Since the launch of the government’s plan to use level 2 building information modelling (BIM) on every central government construction contract by 2016, BIM has been the buzziest of all the industry’s buzzwords.
BIM is the compilation of a single database of fully integrated information that can be used by all members of the design and construction team, as well as by owners or operators throughout a facility’s life cycle. Each element within a building or facility is created as an ‘intelligent object’ that contains a broad array of data as well as its dimensions and each of these elements ‘knows’ how it relates to other elements of the same project and the overall design.
BIM has been identified as key for drilling right into the construction supply chain as it can help to provide better design, improve co-ordination and collaboration between all parties on a construction project and help to strip waste from key processes. Many public sector procurers and clients will begin to demand more BIM-enabled projects to deliver efficiency savings through the elimination of waste.
CIRIA, the construction industry research and information association, take a look at Business Information Modelling (BIM) over the last few years in their latest publication and how far the UK Government as a Construction client has come in terms of its use of BIM.
Terry Stocks, Head of Project Delivery at the Ministry of Justice and the lead for the Government Industrial Strategy: Construction 2025 BIM Level 2 programme reflects on the learning gained from implementing BIM over a range of projects.
He commented that since the launch of the Government Construction Strategy in May 2011 there has been a real catalyst for change. A major part of that change is the mandate for BIM in central government departments.
He said: “The UK BIM Strategy for the first time articulated what BIM is, it’s evolution from paper-based practice, and by creating an approach through the articulation of maturity levels, has really achieved in making clear the importance of BIM in a change continuum. The work of the BIM Task Group has helped departments map the requirements of BIM Level 2 into their practice and process, which is ongoing but well advanced”.
In terms of the supply chain, the recent NBS BIM Survey was very positive. It suggests a significant improvement in a number of key areas from 2013’s survey results. This is indicative of the pace of change within the industry.
It is evident that the introduction of BIM will involve changes; therefore there will be challenges which need to be dealt with, software companies need to improve the portability of their data through IFC’s. The key difference of BIM is the way data is collected during the design and construction process.
The benefits of BIM at capex as measured across a sample of circa seven projects are of the order of 15% to 20 per cent. Once the practice of BIM becomes increasingly embedded in delivery, practice forecasts of circa 40 per cent plus have been stated. This is in-line with Construction 2025 targets of 50 per cent quicker and 33 per cent whole life cycle cost benefits.
This return will depend on the right environment being created by clients, and delivery partners playing their part in growing maturity to deliver the benefits. There has also been evidence of design teams growing a fee turnover well in excess of the rate of investment in BIM. Whatever the hard figures are that are starting to emerge, delivering in a collaborative environment that works to drive out waste and therefore cost at all stages and to all involved must be a goal.