In 2006, the General Services Administration required all future buildings receiving design funding from the US Government to be delivered with a Building Information Model. Since that time, more private-sector developers have come to expect the time savings and cost benefits that a BIM-delivered project offers.

Wisconsin and Texas became the first states to require the use of BIM on public projects. Ohio was next, and it is widely expected most other states will follow the federal government's lead. Then the Army Corps of Engineers required BIM, as did a host of universities across the country. All the while, large corporations were adopting BIM-only contracts -- companies like Target, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, and Crate & Barrel.

The result is a clear division between firms. Those that were early adopters to BIM were able to continue competing for government work of all sizes -- courthouses, boarder-crossing stations, etc. -- during these last few lean years. The federal stimulus projects helped. These same firms also retained a competitive advantage when competing for the few corporate commissions, and could deliver all this work with less staff. CAD-only firms were not competing.

But the long-term results will be far more widespread. BIM databases give designers a wealth of quantifiable data with just a few clicks. For example, when the USGBC developed the LEED rating system for measuring the sustainability of a building's design and construction, these same BIM-capable architects were leading that charge.

Next, learn how BIM is helping design LEED certified buildings in every marketplace →