BIM adoption and the standardisation of product data

Results of a survey, by Construction Manager and BIM+ have revealed that a high proportion of public sector clients are failing to adopt BIM on their projects and that 1 in 4 said they did not ask for BIM adoption on their projects. They surveyed clients, contractors specialist contractors, design consultants and cost consultants, to gauge how user trends had moved since the 2016 survey.   Further survey results can be read here.

NBS recently hosted a BIM event for manufacturers, yet failed to mention the key LEXiCON project being led by The CPA and supported by BIM4M2. In an article for BIM4M2 Alex Small, BIM and Digital Platforms Manager at Tata Steel, outlines the importance of standardised product data for the continued progression of the construction sector, including why LEXiCON is now becoming particularly important.

LEXiCON software is being developed by BRE and ActivePlan. Paul Oakley, Director of BIM at BRE says resolving the BIM data problem means recognising barriers exist and working out how to overcome these issues. This sentiment is echoed in an article by Rob Garvey (Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster). Rob advises that you should “Consider what it will take for your team or organisation to operate digitally and whether you have the internal capability to achieve that. If not, identify what the barriers are and ask yourself how they could be overcome.”

To learn more about where the construction industry is one year on from the launch of the BIM Level 2 mandate then consider attending BIM Prospects 2017, a 2 day conference in London taking place 20-21st April.

Offsite construction methods are set to grow

In an article for BIM+ Jason Ruddle writes there is a need for the industry to wake up for the need for speed on housing. Going on to say, when reviewing plans for garden cities “There’s just one thing that niggles, as we observe the flurry of activity. And that’s the estimated 20-year completion deadlines of both initiatives”

Pre-manufacture has the potential to improve quality, while reducing cost and shortening construction times. Hardly a new technology, it was used in the UK in the 1940s to solve the housing shortage following the Second World War. Yet there does seem to be fresh momentum behind this approach. With our recent Construction Market Report – UK Offsite Manufacture research showing that 77% of respondents expect this sector to grow in the next 12 months.

As Britain goes through the process of formally departing the EU, many leading housebuilders, such as Berkeley, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon, have said that they are either planning new developments of pre-fab homes or considering it. This has come about due to a shortage of affordable homes in the UK and also skilled construction labour, which many fear will worsen with Brexit.

Aecom also plan to deliver thousands of prefab homes, further utilising the modular homes factory they are setting up for the Docklands scheme they have recently been appointed to. And building products supplier SIG Offsite has teamed up with aircrete producer H+H UK to launch a new system which can build homes in just five days. Meanwhile Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive, Structural Timber Association writes for pbctoday on how Factory built homes have many benefits for the self-builder. Saying “structural timber systems are rapidly becoming the building material of choice – currently accounting for around 75% of the self-build market.”

In North America an Amazon employee has taken modular construction to a new level, offering a stackable modular building concept. The firm, called Blokable aims to “empower communities to build their own housing” with smart, stackable, modular units.

New Tech in construction provides opportunity for construction product manufacturers

The construction industry is undergoing an electronic evolution with robots, drones, artificial intelligence and many other developments. All of this was discussed at a recent Construction Products Europe event on High Tech Evolution in Construction.

Newly launched research by Competitive Advantage, New Technology and Innovation in the Construction provides manufacturers and other suppliers with an understanding of the areas of opportunity relating to product innovation. This impartial research provides indicators of what specifiers are looking for from manufacturers of construction products, offering up ideas on quick wins, as well as long term innovation requirements.

With technology poised to fundamentally rewrite how we undertake design Autodesk’s Dominic Thasarathar looks at six tech trends that will shape the future. On this theme NBS present the technologies transforming construction and B1M present material innovations in 4d printing, self-healing concrete, kinetic paving.

BSRIA estimate that the smart home and light market in the UK is set to grow by almost 30% in 2017. And Architect Foster + Partners is working on an EU-funded project exploring the potential of large-scale metal-based 3D printing.

In Japan a robotic lifting arm and remote-controlled bulldozers are some of the innovations being rolled out. Showing that a government push to integrate high technology into the construction sector, called “i-Construct”, may be bearing fruit after its launch in 2015.

Could the recently launched investment accelerator pilot by Innovate UK, with simultaneous grant funding and venture capital investment for early stage projects worth up to £8.5 million, provide a boost for integrating tech into the UK construction sector?

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