The road to BIM in Scotland


In an interview with Andy Anderson, Project Manager at Transport Scotland, he shares his views on BIM benefits, challenges, and his expectations for the future of BIM…

Throughout the industry, many have been occupied with gradually implementing BIM to achieve Level 2 deadlines. While England will reach this deadline in April 2016, the Scottish deadline remains April 2017, spurring challenge analysis, benefit assessment, and future predictions for the future of BIM in the United Kingdom.

Andy Anderson, Project Manager at Transport Scotland shares his thoughts with PBC Today.

Do you think BIM is beneficial to a project’s completion? Why or why not?

Yes I think BIM is beneficial to project completion. As a client project manager for the design of major road schemes I have found the 3D visualisation to be very helpful, particularly for consultation with stakeholders and getting their support. It means stakeholders have a better understanding of our proposals from the outset and are able to identify potential issues early on and hopefully they’re less inclined to object when orders are published, and we can avoid the need for a lengthy and costly Public Local Inquiry.

As the design progresses and we have a better understanding and knowledge of the underlying ground conditions, environmental constraint and utilities, it is a useful tool to detect and visualise potential conflicts and design these out before they become a problem on site.

It is also something that can be used through the construction phase to be able to get an appreciation of the construction processes and how plant and people are likely to interact on site – particularly useful in terms of health and safety where sites are constrained and work is being done next to live traffic. Also, things change on site and BIM offers a convenient and effective way to record as-built information.

There are quality control benefits associated with the BIM Common Data Environment and feedback from our consulting engineers has been positive in terms of document control and ensuring that the different design team disciplines are working from the latest approved version of the design.

As a project manager – what are the potential challenges for the incorporation of BIM for Scottish based projects?

There will be some initial start-up costs associated with BIM in order to define what we’re trying to achieve, as well as software and training costs, and this could be an issue for smaller schemes with tight margins that may make it difficult to justify additional expenditure.

Although it’s not my experience, I could imagine there might be resistance to change whether it be designers, contractors or those responsible for the maintenance at the end of the day, so there will be a need to ensure that the level of BIM we’re providing is proportionate and realistic for each project.

There are existing asset management systems, and it is not entirely clear how BIM will integrate with these systems or how these systems will need to change in order to receive this information in a compatible format, so there’s still a lot of work to be done on this.

What do you foresee as the future of BIM? Is it a passing trend, or a new standard tool?

I think it’s here to stay – there is government commitment to introduce it, and in my opinion it represents best practice. I think it will become the routine way of progressing a project in the future. It’s all about how we can better communicate information and this seems to me to be the way forward.

Andy Anderson was one of five scheduled speakers at the ACE Scotland Group event on 24 February entitled ‘Organisational Engagement and BIM: Practical and Legal Challenges’.

Sponsored by Brodies LLP this Glasgow event featured a variety of perspectives on BIM implementation in Scotland. For more information on ACE BIM activities, please visit

Andy Anderson

Project Manager

Transport Scotland

Tel: 0141 2727 100


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