AEC Students’ Perceptions of BIM Practice at Swinburne University of Technology

Patrick X.W. Zou, Xiaoxiao Xu, Ruoyu Jin, Noel Painting, Bo Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growing building information modeling (BIM) application in the construction industry worldwide has driven research in both the technological and managerial aspects. Existing managerial studies have not fully addressed individual perceptions of BIM implementation, especially architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) students' opinions related to BIM implementation or industry practice. As future industry professionals, AEC students' perceptions and expectations have not been compared with those of industry professionals. Adopting the student population from Swinburne University of Technology as the case study, this research initiated a questionnaire-based approach followed by statistical analysis. In all, responses of 257 AEC students to three major perception-based categories, namely BIM's usefulness, students' desired BIM-related jobs, and challenges during BIM implementation, were collected. The overall sample analysis revealed that students favored BIM-based jobs related to engineering design and project management, and they perceived less usefulness of BIM in assisting facility management and quantity surveying. Subgroup analysis showed that certain perceptions in BIM practice would be affected by students' field of study, prior industry experience, and gender. For example, male students generally held more positive views on BIM's applicability and usefulness. AEC students in this study showed certain discernment in identifying certain contemporary BIM-related practices. However, they also had different views on challenges compared to industry professionals due to AEC students having less industry experience. In-depth discussions were provided on how these subgroup factors affected students' perceptions. This empirical study of student perceptions in BIM practice provides insights to both BIM educators and AEC employers in terms of optimizing BIM education resources between industry practice and academic research, awareness of subgroup differences in their perceptions and motivations, and similarities and differences between AEC students and industry practitioners. Based on the current findings, future research could focus on cross-institutional comparison of students' BIM-based perceptions by considering more subgroup factors. This study could also lead to future pedagogical research in adopting BIM in different project sectors (e.g., building and infrastructure).

Original languageEnglish
Article number05019002
JournalJournal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

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  • Architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC)
  • BIM education
  • Building information modeling (BIM)
  • Individual perceptions
  • Subgroup analysis


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