BIM & the Gartner hype cycle

The Gartner Hype Cycle

The Gartner Hype Cycle describes a technology maturity pattern, where high initial expectations are followed by a trough of disappointment, before recovering to a level somewhere below the initial expectation.


Regardless of familiarity with this chart, you probably don’t need a research & advisory firm to explain it- the same phenomenon applies to many things in life.

BIM publications

There are various publications containing surveys that measure rates and degrees of BIM adoption, but don’t explain where the respondents lie on this graph.
These quasi-research papers are often more like ‘infomercials’ and are about messaging “your competitors are ahead of you & you need to catch up (by buying our sponsor’s software)”

Current status

For individuals and organisations, there seems to be a wide variation in position on this graph, depending on industry, discipline & location. My assessment is:

  • The ‘Technology Trigger’ was around 5-10 years ago for many in the general construction industry, although model-based design was around well before that in other sectors such as aeronautical & plant design.
  • Software vendors like to keep their customers on the top of the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ for as long as possible, if not constantly surfing the wave….
  • Most construction companies seem to be somewhere between ‘Technology Trigger’ and ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’.
    In other words, the penny has dropped that there might be something in it for construction, even if not quite sure what it is.
    The same possibly applies to non-building sectors (such as civil, transport, energy etc)
  • In the buildings sector, most architects, structural engineers and services design consultants seem to be somewhere around the ‘Slope of Enlightenment’ or ‘Plateau of Productivity’
  • Building owners and clients generally seem to be near the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ and are asking for BIM, even if they are not quite sure how they will use it.
  • At a distance (in fact the other side of the world, so I’m happy to be proven wrong) it seems that the UK industry with their recent government mandate might be in the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’ i.e BIM is not living up to the promise just yet, and a significant proportion of people see it as a waste of time.
  • My version of the graph is below- I’m somewhere around the ‘waiting for the next big thing’ phase…Please take a look at my BIM: Where Next? posts #1 & #2