The government is a driving force behind BIM

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A new survey has revealed the government is a major driving force behind the adoption of Building Information Modelling

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has continued to grow over the last few years, and is seen as a way of reducing costs, time, and carbon emissions during the construction process. While BIM adoption continues to expand globally, the UK has positioned itself as a major player in the field.

The NBS National BIM Survey, which is in its fifth year, tracks attitudes towards BIM, as well as monitoring the uptake of it within the industry.

This year the survey found more than 80 per cent of respondents believe BIM will become compulsory in some form on public sector projects. A total of 70 per cent thought the government would mandate BIM, as specified in the construction strategy document. This includes the development of 3D collaborative BIM or Level 2.

Interestingly, the survey also revealed the majority of respondents believe the government and its UK BIM Task Group are “on the right track” with BIM. However, only a quarter thought the UK was taking the reins as a world leader, while 45 per cent remained ambivalent.

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The survey certainly offers an good insight into the way the industry views BIM. The majority of those questioned said they thought BIM would help to reduce both costs and time, while 41 per cent saw it as an aid in the reduction of carbon emissions.

Head of BIM for the UK BIM Task Group David Philp said: “The survey results are hugely encouraging for all of us at the UK BIM Task Group.

“It’s immensely heartening to know that a majority of the industry feels that the Government is on the right track with BIM.

“A digitised and integrated built environment is the future of our industry and increasing numbers of people are recognising this.

“We must continue to make it clear that BIM, and associated technologies that enable and support collaborative working, are of benefit to everyone, not just to central Government.

“We’re very optimistic that the industry itself is in a great position to carry BIM forward towards a Digital Built Britain.”

However, despite the obvious pros of BIM the survey reported a slight decline in the number of respondents who had adopted it. The figure fell from 54 to 48 per cent.

The reasons behind the drop in figures could be due to adoption following the standard lifecycle, meaning the early adopters are waiting for the late majority to take up BIM.

Costs, a lack of expertise, and training issues could also be a barrier to adoption. Many respondents said there was no time to get up to speed with the system, particularly as the economy recovered and workloads increased.

Furthermore, around 63 per cent of participants said they had not adopted BIM because their clients had showed a lack of interest, and 43 per cent said the projects they undertook were too small to utilise BIM.

However, the case remains that those who utilised BIM saw positive results. A total of 59 per cent who adopted BIM said they saw cost efficiencies. Around 56 per cent saw an improvement in client outcomes, while 51 per cent saw an increase in the speed of delivery. Furthermore, 48 per cent of respondents experienced an increase in profitability.

Commenting on this year’s survey Adrian Malleson, head of research, analysis and forecasting at NBS, said: “This has been one of the more interesting sets of findings of our National BIM survey.

“Previously we have seen year on year growth in adoption, but this year, shortly before the Government mandate comes into force, we see a pause in BIM adoption.

“There remains a significant number of practices that do not see the advantages of BIM and chose not to adopt and others that are currently unable to adopt BIM, because of time, cost, or expertise.

“However, the direction of travel remains clear – BIM will increasingly become the norm for the design and maintenance of buildings, and its widespread use is central to achieving the Government’s construction strategy.

“There is more going on here than an adoption of a particular set of technologies, standards and working practices to support an improved process for construction.

“Data collection, aggregation, and interrogation, through collaborative working, is driving fundamental changes in how people work, across all sectors.

“It allows rapid learning, and increasingly sophisticated ways to form, test, and act upon evidence based hypothesis.

“The construction industry is no exception to this. Younger generations are attuned to this, and perhaps it is they who will see the BIM reach its full potential.”

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