Archives for July 2013

Drivers behind BIM Part 2

The article this week will follow on from lasts week’s article looking at the drivers behind BIM. This week I will focus on the NBS surveys from the last few years as well as looking at some of the industry take up and commitments towards BIM that has taken place recently.

wheel BIM

Drivers Behind BIM Part 1 can be found here

Another key driver in the push for wider adoption of BIM across the industry is the positive effects that BIM working practices will have in regards to delivering low impact sustainable buildings for the future, in an increasingly energy conscious time.  By increasing the BIM awareness and skills of the industry whilst at the same time parallel to these further increasing the industries abilities to analyse and design low impact buildings, the construction sector will be in the best position to contribute positively towards a low impact future.

The National BIM Report 2012 canvassed the opinions of over 1000 participants with differing levels of awareness and understanding of BIM for 2011. The results showed that 73% of participants agreed that the industry was simply not yet clear enough on what BIM actually was. Following on from this, NBS repeated the survey in 2012-13 titled the NBS National BIM Survey 2013, once again canvassing the opinions of the industry for the year 2012. The same question was asked and this time around 74% now felt that ‘the industry isn’t yet clear enough on what BIM is yet’, clearly with this continued statistic there is still further work to be done in regards to preparing the industry for full adoption of BIM.

Also highlighted within the findings was the lack of awareness amongst all participants. The National BIM Report 2012 established, “that awareness of BIM is (was) not universal, with 21% of participants stating that they were not aware of BIM (in 2011)”. In the repeated study, NBS National BIM Survey 2013 the same question was asked again, this time around however the number of participants ‘neither aware nor using BIM’ fell to 6%. This result is a marked improvement on previous years amongst the industry participants.  As good as an improvement as this last result is it would be somewhat counterproductive if the industry was to stand still in regards to BIM adoption and training. Similarly once again it would also be counterproductive if Higher Education institutions continued to allow graduates to leave university without any awareness of BIM themselves. I believe if this was to happen it could hinder the Government and the industry in their push for greater adoption of BIM.

Personally I feel it’s the responsibility of Governments, the firms who can realistically afford to, as well as Higher Education institutes to ensure that the necessary training is provided to enable graduates and existing professionals to succeed within an increasingly competitive industry, with a clear awareness and ability to work within a BIM working environment being one of those skills.  For those smaller companies who work to an ever increasing tighter staffing and technology budget I’m afraid I don’t have all the answers! Yes I feel that the smaller SME’s need to adapt to survive but at the same time I recognise the barriers. What is encouraging is various funding schemes that are popping up to assist SME’s with CPD funding etc. such as the Sustainable Building Futures (SBF) based in Coventry to assist SME’s in and the Midlands region.

The extent to which BIM is adopted across the construction industry depends on whether industry leaders buy into the Governments sentiments. Currently major players within the industry are making strong drives towards the adoption of BIM, with some already delivering projects at maturity level 2. Balfour Beatty has recently invested a considerable amount of funds into the adoption of BIM across their company. In 2012 Balfour Beatty “signed a three year, $12 million agreement that will help Balfour Beatty expand its adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM)” balfourbeatty (2012). Capita, formally known as Capita Symonds soon to revert back to Capita!, have also been investing heavily in the adoption of BIM they announced last year that from  “July 2012 all its new design projects will use BIM Level 2 as standard” capitasymonds. (2013). The Royal BAM Group have also recently signed a three year contract worth “(£2.8m) with software firm Autodesk to provide Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology across its global operations, including all BAM projects in the UK” building (2013). Speaking about the deal in October 2012, BAM Construct Design & Marketing director Chris Gilmour stated that BIM would be used across all projects, “Not just special projects – no matter how big or small the project, we will be fully embedding BIM” (February 2013). This review of the construction industry is by no means exhaustive; it is however a small indication of the commitment that industry is making towards adopting BIM.

