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BIM awareness booming among electrical installers

In the trend of digitalisation in the construction sector to make construction processes more efficient, Building Information Modelling (BIM) takes an important role. We have seen the rise in BIM awareness and usage among architects and general contractors, parties that are involved at early stages or throughout the construction process, in the results of our monitor researches over the last years. But how is this rise of BIM reflected by target groups that come in at later stages of the construction value chain, like electrical installers? To what extent are they familiar with and make use of BIM in their projects? To answer these questions we added a section about BIM to the Q3 2020 Electrical Installation Monitor, of which the main theme was Services in the Installation Sector. Aside from services offered by installers, we focussed on services installers expect from manufacturers, including BIM support. To put results in perspective, it was necessary to provide a BIM update among this target group. The results show a major rise in installers’ awareness of BIM over the last two years.

Major increase in BIM awareness among electrical installers

BIM awareness is booming among electrical installers
European Electrical Installation Monitor Q3 2020 - USP Marketing Consultancy

Across Europe, the percentage of electrical installers that are familiar with BIM has leapt from 26% in 2018 to 45% in 2020. In fact, the above shows that BIM awareness among installers has grown significantly in all eight European markets measured. Installers in the Netherlands and the UK are most aware of BIM, 75% and 52% respectively, which is not surprising since all our monitors show that those countries are the European frontrunners in BIM awareness and usage in the overall construction sector. What stands out here is the number 3, Poland, in which familiarity with BIM among electrical installers has grown strongest, from merely 17% in 2018 to a whopping 45% in 2020.

BIM usage among electrical installers is lagging behind

BIM awareness is booming among electrical installers
European Electrical Installation Monitor Q3 2020 - USP Marketing Consultancy

Being aware of or familiar with BIM does not mean installers actually use it in their projects though. The above image shows that despite the booming awareness, European electrical installers’ usage of BIM has not grown much over the past two years.

Be that as it may, BIM awareness is the first step towards BIM usage, and the rise of BIM awareness indicates that installers encounter it in their projects more and more often. Based on their plans to start working with BIM in the next two years, we can forecast BIM usage among electrical installers to grow to 13% in 2022. 

Keep an eye on larger installation companies

Granted, an estimated 13% BIM usage among European electrical installers in 2022 may not seem much of an incentive for manufacturers of electrical installation products to focus on providing BIM-related services. The services-themed section of our Q3 2020 Electrical Installation Monitor indeed shows that demand for such services is low on average.

However, BIM is more often used in larger projects, which are in turn more often projects in which larger installation companies are involved. When looking at BIM usage per company size, 13% of the larger installation companies (15+ FTE) were already using BIM in 2020. Consequently, the demand for BIM-related services from manufacturers is much higher among larger installers than among smaller installers in most of the eight researched markets. So in the short term, it will pay off to keep an eye on the larger installation companies regarding the development of BIM usage and the demand for BIM-related services.

To assist you with this we will dedicate the theme of our Q3 2021 European Electrical Installation Monitor to BIM. For further information on BIM in the electrical installation sector, on services expected by electrical installers from manufacturers, and on services offered by electrical installers to their clients, we refer you to the Q3 2020 European Electrical Installation Monitor