Model behavior or behind the curve?

A survey is now underway aimed at assessing how ready the industry is for next year’s implementation by the government on all of its projects of Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2.
The Government plans to insist on the use of collaborative 3D BIM on its projects by spring 2016. The purpose of BIM, for those still unaware (and therefore most in need of completing the survey) is to facilitate innovation and benefits throughout the building project life-cycle by a sharing of information across the disciplines who come together to build and operate a building.


For proprietary’s sake, here’s how the survey itself is describing BIM, given the current argument as to what it is exactly.

“The process of working with digital building information, including data-rich objects, which is effectively shared between those who are building and/or maintaining the building and its services.”


An outsider to the construction industry could arguably easily understand and approve of such a definition. It sounds a simple way of making sure everyone responsible for making a building ‘happen’ talks to each other using a sophisticated method.


But within the industry, there are many voices alarmed that we are nowhere near ready for BIM Level 2 – perhaps something this survey will confirm.


One expert, Steve Hunt of building services engineering consultancy Steven Hunt & Associates told Modern Building Services earlier this month: “The astounding thing is that no-one is ready, including the public-sector clients putting projects out for tender for delivery in BIM…The construction sector is now hurtling towards the inevitable with the kind of panic you’d expect from a high-school student cramming for an exam. For those of us in the building-services sector that have been studiously getting their ducks lined up for some time, it’s an extremely frustrating state of affairs.”


He goes on to explain that even if some in the building services sector are ready, other partners in the supply chain are not, and that will put a roadblock up to BIM being able to be used effectively.


The questionnaire, which has been compiled jointly by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), supported by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) alongside building services and engineering consultancy BSRIA, seems to have come at a good time, then.


From it, we should gain a better idea of the areas the industry needs to get up to speed on in BIM before next spring, and with any luck, we will start to see projects going up in a far smoother way as a result.