The 2014 BIM message

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As we enter another busy year for BIM processes, PBC Today outlines some of the key messages from 2014 by David Philp.

2014 was undoubtedly a busy year for the UK BIM Task Group, and with the 2016 deadline looming for all centrally procured projects to use Level 2 BIM, 2015 will witness ever-more enthusiasm and vigour in the implementation of this game-changing digital process.

PBC Today, as all regular readers will recognise, has been covering the BIM topic all throughout 2014, with 2015 being no exception as can be seen by the extensive coverage in this edition alone. Our BIM experts have been key in delivering important messages to industry about the latest developments and where more effort needs to be directed. I imagine that even our ‘experts’ are still learning a few new things about BIM as we progress on this digital journey, and that is where communication is vital. It’s so important that we talk to each other so that we can all learn and become in the least more knowledgeable, and hopefully at best, create more experts to guide us through potential barriers to BIM implementation.

David Philp, BIM philosopher, Head of BIM Implementation for the Cabinet Office, and key figure at the UK BIM Task Group (and a must-follow on Twitter by the way: @thephilpster) is instrumental in delivering the BIM message. I’m certain that most of our readers will have either read his articles here, or heard him speak at the many BIM conferences he attends, and left feeling better informed.

In April last year, Philp began by telling PBC Today readers that although challenges remain in achieving Level 2 BIM, the benefits are well worth the effort. He mentioned that the Level 2 BIM challenges were “diminishing all the time, and the heavy lifting around the processes have been completed by B.S.I. who published both PAS1192:2 and PAS1192:3, which look at information management and exchanges in the asset lifecycle. To make these work, it is essential that a common data environment is established right from the outset with strong governance, especially around classification systems and naming conventions.”

In July, Philp then turned his attention to the importance of SME engagement in BIM, outlining their vital role in maintaining the UK as a BIM leader. Given that in 2013, there were 4.9 million businesses in the UK, with over 99% categorized as small or medium sized businesses (SMEs), it is not surprising they are seen as the backbone of our sector. Their importance has to mean they have “sufficient digital capacity and capability to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of BIM leadership across the globe” Philp said.

He continued by highlighting that: “they have to compete on a new basis with fierce international competition for the provision of skills and products and ever tight project affordability constraints. It is self-evident, therefore, that to flourish with the backdrop of these challenges that they must reform and unlock more efficient ways of working.”

In October the huge issue of collaboration was raised. It is purported that BIM can aid collaborative working, and that collaboration is a key element in the successful delivery and execution of a project programme. In addition, it can act as a lever to help break down silos and successfully share information across teams.

In Philp’s opinion: “the main pedal to ensure successful collaboration in a BIM environment is a clear ‘purpose’. High-performing teams are driven by a well-defined purpose (do not confuse this with a vision statement) and if BIM (Level 2) is good at anything it is; a) lots of new acronyms, but also b) defining clear information requirements at all stages of the asset life-cycle.

“Defined information requirements, defined processes (PAS1192-2 and 3) for information delivery and agreed data exchange standards (BS1192-4 COBie) create a strong foundation for collaboration, and when properly worked through with the entire project team, help create unifying goals. The wise client would also do well to additionally invest in BS 11000 Collaborative Business Relationships which defines roles and responsibilities and supports collaborative decision-making.”

Collaboration also needs to extend beyond delivery with the requirement for ‘Soft landings’ and the requisite for an operational champion to be involved throughout the plan of work for that project – starting with the end in mind and using the model as a basis to visualise and test the lifecycle solution at preconstruction stage. This is a great win in an industry where there is normally a large chasm between the delivery and operational lifecycles.

Philp also said that: “Forms of procurement should also be considered as a lever to encourage collaboration. The Government Construction Strategy trialled the use of procurement routes which sought early contractor engagement. The value of this timely appointment should not be underestimated, however, it is essential that this same strategy be considered in the early engagement of specialist contractors and manufacturers who are key to a joined up data hierarchy. This is as much a cultural change as it is a process change.”

Philp is keen for everyone to understand that we shouldn’t get “bogged down in a technical discussion when BIM is a behavioural change programme more than anything else”, a sentiment often echoed by other contributors to PBC Today.

So what can we expect to see in 2015 except for the final pieces to the BIM Level 2 jigsaw being realised? Well, we certainly should see the release soon of “PAS 1192-5: Specification for security-minded building information management, digital built environments and smart asset management”, which should outline the security threats to the use of information during asset conception, procurement, design, construction, operation, and disposal. This should help with security issues raised in Level 2 BIM projects after feedback from early adopters and BIM pilot projects. ■

PBC Today

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