International lessons: Increasing BIM use in New Zealand’s Construction Industry

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has become an indispensable tool in modern construction, offering substantial benefits throughout the Project Life Cycle (PLC). This advanced technology, which simulates buildings and resolves issues before construction begins, has seen effective implementation globally. A recently published article in the Journal of Engineering established lessons from Iraq for implementing BIM modelling for the construction industry.

As New Zealand continues to advance its construction methodologies, there are valuable lessons to be learned from successful BIM implementations elsewhere. This article explores how New Zealand’s construction industry can benefit by adopting practices and strategies proven effective in Iraq.

The Relevance of BIM in Construction

BIM enhances construction projects by integrating various phases of design, planning, and execution, offering multiple advantages such as:

Early Problem Detection and Resolution: By simulating every stage of a project’s lifecycle, BIM identifies potential issues before they arise, helping to mitigate risks, reduce costs, and prevent delays.

Enhanced Visualisation: Detailed visual models help all stakeholders understand a project’s complexities, facilitating clearer communication and better decision-making.

Boosted Collaboration: BIM fosters teamwork by ensuring that all project participants can share a common platform, working synergistically towards unified goals.

Iraqi Implementation: Research Methodology

Research conducted by the Department of Civil Engineering at Baghdad University highlights several key factors contributing to BIM’s successful implementation. The study utilised:

Literature Review: Examining existing research to pinpoint crucial success factors for BIM.

Interviews: Collecting insights from the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) building team to understand practical challenges and solutions.

BEP Enhancement: Focused on improving the BIM Execution Plan (BEP) for better outcomes.

Core Findings for New Zealand

The research undertaken by H. S., Mohammed and,M. A., Hilal underscores the importance of collaboration and communication in achieving effective BIM implementation. The adoption of the BIM Execution Planning Guide (BEP Guide) and the AEC (UK) BIM Protocol 2012 V2.0 has shown to improve project management and execution significantly.

Elements of a Robust BIM Execution Plan (BEP)

For successful BIM integration in New Zealand’s construction projects, a well-structured BEP should include:

Process Map: Detailed documentation and mapping of the collaborative process required for the BIM project.

Information Exchange Requirements: Ensuring all team members can access necessary data and updates throughout the project.

BIM Data Management: Implementing standards for efficiently managing and storing BIM data.

BIM Model Management: Establishing clear procedures for creating, handling, and updating BIM models.

Quality Control: Regular quality checks to ensure the project maintains high standards at every stage.

Addressing Implementation Challenges in New Zealand

New Zealand can benefit from strategies used successfully in Iraq to overcome BIM implementation challenges. Key steps include:

Facilitating Collaboration: Improve communication channels and ensure stakeholder collaboration.

Providing Training: Educate project teams on BIM tools and processes to optimise their use and integration.

Adopting Standard Protocols: Implement standardised protocols like the AEC (UK) BIM Protocol to achieve consistency and streamline processes.

A practical implementation of increased BIM use in New Zealand’s construction industry entails a focused effort to enhance collaboration and communication. By adopting a robust BEP and adhering to established processes and standards, New Zealand can leverage the full benefits of BIM, leading to more efficient, cost-effective, and successful construction projects.

Drawing from the experiences of Iraqi construction projects, New Zealand can overcome traditional challenges and drive future growth by fully embracing BIM. This strategic move will not only align New Zealand with global construction standards but also pave the way for a more innovative and efficient construction sector ready to tackle the demands of tomorrow.

BIM modelling | Rommel NZ

Popular BIM Systems in New Zealand

Autodesk Revit

Autodesk Revit is a cornerstone in the BIM software landscape for New Zealand’s architects, engineers, and construction professionals. Known for its multi-discipline design support, Revit offers robust tools for architectural design, MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) engineering, structural engineering, and construction.

Positive Aspects of Autodesk Revit:

  • Comprehensive Toolset: Revit provides all-encompassing tools for every discipline in the AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) industry, making it a versatile solution.
  • Collaborative Design: Features like worksharing and cloud integration via Autodesk’s BIM 360 ensure seamless collaboration and real-time updates.
  • Parametric Modeling: Revit’s parametric capabilities allow changes made to one part of the model to update related components, automatically ensuring design consistency.
  • Detailed Documentation: Automated schedules for materials and components, along with high-quality floor plans, sections, and 3D views, streamline documentation processes.
  • Visualisation: Enhanced 3D modelling and rendering features facilitate realistic visualisations and presentations.
  • Sustainability and Analysis: Tools for energy analysis and performance simulations support sustainable building designs.

