• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 12, No 7 (2021)

Cost Efficiency of Building Information Modeling use at the Stage of Real Estate Object Maintenance

Cost Efficiency of Building Information Modeling use at the Stage of Real Estate Object Maintenance

Title: Cost Efficiency of Building Information Modeling use at the Stage of Real Estate Object Maintenance
Tatyana Kisel

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Cite this article as:
Kisel, T. 2021. Cost Efficiency of Building Information Modeling use at the Stage of Real Estate Object Maintenance. International Journal of Technology. Volume 12(7), pp. 1468-1478

Tatyana Kisel Moscow State University of Civil Engineering, 129337, 26, Yaroslavskoye Shosse, Moscow, Russia
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Cost Efficiency of Building Information Modeling use at the Stage of Real Estate Object Maintenance

Formation of the digital economy is the main direction of many countries’ development and the trend of the whole world’s economic development. According to research results, a low level of digitalization in the construction industry is noted. The construction industry is a significant part of the world economy. Construction makes up 13% of the world’s GDP. Such scales of the industry allow us to conclude that its digitalization can bring considerable results. The basis of digitalization in construction is the application of building information modeling (BIM) at all stages of a real estate object life cycle. This research is devoted to studying the conditions and methods of the assessment of cost efficiency of BIM application at the real estate object maintenance stage. The method of calculation of the managing company savings from the application of an information model during real estate object maintenance is offered as the result of the research. The author analyzed various models of maintenance performance for the specification of the offered calculation procedure. The main direction of receiving the budget funds economy in a managing company is the reduction of time spent on the corresponding works and, respectively, the reduction of financial expenses connected with the compensation. Also, BIM application during construction leads to a decrease in the number of breakages of the engineering equipment at the maintenance stage. This means that the economy of material inputs will take place.

Building information modeling; Construction; Cost reduction; Maintenance; Managing company


Digital technologies have strongly entered all spheres of human activity. They have a considerable impact on economic processes and transform the world economy. The so-called digital economy is formed as a result. Despite the novelty of the term and the availability of various approaches to the determination of the concept of the digital economy (their brief characteristics are presented in Table 1), it can be defined in the most generalized way as the economy based on digital technologies with the prevalence of use of information in its electronic form at all stages (creation, transfer, processing, application, and storage). This transformation of the economy is promoted by several factors:

1)  Growth of competences of the population in the use of digital technologies. For example, about 50% of households worldwide have a personal computer (Alsop, 2021), and 62% of the world population are Internet users (Meister et al., 2020).

1)    Production digitalization. Digitalization allows production companies to manage

Table 1 Some approaches to the determination of the concept of the digital economy


Definition of “Digital Economy”

Feature of the Approach


The digital economy is the economic activity that results from billions of everyday online connections among people, businesses, devices, data, and processes. The backbone of the digital economy is hyperconnectivity, which means the growing interconnectedness of people, organizations, and machines that results from the Internet, mobile technology, and the Internet of things (IoT) (Cassar et al., 2010).

Emphasis on the growing interrelation among people, organizations, and machines due to connections by means of the Internet


The digital economy incorporates all economic activity reliant on or significantly enhanced by the use of digital inputs, including digital technologies, digital infrastructure, digital services, and data. It refers to all producers and consumers, including the government, that are utilizing these digital inputs in their economic activities (OECD, 2020).

Any economic activity using the digital infrastructure, technologies, services, and data in the digital form as a significant factor


At the broadest, overall definitions of the digital economy cover all digitally enabled economic activity, including goods, software, infrastructure, services, retail, and content (Bukht and Heeks, 2017).

Inclusion of a manufacturing sector (production of goods of information and communication technology) in the structure of digital economy


A digital economy is an economy that is based on electronic goods and services produced by an electronic business and traded through electronic commerce (Hojeghan and Esfangareh, 2011).

Emphasis on electronic goods and services as well as e-commerce


The digital economy is defined as the segment of the economic output derived primarily or solely from digitalized initiatives with organizational models based on digital services or goods (Williams, 2021).

Emphasis on the specific type of economic products


Sharing information on environmental and social phenomena is at the heart of the digital economy. To do so, we need a framework of technologies, standards, organizational arrangements, and policies that makes it possible to find, access, use, share, and publish such information (Prodanova et al., 2020).

Emphasis on the exchange of information as well as on the infrastructure for its effective transfer


difficult production processes (Kagermann et al., 2013) and opens new opportunities concerning efficiency, adaptability, and automation, thereby providing competitiveness and growth (Carolis et al., 2017). According to some estimates, Europe could achieve growth of as much as 1.25 trillion Euros in gross industrial value creation by 2025 (Eitner, 2021).

3) It is also necessary to recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic also became a serious push to the development of digital technologies in most of the industries.

Digitalization imposes some new requirements on the methods of management in organizations, such as the development of employee competences, change of motivation methods, and culture forming (Bencsik, 2020).

