Global Opportunities

Connecting the dots in construction: Building Information Modeling in the USA

Over the past years, Building Information Modeling (BIM) has become an important tool in US Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. Thanks to increased private funding of construction projects and the US government’s aim to support investments in infrastructure, opportunities are awaiting companies specializing in BIM, an intelligent 3D model-based process.

New York: new buildings under construction
New York: new buildings under construction

The US government has recently released a plan that includes $200 billion in federal money over the next decade to spur an additional $1.3 trillion in spending from cities, states and private companies on major infrastructure projects. With expenditures reaching over 1.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, the United States is one of the largest construction markets worldwide. Key market characteristics such as a growing urban population and increased government spending pose a great opportunity for companies specializing in the latest technological achievements within the industry.

Building Information Modeling in the United States

BIM is a tool used to visualize the design aspects of buildings in 3D. Apart from 3D visualization, BIM also helps attain estimates of cost implementation, time requirement, labor requirement, raw material provision, and other key prerequisites in the construction industry. More
Management of the entire construction lifecycle can be simulated by BIM efficiently. The rapid adoption of BIM services and products in the US is attributed to the benefits it offers to the adopting companies. Key advantages:

  • Enhanced efficiency
  • Collaboration between project stakeholders
  • Improved visualization and data quality
  • Improved project sustainability
  • Integration of building systems
  • Conflict resolution

BIM adoption can also result in a positive return on the BIM investment for project stakeholders through savings from reduced project costs.

The United States is the largest market for BIM and its services and products. In 2014, North America accounted for around 33% of the overall BIM market. The BIM market is segmented into the following end-user categories:

  • Architects
  • Contractors
  • Engineers
  • Developers

Among these, architects constitute the major end user segment and are projected to dominate throughout the next 3-5 years. The substantial demand for BIM solutions among architects is driven by rapidly burgeoning engineering and construction projects in the U.S. Industrial construction, commercial establishments and increased renovation activities are among the main drivers for increased demand of BIM solutions. The industry's contribution to the overall economy, is expected to increase at an annualized rate of 5.0% over 10 years. In May 2018, Smart Cities New York, a leading global conference on the future of city development took place. BIM applications have been one of the key topics with regards to digital infrastructure planning and underlines its potential.

Main US companies specializing in BIM solutions are Autodesk, Trimble and Esri. These companies offer geo information systems, urban planning software and specifically BIM applications and they have offices in Switzerland. California-based Katerra specializes in an integrated technology that connects BIM tools and computational design directly to its ERP global supply chain infrastructure for ease of material ordering, manufacturing, tracking, and delivery. The company raised 2.5 million in funding as of 2018. The US provides great potential for foreign companies entering the market because it is expected to continue its growth path over the next years. Rapid technological innovation supports the industry’s evolution which offers an opportunity for highly specialized, skilled and hence competitive Swiss companies.

Next Steps for Swiss companies

Whether it’s finding potential customers, distribution partners or supporting the opening of a subsidiary in the United States, Annina Bosshard, Consultant USA & Canada at S-GE, and the Swiss Business Hub USA can provide specialized services for Swiss companies that offer 3D modeling software in the construction industry. Contact

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