BIM: Better information management

Stephanie Bentley

Prop Tech Product Executive, Data and Information Products Group (RICS)

With questions still being asked around whether Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2 is necessary for businesses success, it’s clear that there is still some way to go before there is sufficient understanding of how BIM will help businesses achieve digital transformation. This was the view of Director of BIM Strategy and Development at Atkins and Chair of the UK BIM Alliance Anne Kemp at our recent BIM Conference.

BIM 3D

Thought leaders in this area explored some of the challenges around the adoption of BIM and suggest some ways of overcoming them.

The need to engage

The integration of BIM, CAD and GIS technologies offers huge benefits to the industry as a whole. Staff, workflows, software and standards can all be aligned to save both time and money.

The right data being available to the right people at the right time enables the right decisions to be made.

However, the industry is still in a period of transition and is only just beginning to understand the rewards that come for all businesses, large and small, when adopting an integrated approach.

Just some benefits include:

  • Improvements in productivity and avoidance of work duplication
  • An enabler for effective co-ordination and communication of projects
  • Establishing time, cost, quality and function-control benchmarks before construction begins
  • Monitoring and reporting on project progress more effectively
  • Improved safety and project delivery

There are ample case studies in which the benefits can be shown for everyone involved in a project, from architects to project managers, and clients to designers. For example, a lot can be learned from the experiences of those involved with Crossrail.

The key is to engage with both traditional professionals, in order to harness their expertise, as well as with the next generation to entice a wider, more diverse audience to learn with real projects and practical workshops about the numerous applications of BIM.

Moving from analogue to digital

Cyber security, privacy and safety as individuals, organisations and society at large are all issues that need to be addressed before we can truly embrace the benefits of BIM.

There is a tendency within the industry to want to race to BIM Level 3, but panellists urged professionals to adopt BIM Level 2 and carefully consider the basics before racing ahead.

How can we address these issues?

1. Engage school leavers

Managing Director and Founder of Class of Your Own Alison Watson suggested that there is currently a gap between school leavers and moving into the industry itself. Resolving this issue is not just about improving the image of the industry; rather policy makers need to play a bigger role in order to avoid losing capable, bright young people to other industries.

2. Engage institutes

Institutes need to collaborate and focus on engaging a wider audience in order to achieve the target of BIM Level 2 as business as usual by 2020. Developing resources to upskill existing professionals and influence education and policy makers should be a key priority for all institutes working in this area.

3. More practical, less theory

Finally, a greater understanding around why clients want BIM and what they want to get out of it is needed; at the moment, talk around BIM is focused on the theory. We need to start pushing out the practical side of what can be gained from the process.

What next?

There has, up to this point, been a mixed reaction to BIM, with some preconceptions around the cost of implementing it and associated training costs. However, all speakers agreed upon the fact that professionals need to engage with BIM in order to stay at the forefront of innovation and obtain the numerous benefits that it can bring to the profession at large.

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