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Integrating 5D BIM in Norwegian Construction

A study recently published in the journal Infrastructures explored the integration of five-dimensional (5D) building information modeling (BIM) within the Norwegian construction sector. It includes a detailed examination of the impact of this integration on project costs and management, highlighting technological and skill-based adoption challenges.

Integrating 5D BIM in Norwegian Construction
Study: Integrating 5D BIM in Norwegian Construction. Image Credit: vectorfusionart/


BIM is an advanced technique that can be used to digitize the physical characteristics of building projects. It provides a multidimensional view of construction projects, including the functional characteristics of a building. Initially covering only 3D geometric aspects, BIM has expanded to include time management (4D), cost estimation (5D), sustainability analysis (6D), and facility management (7D). The addition of various dimensions enhances its utility and complexity.

The adoption of BIM has been significantly accelerated worldwide through the implementation of international open digital data-sharing standards. These standards help to reduce risks, save time, and cut costs. The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) standard, developed by buildingSMART, serves as a comprehensive framework for cross-disciplinary modeling, which supports digital transformation in the construction industry. IFC is widely utilized for exchanging building information, archiving project details, and facilitating software interoperability within the construction sector.

The evolution of BIM is a hot topic in the construction industry, particularly the integration of cost data into traditional 3D models, known as 5D BIM. Despite widespread research and debate, there is a noticeable lack of a neutral, comprehensive framework that helps builders choose the most suitable 5D BIM solution for specific projects. To address this gap, this study aimed to develop a decision-making framework that could facilitate wider adoption of BIM in the construction industry by overcoming existing barriers.


As part of this project, the researchers employed a multifaceted approach involving methodical case studies and interviews with industry experts to understand the challenges and opportunities of integrating 5D BIM in the construction industry. Before the formulation of the approach, a thorough literature survey was conducted to identify the challenges in 5D BIM.

The case study focused on the inherent practical challenges and advantages of importing and utilizing IFC files across various construction software platforms. To this end, a comprehensive Revit 2023 model was designed to test the data transfer process to three distinct software environments: Sparkel v1.4, Bexel v3.9.2, and ISY Calcus V 7.0. The model included a variety of structural components and detailed construction elements with uniform pricing across all software platforms.

Interviews were a key method of data collection in this study. Conducted digitally via Teams, each session lasted up to 45 minutes and was recorded using the University of Oslo’s Dictaphone app. Participants included a diverse group from Sparkel: an acquisition manager, a BIM technician, an estimator, a technology leader, a BIM and digitalization manager, and a chief technology officer. The data from these interviews were qualitatively analyzed through a detailed process involving transcription, thematic analysis, and subsequent data validation.


The case study revealed that the successful adoption of 5D BIM in construction hinges on several factors, such as software selection and effective management of IFC files. Although the importation of IFC files is conceptually straightforward, it presents complex challenges in extracting quantities, areas, and models. Moreover, verifying the accuracy of data after import is crucial to maintain data integrity.

The evaluation of three software programs revealed varying levels of functionality aimed at enhancing project management efficiency. These programs were assessed based on their user interface, functional capabilities, and efficiency in handling IFC transfers. Sparkel emerged as the most user-friendly, followed by Bexel, while ISY Calcus struggled with IFC file integration. Notably, discrepancies between software updates and IFC format upgrades frequently led to issues in implementing IFC files effectively.

The interviews revealed that 5D BIM is preferred as a time-saving tool. It has simplified the effective handling of project changes but requires further improvement in total cost estimates. Overall, a positive attitude towards 5D BIM could be observed as it effectively improves the precision of cost estimations and reduces financial overruns in complex construction projects, indicating its broader acceptance in the construction industry. 

However, challenges remain when it comes to the broader implementation of BIM, particularly concerning model quality and the establishment of a standardized communication framework. The industry exhibits a significant gap in BIM expertise, which cannot be solely attributed to software limitations. Additionally, the slow uptake of the latest IFC standards, often due to conservative industry practices and insufficient investment in digital transformation—such as staff retraining—continues, even though the potential benefits are well recognized.


This study delved into the integration of 5D BIM within the construction industry, focusing on the practical usage of IFC across various construction software platforms and uncovering both technical and procedural hurdles. Interviews with construction professionals from diverse roles enriched our understanding by providing real-world insights, perceptions, and actionable recommendations for 5D BIM’s effective implementation.

The approach used in this study helps connect the theoretical BIM advancements to the on-ground realities, suggesting that collaboration among software developers, construction firms, and educational institutions can overcome the current challenges. Such partnerships are pivotal for addressing existing obstacles and can significantly influence the construction management landscape. This study emphasizes the transformative power of 5D BIM in pushing forward the construction industry’s digital transformation.

Journal Reference

Hosamo, H. H., Rolfsen, C. N., Zeka, F., Sandbeck, S., Said, S., & Sætre, M. A. (2024). Navigating the Adoption of 5D Building Information Modeling: Insights from Norway. Infrastructures9(4), 75–75.

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Nidhi Dhull

Written by

Nidhi Dhull

Nidhi Dhull is a freelance scientific writer, editor, and reviewer with a PhD in Physics. Nidhi has an extensive research experience in material sciences. Her research has been mainly focused on biosensing applications of thin films. During her Ph.D., she developed a noninvasive immunosensor for cortisol hormone and a paper-based biosensor for E. coli bacteria. Her works have been published in reputed journals of publishers like Elsevier and Taylor & Francis. She has also made a significant contribution to some pending patents.  


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