BIM4FitOut – Tools of trade


Mark Norton, Chair of BIM4FitOut and ISG’s Head of BIM for Fitout and Engineering Services describes the latest tools on offer to encourage and assist those embarking on BIM implementation

During 2014 and so far in 2015, we have seen a marked change in Building Information Modelling and its take up in the fit out marketplace. Client awareness of the benefits of using BIM have manifested themselves in detailed scopes (Employers Information Requirements or EIR’s) and this has duly been adopted by certain Tier 1 contractors.

BIM by its nature is built on collaboration, shared goals and shared responsibility; this should be born in mind with any undertaking. A team effort where you can be supported whatever your experience, is one of the cornerstones in the way we operate BIM4FitOut.

The BIM4Fitout aim is to share knowledge across its members and aid, assist, and promote supply chain engagement with its own BIM journey. We are currently developing and promoting three exciting tools for the supply chain – moving the BIM agenda forward.

The BIM Workbook

An important launch tool set to get supply chain engagement, increase awareness and capability is the BIM4FitOut workbook.

Its primary goal is a simple approach on developing a capability from scratch – to deliver a BIM project, explaining the terminology used, various acronyms and abbreviations, current guidelines, relevant British Standards, and practices within the industry. As well as being a ‘what document’ it is also a ‘how to document’ clearly taking a specialist contractor though the steps of delivering a BIM implementation plan.

Supply chain support is paramount and the workbook will deliver solutions and answers to common frequently asked questions in an easy to understand language and format. This source of information will then allow the reader to put together a roll-out plan or strategy for BIM implementation.

The workbook which has been supported by CITB will be available for all specialist contractors across construction.


BID4Free is an exciting initiative to give BIM ‘newbies’ a free to use web based platform to tender and bid for projects with a BIM content.

Dr Jozef Doboš from 3D Repo is developing a common principle web based software application that requires no specialist technology – a simple laptop will suffice. In addition, no specialist training is needed to use the software. It is an intuitive application, easily adopted by the user and productive – giving measurements, quantities and a viewer. The software will allow anyone to tender on a BIM project, on any machine or tablet in any browser, and importantly, it will be fully encrypted allowing for confidentiality.

Minimizing any financial outlay for this is a significant benefit as the software is free at point of use by specialist contractors. This will start to give an idea of what to expect from a model and how to operate it – aiding and enabling supply chain members to interrogate, assess, and price projects that they may well have been excluded from previously. 3D Repo have already tested the software with members of FIS and expect that by March 2016 it will be fully deployed.

It has been stated widely that if SMEs (in this case individual subcontractors) do not engage with BIM, they could well be left behind and lose a great deal of business. This software could be a saving grace for many in the industry.

BIM capability

BIM capability within the supply chain is an important area when assessing skill levels and competency. These can be awash with technical questions, process interrogation and a bewildering array of acronyms. We as a group are developing a Compliance Questionnaire to assist in this common form of assessment used by Tier 1 contractors. Our questionnaire will use a ‘plain language’ approach, reducing the potential for confusion and simplifying the ‘tech talk’ to an easy, more palatable level to the newcomer.

This will not only aid the supply chain member with what knowledge and technology may be required, but also give a solid idea of where they may be and what training is necessary to raise their profile to the next level.

This plain language capability questionnaire has relevance and importance with Tier 1 contractors – it allows them to assess during pre-qualification enquires and at tender stage.

BIM4FitOut was formed by FIS (the Finishes and Interiors Sector) to address the impact of BIM on the fit out and finishes sector. As a government’s BIM Task Group partner, the group aims to ensure that the sector supply chain is ready for this new way of working.


Chair of BIM4FitOut and ISG’s Head of BIM for Fitout and Engineering Services



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