Has BIM (building information modeling) gone mainstream? The much-discussed process has grabbed the attention of many builders, contractors, and corporate owners for years—and success stories can be found in home construction, specialty projects, heavy/highway, and buildings, among others.

Now, as the industry begins to grapple with BIM on a more regular basis, even the analysts are saying BIM will become a necessity for the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry going forward.

Pike Research, which was recently acquired by Navigant, www.navigant.com, Chicago, Ill., released a new report this week that shows adopters of BIM will gain a significant advantage in the tight economic conditions. Leading regions for BIM adoption include North America and Western Europe, followed by high growth in Asia Pacific.

One of the contributing factors to adoption in North America and Western Europe includes the fact public organizations such as the GSA (General Service Admin.), www.gsa.gov, Washington, D.C., require the use of BIM on projects.

Eric Bloom, senior research analyst, Pike Research, says, “As BIM tools and processes are adopted by more and more firms in the industry, and the advantages of these tools and processes will begin to be realized through higher quality and more reliable deliverables, BIM adoption will become a necessity for competing effectively in the market.”

The technology to enable the BIM process continues to advance as well. In other recent news, Nemetschek Vectorworks, www.vectorworks.net, Columbia, Md., and IES (Integrated Environmental Solutions), www.iesve.com, Glasgow, U.K., announced a partnership to improve collaboration and energy modeling.

Through the partnership, Nemetschek Vectorworks and IES have created integration between the two systems using the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) file format. In order to maximize the quality of models, the connection implements a geometry transport of “thick-wall” models for energy analysis.

The IFC file format is the standard used by members of the Open BIM program—a campaign initiated by buildingSMART, www.buildingsmart.com, that aims to globally promote the concept of “Open BIM” throughout the entire lifecycle of a project.

The use of BIM has even evolved to the point where many construction professionals are discussing the potential for sharing the BIM data from construction through operations—although the actual common practice of this it not yet mainstream.