The Centre for Digital Built Britain, as a partner in the Construction Innovation Hub, has launched a new BIM Interoperability programme to improve data sharing in the construction and infrastructure sectors. Fiona Moore, chair of the BIM Interoperability Expert Group (BIEG), shares the group’s progress to date, and how they will be working in partnership with industry to co-develop solutions
Many in the construction industry will be familiar with Building Information Modelling (BIM). It is a process that describes the ability to author, exchange, assure and subsequently use and reuse trusted information (data) to the benefit of all those involved in an asset’s lifecycle, from inception through to the asset’s disposal or reuse. Over the past decade, the UK has taken a leadership role in the development of standards for BIM, and in adopting the process within public and private organisations.
Our recent consultation and BIEG Report has shown there is further work needed to address interoperability to achieve whole-life benefits of BIM implementation. Interoperability is the ability of two or more systems to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged. Interoperability across the lifecycle of an asset is essential to support the support the whole life “golden thread” of asset information, as called for in the Hackitt Review.
Addressing interoperability in BIM
As part of Construction Innovation Hub, we are scoping a programme of work to address the recommendations and enablers identified the BIEG Report. Our initial focus will be on practical BIM implementation and the interoperability challenges faced by those who design, build and operate built assets, the benefits that BIM interoperability will deliver and how improvement can aid construction sector resilience and recovery in light of Covid-19. Although there are longer-term benefits to improving BIM interoperability, not least of which is how it prepares industry by providing the foundations for the National Digital Twin, our immediate focus is on the here and now, by addressing immediate practical challenges.
Five initial workstreams have been identified from the enablers contained in the BIEG Report, as follows:
Workstream 1: Classification Schema Alignment.
Workstream 2: IFC & COBie.
Workstream 3: Education and Skills.
Workstream 4: Standards.
Workstream 5: AIM CDE.
In early autumn, we will be announcing our industry partners and workstream leaders. We’re extremely keen to engage with the construction sector on our programme of work, to ensure as open and inclusive a process as possible, so that it benefits the majority.
Working in partnership with government
The BIEG Report also addresses the need for government leadership and promotion to help improve BIM interoperability in the UK. Government has responded by making a clear commitment to address the technical issues associated with BIM Interoperability and by acknowledging that its position on BIM must evolve to better reflect current technology, standards and process development.
The BIM Interoperability Steering Group (BISG) has been set up to provide clear reporting lines in to government. The BISG consists of representatives of the Infrastructure & Projects Authority, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Environment Agency, Transport for London and the Construction Leadership Council, and has overseen the development of the BIEG and Interoperability programme since its inception.
To be kept informed of developments within the BIEG Steering Group, or to express your interest to be involved, connect with us at: http://www.cdbb.cam.ac.uk/Contact.
Fiona Moore is an information management consultant to CDBB. She is chair of the Public Sector ISO Transition Working Group (PSITWG) and BIEG chair.
Chair, BIM Interoperability Expert Group
Centre for Digital Built Britain