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Is UK BIM mandate a success for the stakeholders?

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BIM Mandate UKIt has been more than two months and the date (4th April 2016) set by UK Government; for the implementation of BIM level 2 in all public sector projects has received mix reactions from several construction firms.

The fascinating outcomes of this BIM mandate:

The due credit goes to Paul Morrell, who set course for Level 2 BIM, or the BIM Mandate, as part of the Government’s construction strategy

For those construction managers who are yet to explore what BIM level 2 is, it is the stage of BIM adoption intended to standardize the process of sharing high quality digital information through set standards like COBie and IFC. BIM Level 2 is really a set of methods and standards of how to function better within the different levels of construction in order to gain effectiveness in quality and cost in the way we build and operate buildings.

Level 2 BIM is applicable to any contracts obtained for construction, irrespective of their size or value, meaning that Non-Compliant building service companies will be losing big time on work. It will be a huge blow for principal contractors and supply chains if they aren’t ready yet. However, though the target date is right here, it surely doesn’t mean everyone’s ready to welcome it with open arms. The above stats claim the slow adoption and ambiguity in adopting BIM.

Only 10% believe that the building construction industry is now ready to deliver on the Government’s 2016 BIM Mandates.

Despite its unexpected mandate and lack of skilled BIM specialists, UK deserves Pat on the back for making the digital shift in construction industry. For UK Government BIM implementation had become a necessity, since Government itself is responsible for the majority of the construction. The government has a strong BIM army that has directed the production of industry standards and has helped construction industry to realize what is required and how to deliver the required.

So, on one hand where Government went through so much of pain to explain its importance in construction industry, it also expects the 100% applicability of the BIM mandate. So for architectural, construction and MEP firms that aren’t ready or refused to accept BIM, have landed themselves on a slippery slope, because- BIM has just begun. Smaller building companies are going to be the BIM victims, if they fail at adopting it. The April deadline has been looked upon as the biggest change industry has witnessed ever since CAD revolution in 1990. It goes without saying that when a well-paid contractor will be on floor, the architects are going to look for partners that are BIM-Efficient. Small firms will likely be overlooked against giant BIM-ready companies.

ECA has provided incredible guidelines to such small firms for sailing through BIM storm, for the obvious threats posing small firms as a question of survival:

In spite of all the hindrances, the government has confirmed £15m of investment for the delivery of BIM level 3, as the deadline passed a fortnight back on its BIM level 2 deadlines. UK seems to be leading the global race towards digitization, proudly leading it from the front. It will make BIM a required standard across its entire built environment thereby; generating incredible opportunities to reduce waste while increasing productivity and efficiency.

But this is UK’s tale of achievement. Who could be the next?

I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought it was USA. But it’s a big No. Netherland has the potential to adopt BIM in its public sector. The Dutch Building Information Council (BIR) has executed a program for implementing building information modeling (BIM) to the entire construction sector in the Netherlands. The aim of this is to take a step forward towards BIM technology while involving stakeholders within the project.

In this council, stakeholders of clients, constructors, engineers, architects, installation sector and supply chain are all represented with two members, each. This is even tested in real life building construction project. The currently ongoing largest road construction program in the Netherlands, Schiphol-Amsterdam-Almere (SAA), is completely BIM navigated. They have invested around 4 billion for the period of 2012-2020 to increase its efficiency of infrastructure projects.

Netherland is constantly engaging itself in adapting to the technology and saving itself from sulking recession the industry faced recently. It surely will make its way faster than USA probably.

However UK’s BIM mandate will always be the sung hero. It has quite well justified the use of BIM, beginning from architects to manufacturers. It has proved to be beyond just a target. This decision will enhance the building process in UK industry for decades to come.

Hiral Patel
About the Author: is a news editor and has been contributing to the AEC industry since last 7 years. She mainly writes about the application of BIM across Architecture, MEP and Structural sectors. Her focus is towards encouraging construction companies, sub-contractors and architects to adopt right technologies to improve efficiency and profitability.

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