BIM for Landscape – building a digitised future


The BIM for Landscape guide aims to de-mystify the BIM process and provide practical advice to the industry to help them create a digitised future. Mike Shilton, Chair of the Landscape Institute’s BIM Working Group discusses its relevance

The built environment is increasingly becoming part of the digital world, BIM will only speed that process up by increasingly modelling all data relating to the design, cost and sustainability of a project, from design through construction to operations. The UK is emerging as a world leader in BIM, where the key objective is a 20% reduction in capital costs from the construction and operation of the built environment. BIM is heralding a new chapter in inter-disciplinary relationships, bringing the practice of simulation and prototyping for the first time into landscape architecture, saving money and leading to better informed designs.  BIM will help us move towards a construction industry that builds it right first time; improves its productivity and provides greater added value to the client and the landscape of the UK.

This is a key moment with the revolution of a digitised built environment and the Landscape Institute has published ‘BIM for Landscape’ to de-mystify the process and provide practical advice to the industry to help them create a digitised future.

The publication should help landscape architecture practices make an informed business decision as to whether they should adopt BIM or not. Many practices may seek a competitive edge by proactively implementing BIM but for others, they will need to review whether this is relevant to them. Hopefully, the book will help their decision making process.

The benefits of BIM are clear. It provides advantages throughout the supply chain, improves value and cost control, provides greater transparency, and improved co-operation with managers so that developments are fit for purpose, with effective maintenance designed into the project.


There is no set way of how practices should implement BIM and this will differ from project to project and from client to client. There are many different options so many practices will take differing views on BIM. Conversion to BIM enabled platforms from current practices may incur additional expenses and training depending on your starting point and what you wish to achieve, but if a competitor is delivering projects more efficiently, on time and to budget by implementing BIM processes, and clients’ are achieving the targeted 20% savings BIM can deliver, it may become more difficult for some to compete.

BIM can be implemented in the smallest of practices to the largest and some private clients, for instance, will have a different BIM implementation process to say a local authority. Whatever the needs of clients and their requirements, anyone can establish the desired targets and set out a clear implementation strategy to plan the process and measure its progress.

From a collection of technological tools relating to construction, BIM is now a process driven project management system with information and data at its heart. The built environment sector has not always been associated with innovation, but BIM will act as a stimulus for practices and the sector to re-consider their handling of digital information. BIM at its core is about improving how data is handled and about its fundamental change. On its own, change is a difficult process to manage. It needs an emphasis on an agreed approach, management of resources, strategy and objectives. Herald BIM!

The first of its kind, ‘BIM for Landscape’ highlights how BIM will bring about business change that will affect the running of practices through new clients, services and partnerships. It will bring technological changes in terms of the hardware and software as well as more streamlined processes and improved workflows.

The final change brought about will be in terms of team capability. People should be at the heart of any change and the way staff respond will be crucial. Successful changes require the positive engagement of all staff, at all levels in the entire process.

‘BIM for landscape’ is not intended to be the Holy Grail to deliver BIM, but will signpost the Key Pillars of BIM, and discuss what landscape practices need to consider to become BIM compliant. We hope it can prepare practitioners and landscape architecture practices to meet the challenges so they can ultimately benefit from the rewards of working within a BIM environment.

Overall it will be a helpful resource, not only for landscape practitioners but also for fellow professionals in related fields that are starting to understand the application of BIM to landscape work. It will be a harbinger of improved co-operation between the professions and will provide an invaluable early guide to elements of good practice.

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Mike Shilton

Chair, Landscape Institute BIM Working Group

Landscape Institute

Tel: 0207 685 2640

Twitter @talklandscape

BIM for Landscape are formally launching the BIM for Landscape book on 30 June from 09:30 to 13:00 at The City Centre in London, with a short seminar. Details of the event and registration details are available here.


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