BIM advocate and consultant Tim Platts offers advice on a suitable procurement strategy and supply chain engagement plan for a successful BIM project


Consider BIM and the world of construction. What a great opportunity to modernise our industry, improve and streamline our processes and build on the great work done by our colleagues on such great schemes as noted elsewhere in BIM Today news and also BIM+.

What a lost opportunity it is not to have examined, updated and rethought our procurement and supply chain management approach, however. Of course, we do have the CIC BIM Protocols (revision imminent) and lots of discussion about ‘the need to ensure each party knows what is required of them’, but when the test is made, how many of us have seen a contract properly executed with the protocol having been fully completed? Well if you have you’re fortunate, but even then, how is this carried into the project and implemented in the spirit of what was intended?

In addition, we have seen a proliferation of new roles having been created – often quite misleading and confusing, and now the spirited certification and accreditation debate takes us into another territory concerning the real value and benefit of BIM.

We are all capable of making glib comments such as ‘start with the end in mind’ – which is of course true. But it means some really tough and challenging work at those early stages of a project when there is much else going on and often little time in which to do it (including preparing and pricing the tender!). This is where we have to think smart to achieve and be able to secure the project’s main goals and objectives, again often very challenging when many projects are driven by tight timescales and budgets. Nonetheless, there is no avoiding the ‘devil in the detail’ and to ignore this is to jeopardise those objectives. Of course, project outcomes need to be set and communicated by the client, but then demonstrated and evidenced in a suitable procurement strategy approach and supply chain engagement plan. Is this too idealistic? Too impossible?

Road to success

It is in this last area where key steps in the process can be often overlooked, and the following is offered as a practical approach to guarantee your projects’ success:

·         PAS1192.2 compliance – It is early days, and while you may be able to convince someone you have an idea of what you’re talking about, supported by some documentation (often blank templates), it doesn’t mean you or the business can actually do it, does it? But understanding the process is of course good. Next is the widespread adoption and implementation across your business, developing the skills needed not only by your BIM team but across all the disciplines, hence building capability, capacity and therefore resilience.

·         Your supply chain – Who are they, how do you manage them, how are they selected and how well prepared are they? The propensity in our industry is to pass on the risk and responsibility down the chain to probably the least informed and capable. If we want to succeed let’s put some assurance around their engagement.

·         Regular communication and briefing – Let’s avoid waving the BIM wand around and then hoping for the best. Rigour and clarity is required.

·         Ensure that sound and robust information is prepared, starting with something approaching an informed* Employer Information Requirements.

(*informed by an asset plan. OK, then – Asset Information Requirements (AIR) and Organisational Information Requirements (OIR). And, let’s not get hung up on protocol here – think about ‘does it do what it says on the tin?’)

·         Use this information for Prequalification, Selection and Tendering of your supply chain.

·         Approach the supply chain (Tier 1, 2, 3 if you must) on the basis of them being information providers and data transactors.

·         Test their organisational capabilities, organisational infrastructure and experience in creating, sharing and collaborating around or with models.

·         If you are asking your supply chain for prequalification information (normally in the shape of questionnaires), then have your evaluation criteria in mind. If they are going to put in effort providing you with a qualitative answer, then have a qualitative assessment of that response. A questionnaire in itself provides nothing; an assessment and evaluation of its content by a suitably qualified person will reveal a great deal, and certainly identify any gaps which may jeopardise those all important outcomes.

·         Have a look at the BIM Compass on Scottish Futures Trust website; this is a great tool.

I’ll explore the subject further in future issues of BIM Today and on the PBC Today website. ■

supply chain engagement by Tim Platts

Tim Platts is a BIM advocate and consultant in BIM implementation and adoption, focusing on supply chain engagement methods and approaches having worked on commissions in the UK, Europe and the Middle East – articulating BIM maturity and capability measures to £multi-million clients.

Tim is one of the course tutors for Stroma Certification’s BIM Foundations training course, a one-day programme on the practical application of BIM in the construction industry. Course dates are available throughout 2017 at only £395+VAT per delegate. Apply via

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Tim Platts

BIM advocate and consultant


Tel: 0845 621 11 11

Twitter @StromaGroup


  1. You have hit the nail on the head, Tim. Generating project and product specific information based on hollow geometry are where a lot of the issues occur. How is a draftsperson or even a contract administrator able to ascertain the buildability or feasibility of a project? These people are the creator of the geometry. Associating “Information” to geometry and or manually listing it in a template and then associating this info to the drawing is a recipe for error due to disconnect.
    This brings me to Integrated project delivery (IPD). Yes it helps as the engineer and installers can get involved yet this will take more time as the software the designer is using is often too expensive and time-consuming to learn, essentially the information collated in the IPD session is now disconnected from the BIM and must be input by someone who may not understand the content.
    Will there be perfect BIM? Nope, but there can be better BIM software that is inclusive, intuitive and cost efficient for all involved.
    It frustrates me that builders, contract administrators and estimators did not get a solid look-in when the major BIM software providers decided to develop a BIM package. It frustrated me so much that i decided to do it myself Arggghhhh all I wanted to do was build. Regardless I continue. PlusSpec is the name, look at it if you believe there could be a better solution and join me in the effort to make BIM what it has the potential to be.