Building Information Modelling (BIM) is said to hold potential for increasing efficiency of the design processes in the building industry. However, designers struggle at times to apply the different BIM-tools. In order to understand this disjoint, it is necessary to understand first the existing practices of different specialists in the building design process in order to improve future development and implementation of BIM. The aim of this article is to investigate the consequences of using BIM-tools in a collaborative building design setting consisting of different specialists. A case study was carried out to trace when BIM-tools were used (or not) in an inter-organizational design process of a naval rescue station in Denmark. The design process was holistically examined through the lens of Activity Theory which is an analytical framework. Five key findings were identified: the mediating role of 3D visuals, real-world coupling with point cloud, rule-breaking to ensure design completion, inability to integrate BIM-analysis into the design and the use of heuristics to form and choose among design solutions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)336-350
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019


  • Building Information Modeling
  • Building information modelling
  • activity theory
  • building design
  • case study


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