Monday, 29 November 2010

BIM gets rolling

Over the past six weeks the term BIM (Building Information Modelling) has been used more than ever. At _space group, we have been tracking this technology for over 10 years and were converted a long time ago. The construction industry has now started to realise that there may be something in this new technology. The main driver for this change has been the adoption of the approach from client bodies. This includes the Government themselves, following several speeches from Paul Morell, the Government’s construction advisor, who is supporting BIM and confirming that it is the way all public buildings will be procured in the future. Other clients, such as Manchester City Council, have also stated that all future projects will be delivered using BIM.

Once large scale client bodies have made this jump, the rest of the industry will start to wake up to the need to use it, and hopefully, its potential.

Over recent weeks I have been involved in countless discussions, presentations and workshops with construction organisations who want to understand what BIM is all about. My starting point is always the same. BIM is not the answer to everything and there are some pieces of intelligent software available which do assist the process but there is still a need for experience and construction knowledge. The second point I make is that BIM is not only about training a team how to use sophisticated software but, I believe, is a complete cultural change within any organisation. Without decisions being made at the highest level of all businesses, BIM will not work. Procurement processes and contracts all need to be reviewed and re-aligned to this new integrated process.

We are only really at the start of our journey in the UK regarding BIM as several constructors start to realise the potential and need for this new approach. The architectural industry is still way off the pace and continues to fight against the technology. I believe much of this is fear and also arrogance in that many architectural businesses focus very much on the art rather than marketing needs.

The involvement by constructors has been really encouraging, however the understanding at board level still is a long way from delivery on site. Over the next few years we will see some major successes and failures utilising this approach however, I am absolutely convinced that BIM will be universally adopted across the industry and will deliver projects faster, cheaper and better.

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