Informetric analysis and review of literature on the role of BIM in sustainable construction

RúbenSantosaAntónio AguiarCostabJosé D.SilvestrebLincyPyla

The construction industry and researchers have been exploring new techniques to improve the sustainability of buildings. One such solution is the use of a recent technology such as building information modelling (BIM). Accordingly, the present article reviews the current state of literature on sustainable construction and BIM, including the latter’s evolution. In contrast to previous reviews on this subject, the present work has a broader scope that covers the environmental, economic, and social dimensions and their combinations. To obtain a comprehensive review, the authors conducted an informetric analysis of the literature and categorised it based on a content analysis. A total of 11 different terms and 28 combinations were used to collect relevant literature on this subject, resulting in a total of 317 journal articles for the period between 2008 and 2017. The information obtained from informetric analysis was later validated by a content analysis, in which gaps and trends were identified. It was observed that publications on this subject registered an exponential growth, with 90% of the articles being published in the last five years. The authors identified a gap in literature pertaining to the integration of the three dimensions of sustainability; however, literature on the integration of sustainable performance and BIM has grown considerably in recent years, which indicates that BIM is increasingly being used as a reliable method for sustainable construction practices.

Integration of LCA and LCC analysis within a BIM-based environment

RúbenSantosa António AguiarCostab José D.Silvestreb LincyPyla


There is a growing concern in society for the environmental impacts of a built environment. In this regard, the use of building information modelling (BIM) tools has arisen as a new trend in the construction industry to improve the sustainable assessments of buildings in the design phase. For that purpose, current approaches either focus on the use of BIM together with several programs, or solely use it for an automatic quantity take-off. However, as noted in the literature, the lack of semantic information within BIM models can lead to ineffective decision-making processes and models that are unsuitable for the operation and maintenance stages. Therefore, the present study explores the potential of BIM as a repository for the life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) information, and how that information should be used for an environmental and economic analysis. By doing so, the authors intend to discuss the potential of BIM as a data repository and its capacity for supporting an automatic/semi-automatic environmental and economic assessment.

A BIM-LCA/LCC framework was proposed, which led to the development of an information delivery manual and a model view definition (IDM/MVD), using the industry foundation classes (IFC) schema, for the integration and exchange of information within a BIM-based environment. Finally, the authors implemented the proposed framework with a case study. It is observed that, although most recent IFC schemes already consider some of the required information, a considerable number of properties are still required to conduct a comprehensive LCA and LCC analysis. Thus, the work presented here contributes to the existing background knowledge necessary for future implementations of BIM-based LCA/LCC and for software developers to develop a suitable BIM-LCA/LCC tool.