The importance and benefits of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has grown significantly in the construction industry. After realizing these benefits and the growing need to implement BIM on projects, the United Kingdom set a strategic plan to require all government contractors be compliant with Level 2 Building Information Modeling. It has been a couple of years since the plan was published by the Cabinet Office (May 31, 2011) and the deadline for conformity has now passed (April 4, 2016).
The mandate requires public construction project stakeholders – architects, contractors or suppliers – to be able to exchange project data through a common file format. A new dedicated website (www.Level2BIM.org) also launched, which provides Level 2 instructions, documentation and supporting materials. The BIM Task Group, is responsible for providing BIM support and maintaining www.bimtaskgroup.org with up-to-date news, information and support updates. Since the deadline has now passed, the question is, have U.K. firms adopted BIM?
A 2016 Royal Institute of British Architects’ National Building Specification (NBS) National BIM Survey conducted between Dec. 2015 and Feb. 2016 found that of the 1,000 firms surveyed – only 54% had adopted BIM. The United States conveys similar BIM statistics. The 2015 Construction Technology Report, powered by JBKnowledge, found that of the 2,000 construction professionals surveyed – 50% stated they’re not currently implementing BIM.
“In the U.K. there also seems to be some sense of confusion among contractors, as 41% of survey participants said they were unsure what exactly the U.K.’s BIM requirement entails,” stated Kim Slowey, writer for Construction Dive. Ultimately, the U.K. is making strides to change the construction industry and showcasing to the globe that BIM can reduce capital costs, improve carbon performance and create safer, more efficient ways of working at all stages of the project life-cycle. However it seems they could do a better job at communication these long term goals and short term objectives to contractors.
Though the construction worker above wasn’t planning on destroying a whole section of a building, accidents happen. If BIM had been involved with this project, it would have provided predictive planning, collaboration using one consistent system and viewpoints from all angles – ultimately preventing this type of destruction. “Companies who are not adapting to BIM are simply not educated with the benefits and overall cost reductions it can bring their company in the future,” remarked Josh Bone, JBKnowledge BIM Services Manager. The U.K. BIM requirement aims to provide government officials with as much information about their projects as possible so that they can manage the resulting structures effectively.
According to the BIM Task Group website, Francis Maude, the previous Minister for the Cabinet Office, stated “BIM implementation will change the dynamics and behaviors 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.” In regards to the future of BIM in the UK, initiating Level 3 is next on the list, which will enable the interconnected digital design of elements, extend BIM into the operation of assets and support the accelerated delivery of certain projects, like, smart cities.
As you can see in the picture above, BIM provides contractors with intricate details that help them perform to the best of their abilities. BIM is continuously making excellence a habit all over the world. Now you may ask, where does that leave the United States and BIM? According to Construction Dive’s “Betting on BIM” article, Peter Trebilcock, Director of BIM at Balfour Beatty Construction Services U.K., states “The U.S. construction industry is years ahead on the modeling component of BIM.” BIM in the US is “Much more of an everyday type of business practice than it is in the UK,” stated Trebilcock. The ConTechTrio, powered by JBKnowledge, also believes that the U.S. construction industry will continue to embrace BIM, despite not having any government regulations in place. Tune into their construction tech podcast for weekly updates on BIM initiatives around the world.
For U.S. companies looking to learn more and get started with BIM, they can review continuing education opportunities like the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) CM-BIM classes, some even instructed by JBKnowledge BIM Services Manager Josh Bone. Other helpful BIM resources include the AEC DevBlog, AEC magazine, the BIM Forum Association, The National BIM Conference and the free ARCAT library.
If you’re looking to improve how your company employs BIM, our experienced BIM consultants offer a range of services, such as, developing BIM Execution Plans, training staff on BIM software, providing virtual mockups and more. Reach out to us today to learn more.
About the Author:
Hello! My name is Tori Strickland and I am a Senior Corporate Communications major at The University of Texas in Austin. Hook ‘em! Since the end of May I have had the privilege to work as a Marketing Intern (and first Longhorn!) at JBKnowledge. Throughout my short time I have been here, I have learned so much about technology, the construction industry as a whole, event planning, and how to effectively market products. One piece of technology that I am constantly geeking out on is an augmented reality sandbox that allows users to create topographic contour lines with elevation color changes by physically shaping the real sand in front of you. (Our R&D team even has their own.) Working closely with the JBKnowledge Marketing Team here in Austin, TX has been a joy, and given me life long skills that I didn’t even know were possible for me to attain.