A survey of construction professionals by NBS has raised the prospect of a two-way split between practices that adopt Building Information Modelling (BIM) and those that will be left behind, despite general acceptance that the use of the collaborative BIM approach is going to become widespread in the near future.
Presenting the survey results to CIBSE’s BIM: who benefits? conference, NBS’s Dr Stephen Hamil reported that while half of the industry is making preparations to adopt BIM on a majority of future projects, the rest has little awareness of what it is all about. At the same time, when presented with a range of scenarios, the majority view was that half of construction industry will be using BIM for the majority of projects within three years.
‘The survey shows a clear split in the industry,’ says Hamil.
BIM has been gathering momentum among champions of construction best practice for some time, with the government’s construction advisor Paul Morrell last week calling for BIM to become mandatory on central government projects with a value greater then £50m.
In the Innovation and Growth Team’s report to government on how the industry should meet the low carbon challenge, Morrell declared that BIM’s time had come and that it was the practice that had the greatest potential to transform the habits, and eventually the structure, of the industry.
He went on to call for a new industry forum to identify where BIM is appropriate (in terms of type or scale of project) and how barriers to wider take-up can be overcome, with the objective of establishing an industry protocol for future ways of working.
Definitions of BIM vary, but Hamil stresses that it should not be confused with 3D modelling or CAD. NBS describes BIM as a rich information model consisting of multiple data sources, some of which will be shared between all stakeholders, with the potential for information to be used throughout the life of a building, from inception to recycling.
‘The key here is rich information. This is more than geometric information from a CAD model. The information model might include contract and specification properties, personnel, programming, quantities, cost, spaces and geometry to achieve the real benefits a BIM has to offer. Software is the interface to a building information model, rich content is what populates it,’ explains Hamil, head of BIM at NBS.
From a procurement stance, Morrell sees BIM at the heart of integrated supply chains, with the potential to reduce or eliminate error, cut out waste and reduce transaction costs.
NBS is committed to promoting BIM and the debate on its future adoption and is actively researching the subject. Architects can access a video introduction to BIM at NBS| as well as Hamil’s presentation to the BIM: who benefits? conference|.
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