Sizing up the benefits of BIM Level 2


BIM is championed as the key to leveraging whole-life value to construction projects but how can those benefits be measured? Terry Stocks, head of the UK BIM L2 Programme for the Centre for Digital Built Britain, takes an overview of the recently published BIM Benefits Methodology and Report

The Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) is a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge to deliver a smart digital economy for infrastructure and construction. Innovate UK commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to develop a BIM Level 2 Benefits Measurement Methodology (BMM) and Report to help government construction clients and asset owners assess and measure the benefits from the deployment of BIM L2 on capital projects and assets in operation. That report is now published on the CDBB website.

The Centre for Digital Built Britain

The BMM and Report sit within the wider CDBB programme that aims to transform the UK construction industry’s approach to the way we plan, build, maintain and use our social and economic infrastructure.

The programme sustains a strong focus on BIM L2 and CDBB is working to maintain the development and updating of the key standards to ensure the fundamental infrastructure of BIM Level 2 remains current, coordinated and that key stakeholders continue to have a managed forum in order for them to remain informed. The BIM L2 work stream, which I lead, supports the Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s (IPA) construction team in the delivery of the UK government’s Construction Strategy and new construction efficiency initiatives.

Evaluating the impact of BIM

The BMM and Report comprises four documents: Summary Guidance to BMM; Introductory note to BBM; Benefits Methodology; and Application Report. The BMM sets out a measurement rationale and model and is intended to help define potential BIM benefits from the project outset. The Application Report tests deployment of the BMM on projects that have used BIM in their delivery. While the value proposition afforded by a coordinated approach to a digitised UK built environment is clear, this report verifies lifecycle operational benefits are the bigger share.

Value proposition

The recently issued Independent Review of Building Regulations & Fire Safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt following the Grenfell Tower fire, makes recommendations on the future regulatory system, and states a digital approach to project planning, delivery, handover and operation is critical to ensuring the safety of the asset.

It supports a digital approach across the lifecycle, ensuring data is collected and updated to evidence the asset’s fire safety compliance. This approach has the added benefit of delivering increased quality and providing provenance of the materials used and the delivered project outcomes compared to original intent.

Reliable and validated data gives a better level of knowledge that supports better operational and portfolio asset level planning, better maintenance planning and therefore better outcomes overall, including reduced risk, improved risk management and evidence to demonstrate statutory compliance.

The BIM L2 programme has had central government as a champion for the past six years, which has made a significant difference to industry and client uptake. Key benefits have been delivered and the BMM brings a measurement methodology to more accurately evaluate and quantify benefits, and case studies that demonstrate where benefits are delivered.

The BMM framework

In short, the BMM looks at a number of benefit pathways and measures reflecting what needs to happen in the delivery of a project. It compares what the outcome would be without BIM and what the outcome is using the various BIM approaches and tools. The benefits framework that underpins BMM is organised by the eight stages of the asset lifecycle, from strategy to operation to end-of-life, and it captures all identified impacts.

The framework contains 117 unique ‘impact pathways’, which describe the impacts from application of different elements of BIM L2 at each lifecycle stage. Each pathway leads to an ‘end benefit’ that can be estimated using the BMM.

The report brings guidance on how to quantify and monetise each category of benefit and how to identify the supporting data required. The value of each benefit is estimated in monetary terms by applying relevant economic values to the estimated impact attributed to BIM L2.

Applying the BMM

The report applies the BMM to two examples of different public sector assets where BIM Level 2 was used – one is summarised above. The report was undertaken primarily to test the methodology developed to see whether it can be applied consistently to different asset classes, and through the application process identify challenges and lessons learned to inform next steps for benefits measurement across a wider range of public sector assets. The savings stated are therefore a subset of savings to test the model, but sufficient to test the BMM and prove the case that a BIM L2 approach to delivery and operation has significant benefits for the client, operators and delivery teams.

Next step

Our hope is that organisations and projects will use the BMM to measure the benefits of BIM across all their projects – and share results with us at CDBB via our website or by getting in touch directly. We can then, as an industry, start to build a level of understanding of where we can apply BIM to deliver maximum benefits for our own situation.

Case study: Benefits summary

Department of Health’s (DoH) office refurbishment of 39 Victoria Street, London. 

Working with the DoH and its supply chain partners, the BMM was applied to estimate the benefits realised (and expected to be realised over the lease period) from use of BIM Level 2 through design, build and commission, handover and close out, and through to operation, of its category B commercial office fit-out. This resulted in a PV total lifecycle benefit estimate of £676,907, which is equivalent to 3% savings in total (against the without BIM cost).

This is based on an appraisal period of c13 years Cost savings in asset maintenance was identified as the largest benefit item (nearly three-fifths of total benefits estimated). Operational benefits overall were measured as 73%, with build and commission savings measured at 21% and design stage savings of 6%. The full case study can be read at the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s website.


Terry Stocks

Head of BIM Level 2

Centre for Digital Built Britain

Twitter: @CambridgeCDBB


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