Is There an East/West BIM Divide?


From where I sit in Vico’s Miami, Florida office, I see what I will dare to call an East/West divide on BIM adoption across the United States.


From my vantage point, I see the West Coast thriving with new projects - from complex hospitals to new high tech company campuses to transportation hubs to public works projects – and they are all using 5D BIM.  Not only were the projects won by GCs who are highly proficient in Virtual Construction, but they are being planned, executed, and tracked with Vico Office.


However, on the East Coast, I hear a lot of crickets.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some incredible examples of 5D BIM coming through loud and clear at Cranshaw in Massachusetts, at Turner in NYC, and Hoar Construction in Alabama.  But for the most part, the East Coast is woefully lagging the West.


2D 3D 4D 5D 6D BIM at MathWorks

Caption: One particularly compelling project on the East Coast is the new MathWorks campus expansion in Boston being led by Cranshaw Construction.  With Vico's Coordination Resolution service, additional deliverables include 2D installation drawings and a 6D BIM model for facilities management


I’ve been trying to divine some possible reasons, but why do you think there is an East/West divide?


  1. The tightening of seismic requirements in the West created a need for a lot of re-construction and leveraging 5D BIM was found to be the most cost effective way to do it?
  2. California was the first state to realize that gluing together point solutions didn't make much sense; but integrated coordination, scheduling, and estimating with Vico did?
  3. Universities from the western states have won the annual Associated Schools of Construction Management BIM competition for four years in a row using Vico products.  Are there are fewer schools in the East providing construction management programs?
  4. Fewer labor unions to contend with out West versus East?
  5. Because of Silicon Valley’s influence, the West is just more tech savvy than the East?
  6. Contract types are pre-dominantly different in the East with more hard bids and it’s perceived (albeit incorrectly) that BIM cannot be used in a hard bid scenario?
  7. Lots of Design Assist projects in the West with BIM requirements that are not common in the East.
  8. This was a quote written about Steve Jobs “The people who invented the twenty-first century were pot-smoking, sandal-wearing hippies from the West Coast like Steve, because they saw differently...The hierarchical systems of the East Coast, England, Germany, and Japan do not encourage this different thinking.”
  9. The West just likes saving time and money and the Easterners don’t?


I really can’t believe the last one is true, but would really like to understand the reasons why there is a significant delta.  If you have an insight you’d like to share, please comment at the bottom of this blog.


There is change on the horizon, though.  Owners are requesting the use of 5D BIM more and more. This is part of an RFP for a recent huge project in Broward County, Florida.  Just take a moment to read through it and see if your firm can deliver on the all the points…


BIM contract requirements language


It sounds to me like this Owner wants a whole lot of Vico Office!  First, Vico Office allows you to work with all the popular BIM-authoring platforms like Revit, ArchiCAD, Tekla, even SketchUp, CAD-Duct, IFC files, and 3D DWGs.  Next, Vico Office serves up clash detection and coordination.  With the coordinated models, we can establish the location breakdown structures and location systems for individual trades.  This means we can process the quantities by location.  With these quantities by location and productivity rates from our subs (garnered from pull scheduling sessions or their bid packages), we can calculate task durations.  And by simply associating schedule tasks with their line items in the cost plan, we have a fully resource- and cost-loaded schedule even at a very early stage.  Brilliant, huh?


If you want to be poised to satisfy Owner’s conditions like this, please give me a call.  I’ve seen first-hand how companies are winning new business and successfully delivering it.  The early adopters in the West have been reaping the rewards for a long time.


It’s the future, like it or not, and it’s never too late to get involved.  Luckily for GCs and CMs on the East Coast, there are huge benefits to starting BIM for Construction now as adoption is still slow and the early bird catches the worm!


My colleagues have penned some articles on what it takes to get started with BIM. 

Blog: 5 Pieces of Advice for GCs Considering BIM

Blog: Walk the Walk, Don't Talk the Talk

Blog: 5D BIM Versus 50-Yard Line Tickets

Blog: Can You Say Change 24 Times?

Blog: Who Is the International Leader in Virtual Construction?

Tags: owner requirement for bim, east west divide, bim adoption rates, 5D BIM, BIM for Construction