Triple Bottom Line Business Case Analysis for Infrastructure Planning and Design

by | Mar 26, 2014 | Economics


Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a 3D model-centric process that increases the transparency and consistency of data in the planning, design, and operations phases of infrastructure projects. Economic cost benefit analysis (CBA) is currently used in the early planning stages of infrastructure projects to decide whether to proceed and, occasionally, which alternatives to design. BIM is used extensively in the design phase of infrastructure projects. CBA, if supercharged with risk analysis and multiple account and stakeholder views, can be dropped into a BIM chassis with exciting possibilities.

Automating CBA reduces cost, and bolting CBA into a BIM model enables important decisions made by the engineers and architects to be guided by rigorous economic analysis

CBA is becoming standard and cheap. At the same time, open data initiatives have allowed powerful BIM models to be populated easily and cheaply. Put simply, CBA in BIM gives architects, engineers, designers, and planners access to decision-making tools that help them decide what to build, how to build it, what the risks are, and who benefits.

CBA-BIM /si-bä-bim/ noun

  1. The concatenation of Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) with Building Information Modeling (BIM). Or, the addition of traditionally planning-based cost benefit decision making tools to the design process.
  2. The process of evaluating the costs, benefits and risks of proposed infrastructure systems at the speed of design using 3D digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of projects to answer the question “what is in it for me”.
  3. A set of decision-making tools that help engineers, project sponsors, infrastructure financiers decide what to build, how to build it, what the risks are, and who benefits.

CBA-BIM is a proposed framework for evaluating the Sustainability Impact Value (SIV) of infrastructure projects. The power of geographical information systems and economic SROI process means that climate risk analysis can be done early in the planning stages and often during the design stage.

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