Paper A9

38. Conceptual Reactor


The BIM Framework Conceptual Reactor v1.0 (full size, current version)

The BIM Framework Conceptual Reactor explains how existing conceptual constructs – terms, classifications, taxonomies, models and frameworks – are used to identify, explain and test new constructs.

The conceptual reactor thus allows the BIM framework to be continuously extended according to evolved research aims and objectives - represented as input 1 (or 'in1'). By integrating existing conceptual structures (in2) with new knowledge gained through literature reviews, and data collection (in3), the reactor can then generate new conceptual structures (output or ‘out’) after passing through an iterative, three-stage theory-building process. This process has been identified by J. Meredith (1993) (J. R. Meredith, Raturi, Amoako-Gyampah, & Kaplan, 1989) and includes three repetitive stages - description, explanation and testing:

  • First, the Description Stage develops a description of reality; identifies phenomena; explores events; and documents findings and behaviours;
  • Second, the Explanation Stage builds upon descriptions to infer a concept, a conceptual relationship or a construct; and then, develops a framework or a theory to explain and/or predict behaviours or events. In essence, the explaining stage develops a testable theoretical proposition which clarifies what has previously been described; and
  • Third, the Testing Stage inspects explanations and propositions for validity; tests concepts or their relationships for accuracy; and tests predictions against new observables.

35. Point of Adoption

The Point of Adoption (PoA) model is a distillation of three implementation phases: readiness, capability, and maturity. As a term, PoA identifies the juncture(s) where organizational readiness transforms into organizational capability/maturity. It also identifies the juncture(s) where technological invention and a procedural innovation transforms into organizational - as well as market wide - diffusion:


Point of Adoption model v1.1 (full size, current version)

As explored in Figure 1 above, transformative BIM adoption starts at the Point of Adoption (PoA) when an organization, after a period of planning and preparation (readiness), successfully adopts object-based modelling tools and workflows. The PoA[1] thus marks the initial capability jump from no BIM abilities (pre-BIM status) to minimum BIM capability (Stage 1). As the adopter interacts with other adopters, a second capability jump (Stage 2) marks the organization’s ability to successfully engage in model-based collaboration. Also, as the organisation starts to engage with multiple stakeholders across the supply chain, a third capability jump (Stage 3) is necessary to benefit from integrated, network-based tools, processes and protocols (refer back to BIM Stages).

Each of these capability jumps is preceded with considerable investment in human and physical resources, and each stage signals new organizational abilities and deliverables not available before the jump. However, the deliverables of different organizations at the same stage may vary in quality, repeatability and predictability (refer to BIM Maturity Index). This variance in performance excellence occurs as organizations climb their respective BIM maturity curve, experience their internal BIM diffusion, and gradually improve their performance over time[2].

The multiple maturity curves depicted in Figure 1 reflect the heterogeneous nature of BIM adoption even within the same organization (e.g. sample Organization X) has a compiled rating of 1c, 2b and 3a). This is due to the phased nature of BIM with each revolutionary stage requiring its own readiness ramp, capability jump, maturity climb, and point of adoption. This is also due to varied abilities across organizational sub-units and project teams: while organizational unit A1 (within Organization A) may have elevated model-based collaboration capabilities, unit A2 may have basic modelling capabilities, and unit A3 may still be preparing to implement BIM software tools. This variance in ability necessitates a compiled rating for organization A as it simultaneously prepares for an innovative solution, implements a system/process, and continually improves its performance.

Note: the Point of Adoption model is also discussed  (along with the UK BIM Maturity model) in Episode 22 on BIM ThinkSpace.

Update (May, 2016): below is a short video explaining the above on the Framework's YouTube channel:


[1] The Point of Adoption (PoA) is not to be confused with the critical mass ‘inflection point’ on the S-curve (E. M. Rogers, 1995) (Everett M Rogers, Medina, Rivera, & Wiley, 2005); or with the ‘tipping pint’, the critical threshold introduced by Gladwell (2001).

[2] The X-axis in Figure 1 represents time relative to each PoA, not as an absolute scale. That is, this version of the chart does not represent a snapshot view of compiled capability/maturity at a specific point in (absolute) time.