Research Portal

November 13, 2023

Decoding the dynamics of BIM use practice in construction projects

Hu, Y., & Dossick, C. S. (2023). Decoding the dynamics of BIM use practice in construction projects. Construction Management and Economics, 1–25.

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Over the past two decades, thought leaders positioned Building Information Modeling (BIM) as a driver to change the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. However, instances of unexpected BIM use have surfaced, with projects often shifting from BIM to hybrid or even solely 2D practices midway. What technology use conditions cause these practice-based rejections of BIM use and how these happen have not been fully explored and make BIM cannot fully play its role in a project. To fill this gap, we use structuration theory as a theoretical lens to analyze the interactions between BIM and project teams and explore how three technology use conditions, (interpretive, technological, and institutional), impact the interactions, which finally shape technology use practices. Specifically, a case study method has been selected. The research team attended a project for two years, collected meeting observations, and conducted surveys and interviews to track the emergent and situated BIM use practice in an integrated project setting with technology use conditions that changed over the course of the project. We analyzed how the three technology use conditions impacted the interactions between BIM and project teams in different ways and how these impacted change in different project phases. We conclude that the sustained use of BIM requires the alignment of project organizations with BIM features and alignment with both top-down and bottom-up investment in practice change, which includes motivation for senior management investment in a sustained project team, in individual capability training, and in early planning.


Building information modeling; structuration theory; technology-in-practice; practice lens