Investigating the future of model-based construction in the UK

Tara Brooks, Ryan Zantinge, Faris Elghaish

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Although data rich building information models have been widely adopted in the Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry in the United Kingdom (UK), use of 2D drawings on site for construction is still the norm. The ability of 2-dimensional (2D) drawings to convey complex 3-dimensional information is limited and requires interpretation from operatives, and 2D drawings can be quickly superseded by model updates. Although constructing directly from a model has been adopted in the aerospace and automotive industries, its use in construction is in its infancy. This research therefore aims to investigate the potential for, and barriers to, model-based construction in the UK.

This research uses a qualitative approach, thematically analysing 13 semi-structured interviews with UK-based construction professionals who have experience of paperless or model-based construction.

Although model -based construction has been implemented to a limited extent on some civil engineering projects; research and investment in software, network capacity, legal and contractual issues, and cultural and human factors will need to be considered before model-based construction can be implemented more widely.

The research contributes to an understudied, emergent area of construction practice and outlines hurdles that need to be understood and overcome before more widespread adoption of model-based construction can take place.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSmart and Sustainable Built Environment
Early online date07 Oct 2022
Publication statusEarly online date - 07 Oct 2022


  • Building information modelling
  • Digital construction


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