Client’s role in promoting BIM implementation and innovation in construction

Document identifier:
Access full text here:10.1080/01446193.2020.1716989
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Teknik och teknologier, Samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Byggproduktion, Client, Innovation, Building information modelling, BIM, Policy, Implementation, Procurement, Byggproduktion och teknik, Construction Management and Building Technology
Publication year: 2020
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructureSDG 16 Peace, justice and strong institutions
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by


Innovation is often viewed as vital in addressing future demands on the construction industry, but innovation implementation is also considered challenging in this fragmented, project-based industry. In order to address the challenges, client organisations are commonly acknowledged as key actors in driving construction innovation. However, the details of what the client role constitutes is less clear, and the question of whether innovation should be mainly client-led or supplier-led is debated. The purpose in this paper is to explore different roles public client organisations can enact to promote innovation. To fulfil this purpose, an explorative case study has been conducted at the largest transport infrastructure client in Sweden; exploring two initiatives which have simultaneously been deployed to promote innovation. The studied organisation is on the one hand trying to influence the industry to implement Building Information Modelling (BIM), adopting a BIM policy and actively influencing the supply chain, while on the other hand promoting innovation through policies aimed at providing more flexibility in projects, enabling suppliers to propose new solutions and emphasising market competition. Even though the overarching goals are similar, promote innovation, the research finds that the simultaneous use of the policies create intra-organisational tension within the client organisation. The findings provide insights into the different roles clients can enact in promoting innovation, and contribute to the understanding of clients as a key actor for promoting innovation in the construction industry.


Hannes Lindblad

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)
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Jacob Rudolphsson Guerrero

Luleå tekniska universitet; Industriellt och hållbart byggande
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