Here, Alex Small, BIM and Digital Platforms Manager at Tata Steel, explores the discussions from the company’s recent Talk BIM webinar, including why attendees felt a lack of direction is preventing the effective delivery of BIM
The journey for manufacturers delivering their BIM content for the industry could be described as long and winding, with various pathways attempting to reach a single destination.
However, given the numerous options available to manufacturers, such as where to host their objects, what formats to produce them in and whether to provide an object or just data – as well as a multitude of other factors – a simple and effective route to successfully deliver BIM is yet to be discovered.
Furthermore, 98% of building product manufacturers fall within the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) category – with over 17,000 employing fewer than 10 people. Facing an ever-changing landscape affected by evolving legislation, initiatives, global finances and trends, SMEs have limited flexibility and funds to invest in the latest practices and technologies.
Taking all of these factors into account, Tata Steel hosted an online panel discussion. Exploring the route to and future of BIM, the webinar brought to light the challenges encountered throughout the supply chain.
Featuring a panel of highly regarded industry representatives from organisations such as the Digital Built Environment at the University of Liverpool, the Construction Products Association and BIM4M2, the webinar allowed stakeholders and attendees to share their experiences and views of BIM.
The event was attended by nearly 100 professionals, including BIM managers, technical consultants, architects and structural engineers.
Providing insight into delivering BIM in locations such as Europe, Japan, South Africa and Australia, the live poll session produced honest and interesting results.
For example, when considering the main issue for the construction supply chain in delivering BIM Level 2, more than 65% of respondents voted that it was a ‘lack of clear client requirements’.
Strongly agreeing with the results, Martin Simpson, Director at the Centre for the Digital Built Environment, suggested that this is because the industry is geared up to deliver physical assets, not digital information.
Exploring the challenge, the panel acknowledged that this often results in either too much or not enough BIM data being provided. This then cascades throughout the supply chain and creates further issues when too much or too little information reaches the contractors and operators.
Supporting the results of the first poll and further highlighting a lack of direction, the second question found that 62% of attendees felt they ‘don’t know what to deliver’ when considering the biggest hurdle facing manufacturers in delivering BIM Level 2 data.
Directly linked to the number of formats, as well as the level of data and information that can be supplied, not knowing what to deliver and confusion surrounding the requirements of BIM data are seen as a key barrier yet to be overcome.
Providing a sound starting point, Paul Surin, Head of Built Environment at Weinerberger, suggested that manufacturers should look to internally digitialise and structure data. Before embarking on a BIM journey, Steve Thompson, Associate Director and Head of Digital Manufacturing at PCSG, advised companies to consider the long-term use and value of data to their business. He highlighted that this would help guide and shape a pathway.
Splitting the audience vote, the final question – ‘What is the main contributory factor to the complexity of BIM?’ – found that 38% believed it is a ‘lack of guidance’, while 38% voted for ‘too many platforms/options’.
Offering a solution, Steve Thompson suggested that the introduction of PAS 1192 Part 7 would help create a more consistent BIM language that would simplify the structure of data and associated content delivery.
Furthermore, on a European and global level, LEXiCON will aid the delivery of BIM across continents. Mapping parameters, LEXiCON is aligned with buildingSMART Data Dictionary (bsDD) and other, similar initiatives across the world such as PPBIM in France. This will allow product data registered on the web-based tool to be easily exchangeable and translatable (mapped) across the continent – a significant benefit for large multinational organisations and architects working on projects in a number of countries.
Bringing together construction professionals, the Talk BIM webinar has provided a detailed and honest view into the challenges of delivering effective digital working methods on a global scale. By continuing to engage with stakeholders throughout the supply chain, Tata Steel aims to highlight ongoing challenges while providing a forum for positive and creative discussion, to help those starting out and continuing on their BIM journey.
To watch the talk BIM webinar in full, please visit: https://www.tatasteelconstruction.com/en_GB/services-and-downloads/bim/Tata-Steel-now-have-BIM-objects-available-for-their-construction-products
BIM & Digital Platforms Manager
Tel: +44 (0)1536 404200
Please note: this is a commercial profile.