BIM – Let’s get digital…

April 6, 2018 10:45 am Published by

Sometimes the sun shines (like today!) and it was just last October that we had Barratt reporting its 2017 results and a healthy 17% operating margin on revenue of £4.6 billion.

However, it’s not always like this and our industry is not always so kind as can be seen by the number of businesses that continue to go into administration unable to make ends meet.

Cost control therefore remains vital which brings me neatly to Building Information Modelling, or BIM, as its more commonly known…

We all know BIM as a way of managing the information associated with a project. It’s a process based on the idea that we’re better off sharing information and working from a single, rich data digital model that evolves as a project progresses. The argument being this means better communication, better collaboration and as a result fewer clashes, errors and costs.

As a concept it’s been around for decades, arguably since the 1960s, however it’s only really in the last ten years that a real push towards a BIM approach has occurred driven in no small part by the Government’s Construction Strategy and Digital Built Britain programme.

So, to what extent is a BIM approach now being adopted on projects?

Well, sources such as NBS’ National BIM Report 2017 suggest BIM is now widely employed. But, and here’s the thing – the same sources also suggest that it is at most a Level 2 BIM approach used (which is now mandated by the Government for public sector projects).

The idea of BIM levels were introduced by the Government in 2011. A Level 2 approach broadly equates to the BIM ideal in terms of sharing of e-information but with participants maintaining separate models – a so-called federated model approach.

So, in short, the mainline consensus is that we’re getting there but that we are not quite there yet.

And this agrees with what I’m seeing in practice including the reduced use of a BIM type approach on smaller projects and developments.

Still it’s definitely good progress, I’d argue for more though.

It’s time for us to get digital! and I really believe in the benefits of a digital / BIM approach that makes full use of the latest digital visualisation technologies and techniques.

Also, what counts for me, especially when it comes to smaller scale projects and developments, is not so much formal compliance with a prescribed BIM Level but rather that everyone does the maximum possible in line with the underlying BIM ethos.

I think this is something we can all aspire to and is driving our approach here at T&P to generate BIM workflow compliant ground models which can be used and developed from project inception.

Watch our video on how using drones to do highly accurate BIM compliant aerial surveys can improve volumetric calculation and help manage risk and costs.  

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This post was written by Mike Nicholas

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