Negative Aspects of Autodesk Revit:

  • Steep Learning Curve: Beginners may find Revit complex, necessitating significant time and resources for training.
  • Hardware-Intensive: High system requirements can lead to additional costs for hardware upgrades.
  • Cost: The software is relatively expensive, with high initial and ongoing subscription fees.
  • Interoperability Concerns: Compatibility issues with non-Autodesk products can disrupt workflows.
  • Customisation Limitations: Customising components requires advanced skills and can be time-consuming.
  • Updates and Bugs: Frequent updates might introduce new bugs and require adjustments to workflows.


ArchiCAD, developed by Graphisoft, is another prominent BIM tool in New Zealand. It is especially favoured by architects and designers for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive feature set.

Positive Aspects of ArchiCAD:

  • User-Friendly Interface: Known for its intuitive interface, ArchiCAD is relatively easy to learn and use.
  • Strong BIM Capabilities: It offers extensive BIM functionalities for detailed 3D modelling and integrated building information.
  • Seamless Collaboration: Teamwork functionality allows multiple users to work on the same project simultaneously.
  • Integrated Design and Documentation: Users can create both detailed models and documentation within the same environment.
  • Parametric Modeling: Changes to one part of the model automatically update related elements.
  • Extensive Library: A robust library of pre-designed objects saves significant time in the design process.
  • Visualisation Capabilities: High-quality rendering tools enhance visualisation and presentations.
  • Compatibility: Broad file format support and compatibility with other BIM software streamline data exchange.
  • EcoDesigner and Energy Modeling: Tools for energy performance evaluation support sustainable design.

Negative Aspects of ArchiCAD:

  • Steep Learning Curve for Advanced Features: Advanced functionalities can be challenging to master.
  • Cost: The software is relatively expensive.
  • Hardware Intensive: Significant computer resources are required for smooth operation.
  • Complexity in Customization: Customizing objects can be complex and require advanced skills.
  • Limited Structural and MEP Tools: ArchiCAD’s structural and MEP design tools are less advanced than those of specialised engineering software.
  • Library Management: Managing extensive libraries can be cumbersome.
  • Update and Compatibility Issues: New updates may cause compatibility issues with ongoing projects.
  • Localised Standards: Additional customisation may be required to support regional building standards.
  • Rendering Speed: Rendering large models can be slow, impacting productivity.

Bentley Systems

Bentley offers a suite of BIM applications, such as OpenBuildings Designer (formerly AECOsim Building Designer), supporting planning, design, and operational workflows for buildings and infrastructure. These tools facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration.

As with the Revit and ArchiCAD positive and negative list above, Bentley Systems has similar positive aspects of:

Positive Aspects of Bentley BIM Systems

  • Comprehensive Toolset
  • Interoperability
  • Advanced Modeling and Analysis Tools
  • Collaboration and Data Management
  • Scalability and Flexibility

Negative Aspects of Bentley BIM Systems

  • Cost
  • Learning Curve
  • Hardware Requirements
  • Interoperability Issues
  • Software Updates and Bugs
  • Customization and Flexibility

Tekla Structures

Tekla Structures, from Trimble, excels in structural engineering and fabrication. It supports full workflows from conceptual planning to fabrication, offering a high level of detail in BIM models.

Positive Aspects of Tekla Structures

  • Robust Structural Modeling
  • High Level of Detail (LOD)
  • Interoperability
  • Constructability
  • Accurate Quantity Takeoffs
  • Collaboration and Coordination
  • Customizable Components
  • Integration with Fabrication
  • Advanced Analysis and Design Capabilities
  • Automation and Efficiency

Negative Aspects of Tekla Structures

  • High Initial Cost
  • Steep Learning Curve
  • Hardware Requirements
  • Complex Interface
  • Limited Architectural and MEP Tools
  • Software Updates and Potential Bugs
  • Customization Complexity
  • Dependency on Trimble’s Ecosystem
  • Support and Training Costs
  • File Size and Performance Issues on Large Projects

Vectorworks Architect

Vectorworks Architect is valued in New Zealand for its versatility, robust 2D and 3D capabilities, ease of use, and adaptability to various design disciplines.

