts of institutional isomorphic pressures on BIM implementation; (3) the motivations of project participants to implement BIM under the impacts of isomorphic pressures; and (4) the impacts of BIM implementation on the performances of involved project participants.
Using a set of quantitative data analysis methods including partial least squares modelling, bootstrapping mediation test and ordinary least squares regression, the empirical analysis led to several key findings: (1) Project BIM implementation practices, in terms of both the extent of BIM implementation across different application areas and client/owner support for BIM implementation, are associated with project characteristic factors including project type and project size. (2) With regard to the impacts of the three types of institutional isomorphic pressures, coercive and mimetic pressures both significantly influence the extent of project-level BIM implementation, and client/owner support plays a crucial but varied mediating role in the influences of different isomorphic pressures. (3) Considering the impacts of institutional isomorphic pressures, the motivations of project participants to implement BIM in construction projects could be classified into four broad categories: image motives, reactive motives, project-based economic motives, and cross-project economic motives; while image motives and cross-project economic motives are currently the strongest reasons for designers and general contractors to implement BIM in construction projects, different motivations do not necessarily preclude each other and could be differently impacted by organisational BIM capability as well as other contextual factors. (4) BIM-enabled interorganisational collaboration capabilities as a whole significantly mediate the relationships between the extent of project BIM implementation and BIM-enabled performance gains for both designers and general contractors; however, designers and general contractors do not benefit equivalently from project BIM implementation, with BIM-enabled task efficiency improvement for designers being much less substantial than that for general contractors, and the benefits for designers being primarily limited to the enhancement of task effectiveness. Through illustrating the associations between institutional isomorphic pressures and BIM implementation activities in construction projects, the findings not only validate the applicability of the institutional theory perspective in a new context, but also provide insights into how different types of institutional forces can be better manipulated to facilitate the diffusion of BIM in the construction industry. Through providing evidence that the motivations of project participants to implement BIM under the impacts of institutional environments are distinctly multi-dimensional and dynamic, the findings could also help to partly reconcile the discordant findings on innovation implementation reasons in extant construction innovation literature. The findings also contribute to a deepened understanding of the performance impacts of project BIM implementation activities through using a resource dependence theory perspective to articulate the important roles of BIM-enabled interorganisational collaboration capabilities in determining the performance gains from BIM implementation, and through characterising the non-equivalence between the BIM-enabled performance gains for designers and general contractors.

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