Sustainability and interoperability: an economic study on BIM implementation by a small civil engineering firm
Sustainability and interoperability are two closely related concepts. By analyzing the three fundamental facets of sustainability—economic, ecological and ethical/social—it is easier to address their connection with the concept of interoperability. This paper focuses on the economic aspect, in the field of civil engineering. In this area, due to the local nature of many of the software tools used, interoperability problems are frequent, with few studies addressing the economic impact of this, especially in small engineering firms. The main contribution of this paper is a design methodology for linear works based on the federation of building information modelling (BIM) models created with different software tools, conceived to break the interoperability issues between these applications. As an example, this methodology is applied to a mountain road widening project. A detailed economic analysis of the application of this methodology by an engineering Spanish firm reveals the important cost reductions that the integration of the software tools provides versus the prior practices.