So as you can see there are many factors at stake when we talk about the drivers behind BIM, whether it be Government, Industry or Education they all have a big part to play in the future of the construction sector. What are your thoughts on BIM, do you believe enough is being done push forward with BIM? Also do you feel it’s he to stay, or is it just another buzzword or phase that will pass?


Drivers Behind BIM Part 1

This article is the first of two parts, the focus will be on the drivers behind BIM, why are many companies adopting this new or not so new (depending who you talk to!) way of working. BIM has many believers and just as many critics! But one thing is for sure as it stands, the UK government believes it’s here to stay as well as many of the early adopters who are making whole sale changes to the infrastructure of their project set-ups.

Over the last few years the UK Government has made significant moves outlining where they expect the construction industry to be over the coming years in regards to BIM. The UK Government has mandated that all public building projects will have to be using BIM design processes at level 2, fully collaborative 3D BIM, or higher by 2016.  Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office has recently stated in 2012 that, “The Governments four-year strategy for BIM implementation will change the dynamics and behaviours of the construction supply chain, unlocking new, more efficient and collaborative ways of working. This whole sector adoption of BIM will put us at the vanguard of a new digital construction era and position the UK to become the world leaders in BIM”.

Now….within this particular article I’m not going to get too caught up in the whole debate of how much of this ‘new’ BIM methodology already existed in certain people’s workflows and how much is a ‘new’ way of thinking. Yes certain collaborative working processes did exist previously, what I feel BIM has brought and is bringing to the table is a repackaging of the best aspects of collaborative working processes and protocols along with new ones as well as establishing further integration of existing 3D CAD technologies and the newer BIM technologies that are sprouting up on what seems like a daily basis!

Sourced from-

Sourced from-

The Cabinet Office states in the Government Construction Strategy (2011) “there is a detailed programme of measures Government will take that will reduce costs by up to 20% by the end of this parliament”; it is believed by many that BIM will be one of the key factors in achieving this target. I still feel that even with all the good work that the BIM task groupBIM Regional hubs, OpenBIM network and the BIM academic forum are doing more work will be needed to move onto the next phase. We’re at the point now where all the believers are fully on board and committed to BIM ethos. What phase 2 needs to do now is move beyond the tight-knit and familiar group of people who accept and believe in BIM and begin to convince some of the remaining doubters on board. I say some because I feel you will always get some people who don’t like change an d wish to stick with what they know and are comfortable with.

As well as the Government drives i also feel that education has a big part to play in BIM adoption. As discussed in the BIS BIM strategy Report carried out by the BIM Industry Working Group (2011, p6) “key to any successful change programme is communication of the change and adequate support during the process”, part of the responsibility to provide that support will fall on Academic Institutions. The BIS BIM strategy Report (2011, p6) goes on to state that in regards to how training is provided the “recommended solution is a strongly led hybrid provider drawing on the educational and research expertise of universities, the robust experience of accrediting bodies and the engagement of credible industry led best practice, as well as vocational training delivered by CPD or the training supply chain.” From this information it’s clear to me that the incentive or at least the outwardly perceived incentive is that education is seen as a major supporting act. In my opinion however I feel much more has to be done at undergraduate level (UK at least). In respect of this point I also feel further guidance and support needs to be established and clearly set out and put forward to higher education institutes as to what their role is.

Barison and Santos (2009) found the application of BIM in HE to be focussed predominantly on single course integration rather inter-disciplinary. However as we all know by now the application of BIM in the industry is an integrated practice! The aim for education has to be for effective collaboration between different professionals.  This is why I feel that BIM should not only be taught in theory and technical lectures but imperatively all of the knowledge should be brought together in multidisciplinary collaborative projects.

So as you can see there are many factors at stake when we talk about the drivers behind BIM, whether it be Government, Industry or Education they all have a big part to play in the future of the construction sector. What are your thoughts on BIM, do you believe enough is being done touch forward with BIM? Also do you feel it’s he to stay, or is it just another buzzword or fad that will pass? Catch up here next week for part 2 of this article.

Driver Behind BIM part 2 can be found here


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