Haliburton, James Thomas (2016-12). Building Information Modeling and Small Architectural Practice: An Analysis of Factors Affecting BIM Adoption. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This research study posits that there are key factors related to architectural firm culture that affect the successful adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) at the small architectural firm level. It also posits that in order for small firms to adopt BIM they will be required to shift their firm culture, which is comprised of existing modes of practice as they relate to the people, processes, and technology. BIM represents a large innovation in the AEC industry with many beneficial potentials, but it also represents, as most innovations do, a disruption to an entrenched culture and associated modes of practice. This study accomplished three goals; it created a data gathering instrument, measured factors affecting BIM adoption at the small firm level in the State of Texas, and by using the instrument analyzed the results and produced recommendations for small firm BIM adoption by employing a mixed methods approach. Treating BIM as an innovation and following an example method from the literature review, the study used three abstracted variables related to knowledge based practices to quantify perceptions of firm culture in the areas of Human Capital, Relationship Capital, and Structure Capital. A survey instrument was created with fifteen independent variables, five within each abstracted measure, or category, to quantify perceptions of firm culture along with two dependent variables measuring perceptions of successful adoption and difficulty in adoption. Results indicated strong correlations between specific dimensions of each variable suggesting there are elements of a firm culture that could be reinforced to better position a firm for successful BIM adoption. Results were consistent with the literature with regard to Structure Capital and indicate that firms reporting higher value placed on technology (hardware and software), processes, and training showed the highest level of correlation with successful BIM adoption. The results indicated correlations within dimensions of Human Capital related to complex problem solving and universal buy-in during change initiation. The results also indicated strong correlations within dimensions of Relationship Capital concerning roles of technology in design review processes and active searching for improved process of idea exchange among team members both internal and external.

publication date

  • December 2016