According to the research of the digitalization intensity level in various sectors of the economy, the highest level of digitalization is observed in transport equipment, telecommunications, IT and other information services, finance and insurance, legal and accounting activities, scientific research and development, advertising and other business services, and administrative and support services. The lowest level is observed in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, and fishing; mining and quarrying; food products, beverages, and tobacco; electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning; water supply; sewerage, waste; construction; transportation and storage; accommodation and food service activities; and real estate (Calvino et al., 2018). In sectors such as agriculture, forestry, and fishing, the low level of digitalization seems to be natural, but in construction and real estate administration, such provision proves the need of the direction of investments and carrying out the research directed to the intensive implementation of digital technologies. There are two arguments to justify this position. First, construction is a significant part of the world economy, and 13% of the world’s GDP are the share of the construction industry. The sector employs 7% of the world’s working population (McKinsey, 2017). This means that the increase in efficiency that can be reached due to the digitalization of construction will have a global character. Second, modern construction is a difficult technology, and construction projects are information saturated. Work with such volumes of information with the traditional methods, without the greatest possible digitalization of processes, becomes less effective.

Building information modeling (BIM) is the basis of digitalization in construction (Wyman, 2018). The digital information model of a construction object results from the use of BIM technologies. The volume and quality of information, which is put in this model, allows the reduction of construction terms, the reduction of costs of materials, the avoidance of collisions, and, finally, the reduction of construction costs. The advantages of BIM application and the extent of the effect gained in practice are considered in the works of many scientists. Some of them studied the efficiency of BIM on the example of several large projects (Li et al., 2014; Olawumi and Chan, 2019), noting the change of indicators of work performance and cost. The results of the research that was devoted to the identification of the benefits of BIM to various stakeholders, which were obtained using sociological polls (Diaz, 2016; Al-Ashmori et al., 2020), were also provided. Studying the benefits of BIM, researchers place emphasis on various aspects. For example, they point out the substantial increase in the quality of information put into the project (Liu and Cao, 2021) and the decrease in the quantity of mistakes (that is the consequence of the high-quality project documentation) (Okakpu et al., 2019), which provides the common understanding of various project participants and increases the efficiency of their interaction, improvement of the project planning quality (Chen et al., 2011), and possibilities of the combined application of virtual and augmented reality technologies (Chai et al., 2019). Some researchers note that the use of BIM promotes a decrease in waste volume and provides effective use (Ganiyu et al., 2020). There are also studies that reveal the risks and obstacles of introducing BIM, in addition to the BIM benefits (Abiodun et al., 2020). However, they are usually focused on studying the design and construction stages. The research devoted to studying the advantages of BIM application during the maintenance stage is not enough (Heaton et al., 2019; Hu et al., 2018), and the research is mainly devoted to the engineering solutions, allowing one to use effectively information put into the information model of the building maintenance stage. The questions connected with the economic assessment of the advantages of BIM during the maintenance stage are still unsolved. It is possible to allocate several obstacles to BIM introduction: high implementation cost, considerable organizational and personnel transformations, and the lack of requirements from investors and customers.

A significant number of subjects participate in the implementation of construction projects. They are developers, contractors, managing companies, etc., in addition to the investor, the customer, and the designer. The maximum effect of BIM use can be gained when it is used during the whole life cycle of a construction project by all the involved participants. Concerning BIM-demanding investments, the question of assessing the cost efficiency of its introduction and use is relevant. At the moment, there is serious research devoted to assessing the cost efficiency of BIM during construction. However, as a rule, the maintenance stage is ignored, and that is done despite the fact that the maintenance stage is long and exceeds the construction term considerably. It makes, as a rule, 50 and more years. Also, the share of maintenance makes up 60–80% of the total cost of a real estate object. The use of BIM during the maintenance stage is capable of reducing the operating costs. This research is devoted to studying the conditions and valuation methods of the cost efficiency of the BIM application during the real estate object maintenance stage.


Proceeding from the regulations that BIM can be used at all stages of the real estate object life cycle, the author tried to concretize the direction of obtaining benefits for different project participants during different stages. The author paid special attention to the stage of real estate object maintenance. The method of calculating the savings of a managing company from the application of the information model during real estate object maintenance is offered within the research. The author analyzed various models of maintenance work performance for refining the offered calculation procedure and considering its use in practice. The real economy of budget funds can arise or cannot arise depending on the used model of the maintenance work performance. Both a managing company and its contractors can also be the recipients of the economy depending on the model of the performance of work on maintenance.

The main direction of gaining the economy is the decrease in labor input of operations on maintenance and rescue-and-recovery operations. This leads to the cost reduction of time for the corresponding work and, respectively, to the reduction of costs connected with compensation. Also, the economy of material costs will take place. It is also necessary to consider the increase in the security and improvement of working conditions and risk reduction to calculate the cost efficiency of the application of BIM during the maintenance stage. The managing company also receives the improvement of reputation as a result of the application of BIM. However, it is difficult to estimate this benefit quantitatively.


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