The BIM journey

By - , Build 150

With BIM mandated for government projects in the UK from 2016, plenty has been done to educate the local industry. BRANZ recently brought two UK BIM experts out to train people here. They spoke to Build about BIM in the UK and New Zealand.


Q. Why will BIM be required for UK Government projects from 2016?

Dan Rossiter, BRE BIM Consulting and Training Manager – Climate change cost and sustainability are key drivers. There’s a need to use the resources that we’ve got in a more efficient way. Case studies carried out in the early 2000s showed 15–20% could be saved on the cost of producing some buildings.

Q. What is the driver in the UK for implementing BIM?

Dan – For the last 100 or so years in the UK, there have been problems in the construction industry. We have been underperforming on key benchmarks. There’s been antagonistic ways of doing things. It wasn’t until the industry had a driver from the central government as a client saying ‘If you don’t do better, you won’t get work from us’ that people started to listen.

Q. How has the industry responded to the mandate?

Paul Oakley, BRE Associate Director BIM – Talks started in 2011, and there’s been time to adjust. The first thing was to define what was meant by BIM, so maturity levels were established before the mandate in 2008. A BIM taskforce with ownership of the rights for BIM in the UK was also set up.

Industry put out blockers as to why BIM should not be adopted, like the cost of software. A lot of work has been done defining the documentation standards and removing the blockers.

Now it’s a mandatory requirement, those conversations have stopped. It’s now ‘How do we do it?’

Q: What’s a key point from the BIM workshops here?

Dan – We’ve been conveying that the UK has a solution, not the solution. It is about learning from our mistakes and picking out the good bits that we and other nations have done to find what’s best for New Zealand.

Q: From what you have seen, how advanced is BIM use in New Zealand?

Paul – Some clients have been looking at it, and there are also design and construction firms who are driving their clients with the capabilities available through BIM.

The New Zealand BIM Handbook takes some of the best-practice guidance documents developed around the world, which means lots of good work has already been carried out. While here, we’ve been hearing about the need for a common language, and as the handbook has defined the terminology, it’s a good tool to start this part of the process.

From discussions, some of the detail needs to be picked up in New Zealand, for example, transferring knowledge from projects already undertaken. There’s a perception that New Zealand will take on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) when it is published. Localised elements will then be fed in to deal with BIM at project level.

Involving members through professional institutes and the BIM acceleration committee is a good way of focusing a single message through a single organisation and filtering it to the institutes. It means everyone’s talking the same language and is on the same journey.

Q. What’s next for BIM?

Paul – BIM will move from dealing with initial design benefits to full life cycle information. Lots of work needs to be done defining international standards. There’s also the Internet of Things, where information can be exchanged from graphical to non-graphical via web services. This will enable modelling information on best practice. More work also needs to be done on the processes and standards.

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