It’s now nine months since BIM level 2 became a mandatory requirement for all centrally-procured public sector projects in the UK. The move was intended not only as a step towards greater efficiency and cost management in public sector build programmes but also as a catalyst to drive uptake of BIM across the UK construction sector.  

 

While, in many senses, the 1st April 2016 was a false deadline because it only applied to a very specific project criteria, its role as a milestone for change has been tangible. This year has seen a number of major players upping their game in terms of BIM capabilities and we have even seen contractors developing in-house capabilities to redesign conventional schemes in BIM.  

It would seem that we are making considerable progress towards the Government’s aim of making the UK a world leader in BIM, but there are still steps that need to be taken to ease the transition both client-side and professionally.

 

Client side, there is still a perception that delivery of a project in BIM is mostly about 3D modelling. The model is valuable, both during the build phase and throughout the lifecycle of the completed asset, but without the early engagement and collaboration elements that are critical to a full BIM level 2 process, the model may not be appropriate to the client’s needs.  It’s essential, therefore, that the delivery team interrogates the brief and understands the client’s goals in order to leverage the full cost and efficiency benefits of BIM, demonstrating the business case for using the methodology for delivering the scheme.

Meanwhile, the design community is investing in 3D modelling software and addressing the skills requirements of transitioning to BIM.  However, more genuine early engagement is needed with delivery partners. It’s the collaborative process that will drive full BIM level 2 implementation because, while the 3D model is the visible evidence of the BIM process and a key tool for site delivery and legacy management, its value must be based on the inputs that create it.

 

The BIM model is much more than a combination of modelling software and data, it is the vehicle by which client, consultant, contractor and supply chain collaborate.  And through collaboration, extra steps and duplication are removed, buildability is built into the model and value engineering opportunities are identified as part of the initial design process.

Early engagement is critical to effective specification of BIM projects and Sika Major Project’s business model has been guided by the need for greater collaboration and more integrated specification. Our holistic approach to specification from basement to roof enables us to work with the design team, the client and the contractor to offer a solutions-driven approach to selecting products that meet performance, aesthetic, buildability and budgetary requirements.  We have BIM level 2 capability and are working towards the next level. With early engagement, we can be part of the process that ensures BIM genuinely delivers long-term value to the client, by asking key questions such as maintenance requirements, lifecycle expectations and end-user profile.

 

With BIM now mandatory for some construction projects, early engagement and effective collaboration will be critical to driving a better, more sustainable and more cost effective built environment as we continue making the transition to routinely delivering all projects in BIM.