Economic and environmental concerns necessitate the preference for retrofits over new construction in manufacturing facilities for incorporating modern technology, expanding production, becoming more energy-efficient and improving operational efficiency. Despite the technical and functional challenges in retrofits, the expectation from the project team is to; reduce costs, ensure the time to market and maintain a high standard for quality and safety. Thus, the construction supply chain faces increasing pressure to improve performance by ensuring better labor productivity, among other factors, for efficiency gain. Building Information Modeling (BIM) & off-site prefabrication are determined as effective management & production methods to meet these goals. However, there are limited studies assessing their impact on labor productivity within the constraints of a retrofit environment. This study fills the gap by exploring the impact of BIM on labor productivity (metric) in retrofits (context).
BIM use for process tool installation at a semiconductor manufacturing facility serves as an ideal environment for practical observations. Direct site observations indicate a positive correlation between disruptions in the workflow attributed to an immature use of BIM, waste due to rework and high non-value added time at the labor work face. Root-cause analysis traces the origins of the said disruptions to decision-factors that are critical for the planning, management and implementation of BIM. Analysis shows that stakeholders involved in decision-making during BIM planning, management and implementation identify BIM-value based on their immediate utility for BIM-use instead of the utility for the customers of the process. This differing value-system manifests in the form of unreliable and inaccurate information at the labor work face.
Grounding the analysis in theory and observations, the author hypothesizes that stakeholders of a construction project value BIM and BIM-aspects (i.e. geometrical information, descriptive information and workflows) differently and the accuracy of geometrical information is critical for improving labor productivity when using prefabrication in retrofit construction. In conclusion, this research presents a BIM-value framework, associating stakeholders with their relative value for BIM, the decision-factors for the planning, management and implementation of BIM and the potential impact of those decisions on labor productivity.