In the 2011 Construction Strategy, government set a mandate for the use of fully collaborative BIM on all government construction projects by 4th April 2016. With this date just around the corner I chose to attend the Ecobuild seminar entitled, ‘BIM and UK Government’. I wanted to understand how government is helping the construction industry achieve these targets.

Push or Pull? – Government Drivers for BIM

Presented by Rob Manning of the UK Government BIM Task Group, the Ecobuild seminar started by looking at the drivers for BIM. Rob categorised these into drivers that pull and drivers that push. The pull drivers are aimed at pulling construction towards that ever approaching deadline of Level 2, these include the level 2 mandate itself, alongside operational requirements for BIM. Rob Manning said the standards, PAS1192:1 to PAS1192:5, for designing with BIM help with consistency and BIM adoption.

Push drivers are essentially incentives for the industry to adopt BIM. Such as achieving better efficiency & productivity in construction, where BIM will give added value to the industry.

The BIM Task Group Digital Plan of Work sets out information about the different levels of BIM and how it works in the construction supply chain. Also in the plan of work is the education and training framework for BIM. The Digital Plan of Work lays the foundation for building towards collaborative procurement.

These drivers are all helping the government lead construction towards consistency in design, efficiency and collaborative working.

Engaging manufacturers in BIM?

In early 2015 research by BIM4M2, BIM Adoption by Manufacturers showed the two main barriers to the adoption of BIM as time & resources and cost of investment.  The research showed 40% of manufacturers had already adopted BIM, with a further 50% planning to invest in 2015. Latest research by BIM4M2, yet to be released, indicates that there has been a slight increase in the number of manufacturers providing BIM but the overall figure offering or planning to offer BIM remains the same. Optimistically time and resource required is looking to be less of a barrier. Indicating that manufacturers are recognising BIM is needed, not a nice to have.

There are a number of government initiatives to engage manufacturers in BIM, including the development of PDTs and the BIM Toolkit. Next the BIM Task Group are looking to develop a standardised process for the sharing of product data. One of the tools will be a plain language BIM dictionary. This will provide both those requesting information, and those providing it, with a common set of parameters relating to harmonised standards. This will help create product data sets and share data across software platforms. The dictionary will be launched at the next BIM4M2 Seminar in London on 13th April 2016, and will be freely available by the end of April 2016.

Conclusion

Rob Manning summarised the Ecobuild presentation by saying the global construction market is expected to grow 70% by 2025, and that collaborative design in the form of BIM is going to become integral to participating in this growth. He considers the UK construction market is well positioned, as it is currently working at Level 2 BIM, and moving quickly towards Level 3.

This view is supported by the recently released NBS national BIM report 2016, with the UK increasing its numbers of BIM users by 9% since 2013, and scoring the highest of all countries surveyed for agreement that the government ‘is on the right track’.

So are construction product manufacturers ready for BIM? BIM4M2 are soon to release fresh research into BIM Adoption by Product Manufacturers which will give us an up to date picture. Hopefully government BIM initiatives are creating enough of a pull for manufacturers  to want to be on board and engaged with BIM.

 

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