Positive Aspects of Vectorworks Architect

  • Versatility: Supports both 2D and 3D workflows seamlessly.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Intuitive and accessible for beginners.
  • Integrated Design and Documentation: Combines design and documentation in one platform.
  • Robust Rendering Capabilities: Provides high-quality visualization and presentation tools.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Works on both Mac and Windows systems.
  • Customizability: Highly customizable workspace and workflows.
  • Extensive Library: Rich library of pre-designed objects and components.
  • BIM Capabilities: Strong BIM functionalities for detailed building modeling.
  • Environmental Analysis Tools: Includes tools for site modeling and sustainability analysis.
  • Interoperability: Supports a variety of file formats for easy data exchange.

Negative Aspects of Vectorworks Architect

  • Steep Learning Curve for Advanced Features: Advanced tools can be complex to master.
  • Performance Issues: Can be slow with large, complex models.
  • Cost: Higher licensing and subscription fees, especially for small firms.
  • Limited Support for MEP: Not as robust for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering.
  • Frequent Updates: Regular updates might introduce new issues or require relearning certain features.
  • Custom Component Creation: Developing custom components can be time-consuming and complex.
  • Hardware Demands: Requires powerful hardware for optimal performance.
  • Limited Third-Party Plugins: Fewer third-party integrations compared to other BIM software.
  • Regional Customization: May require additional setup to meet specific local standards and codes.
  • Collaboration Challenges: Team collaboration features not as advanced as some competitors.


Autodesk Navisworks is extensively used for project review and construction simulation. It integrates seamlessly with Revit and other BIM software, aiding in model coordination and clash detection.

Positive Aspects of Autodesk Navisworks

  • Powerful Coordination and Clash Detection: Efficiently detects clashes and coordination issues in 3D models.
  • Integrated Project Review: Allows for comprehensive project review and visualization.
  • Multi-File Support: Can combine models from multiple sources for better collaboration.
  • Quantification Capabilities: Enables accurate quantity takeoffs and cost estimation.
  • Timeliner Feature: Allows for 4D simulation and scheduling integration.
  • Interoperability: Integrates well with other Autodesk software and industry-standard file formats.
  • Cloud Collaboration: Offers cloud-based project collaboration for distributed teams.
  • Facility to Generate Reports: Allows for the creation of reports for project communication.
  • Enhanced Visualization: Provides high-quality visual representations for better understanding.
  • Model Coordination: Supports model coordination for different disciplines on a project.

Negative Aspects of Autodesk Navisworks

  • Complex Interface: The software may have a steep learning curve for new users.
  • Hardware Requirements: Requires powerful hardware for larger and complex models.
  • Cost: Licensing fees can be high, especially for smaller firms or individual users.
  • Updates and Bugs: Periodic updates may bring unforeseen issues or changes in workflow.
  • Limited Design Tools: Lacks detailed design tools compared to dedicated design software.
  • Customization Challenges: Customizing the software for specific needs can be challenging.
  • Training Needs: Advanced features may require thorough training for full utilization.
  • Performance Issues: Large model sizes can lead to slower performance.
  • Clash Detection Limitations: Some complex clashes may be challenging to detect accurately.
  • Collaboration Constraints: Collaboration features could be further improved for seamless teamwork.

Emerging BIM Systems Not Yet Mainstream in New Zealand

BIM 360

Autodesk’s BIM 360 offers comprehensive construction management capabilities, enhancing collaboration and data management across planning, design, construction, and operations, although its full potential might not yet be realised in New Zealand.


BricsCAD BIM, with its unified workflow from 2D drafting to BIM, is gaining global traction and could offer a flexible, cost-effective solution for designers in New Zealand.


Allplan by Nemetschek provides a robust platform for architecture and engineering, with strong features for project delivery and collaboration that could significantly benefit New Zealand’s construction industry.


Acquired by Autodesk, PlanGrid enhances construction productivity with real-time project updates and seamless collaboration, becoming a powerful tool for project management and as-built documentation.

The adoption of BIM systems in New Zealand is continually increasing, driven by the need for improved efficiency, cost reduction, and enhanced collaboration in the construction industry. While established tools like Autodesk Revit and ArchiCAD dominate the market, emerging technologies like BIM 360 and BricsCAD BIM present additional opportunities. Integrating these innovative BIM systems can propel New Zealand’s construction sector toward greater efficiency and excellence.

While the services Rommel provides are not BIM based, they are site based, project quality assurance can be improved if the construction industry in New Zealand stepped more into the BIM modelling world. Regardless of project size, BIM modeling plays a pivotal role in revolutionising the construction industry by optimising project workflows, increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing overall project outcomes from inception to operation and maintenance.

Reach out to Rommel today for your quote for onsite quality assurance testing.