Digital Union sponsor NBS on BIM: what you need to know


Richard Waterhouse, CEO of the NBS discusses the benefits and the reach for businesses in the North in their use of Building Information Modelling (BIM)

So what is BIM and what are the benefits?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a way of working; managing information in a team environment and enabling everyone to understand a building through the use of digital models. These digital models provide access to all of the information needed to design, construct and maintain the building.

The catalyst for the rise of Building Information Modelling has been the Government’s April 2016 mandate, requiring the use of collaborative BIM on all centrally-procured projects. Through this mandate, the Government has demonstrated the benefits of BIM; not least the return on investment it delivers, lowering the cost and time taken to design, build and operate a building. In addition, as there is improved access to up-to-date construction knowledge, this allows decisions to be made that lower the environmental impact of the project. It’s no surprise that those organisations who invested early in BIM are now seeing a commercial benefit within the markets that they operate in.

How does NBS fit into BIM?

The key to NBS products is to provide a platform where architects, engineers, surveyors and other construction professionals can share accurate information collaboratively.

The NBS has developed an integrated BIM platform that has been designed to support global design and construction, combining world-leading technology with expert knowledge. This platform is used to help construction professionals make the best project decisions.

Initiatives such as the NBS BIM Object Standard and the NBS National BIM Library have provided construction professionals with the tools required to produce standardised, coordinated, information sets on projects.

What shape is the UK in when compared to the rest of the world?

The way that the challenge of the BIM mandate has been met by practices, professionals, institutes, information providers and standards bodies coming together to form a vibrant, collaborative BIM community is what sets the UK apart from the rest of the world.

Other countries have focussed on BIM as a technology; the UK Government mandating a process as defined by a set of standards focussed on the delivery of well-structured digital data is what gives us our position of leadership.

What emerging technologies are the ones to watch?

For the last seven years, we have run an annual BIM survey across a broad spectrum of the industry and this is one of the questions we ask.

It’s fair to say that the Internet of Things, cloud computing power and machine learning are talked about the most. We’re not just transitioning from a world in which we exchange information in a structured digital format; we are now capturing information about how our built environment is operating via the cloud.

The quantity of this captured data is growing exponentially so developing methods to analyse this digitally and feed this knowledge back into the next cycle of design to continue to improve the built environment we live in and experience is how we see the future developing.

To find out more about NBS visit and to download the latest BIM report visit


Richard Waterhouse

CEO of the NBS

Twitter: @theNBS


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