BSRIA warns BIM readiness for 2016 is essential

BSRIA is concerned by the fact that three quarters of surveyors believe non-adoption of BIM could seriously hinder the UK construction sector over the next year, according to research published by the RICS.

The RICS survey also finds that although a large majority of surveying firms have considered the business case for BIM adoption (74 per cent), there is still a large proportion of firms (49 per cent) not using BIM in the day-to-day aspects of their work.

Of those not currently using BIM within their organisation, 68 per cent of respondents said that “they don’t think there is enough information available for small companies in order to aid them with adoption”.

In addition, 31 per cent of surveyors claim that there is not a need to use the technology in their organisation, while over a quarter (26 per cent) stated that they don’t feel their firm has the technical skills in place to implement the technology.

BSRIA’s Principal Consultant and BIM specialist, John Sands, said: “This research is very alarming news with only a few months to go before BIM must be adopted in January 2016. Businesses have had long enough to make the necessary arrangements. In August, BSRIA circulated a sector-wide survey about the adoption of ‘BIM Level 2’, noting the government requirement for BIM Level 2 engagement with centrally procured contracts during 2016. The building services industry should be in a position to make the most of the opportunities it will present.”

John added: “Non-adoption is likely to have a negative impact on the industry as a whole. It’s clear from the research that the industry needs to be doing more to help such surveying firms – as well as the wider industry – in getting up to speed with the technology, particularly when it comes to how they can implement the technology across their organisation.”

Government is committed to using BIM to improve its management and operation of buildings and infrastructure. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing services are all critical to the effective operation of buildings.

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Is BIM Level 2 achievable by 2016?

The UK government has mandated that all centrally-funded work is to be undertaken using BIM by 2016. The deadline is now less than a year away, and those organisations that haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon are feeling the pressure. In this week’s blog we will look into how achievable BIM Level 2 by 2016 is.

Recent research conducted by UK Construction Week in partnership with BRE, which questioned more than 1,200 architects, contractors, developers, engineers and product manufacturers about their experiences of BIM, revealed a number of uncertainties throughout the industry. The study suggested that three quarters of construction professionals do not believe the industry is ready to meet mandatory BIM Level 2 requirements by 2016, and that a further 62 per cent of respondents replied that they do not understand what is needed in order to meet the requirements of BIM Level 2. The results also uncovered a tension between the expectations of the specification community and the perceived demand for BIM-compliant products by manufacturers and suppliers.

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Another study, conducted by CONJECT, highlights the significant leaps forward needed to attain BIM Level 2 compliance by 2016. The survey sample consisted of 813 respondents with 70% from the CONJECT database and 30% from third party sources. Whilst 85% were from the supply chain, the asset owner functions were also represented in the research.

The need for training was consistently highlighted throughout the results of the survey, and from those who answered, some felt that BIM was something imposed on them, holding limited benefits but costing time and money. The research suggests there is still a considerable way to go before the industry can say it is BIM ready. Although main contractors and to a some degree subcontractors and consultants appear enthusiastic to improve their BIM capabilities, there is still a view that BIM is optional, or that it only applies to those who work in the public sector or on larger jobs.

However, overall acceptance and adoption of BIM does appear to be on the increase, with 85 per cent of respondents for the UK Construction Week study claim that its introduction is a positive development for the industry. Only 16 per cent of the sample have never used BIM and have no plans to do so, while the remainder are already active or are preparing to embark on BIM projects in the near future.

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We hold a more optimistic view, and believe now is the optimum time for product manufacturers to start their BIM journey (if they haven’t already) as the optional tools to support manufacturers’ BIM adoption will be launched at their event on 28th July. They also state there is increasing clarity on what is required from product manufacturers, making it easier to provide the right information at the right time, to the right people.

It seems that there is still a long way for the requirements of the 2016 BIM mandate to be met, even though the industry is moving towards this goal. There is a lot of help available for those struggling to implement the required level, however it also seems that education on the requirement and its optionality is required. The important thing to remember is that no-one is alone.

What do you think? Will the UK industry meet the requirements of the 2016 BIM mandate?

BIM Levels Explained

Those who have, or are looking to embrace BIM as part of their processes, know that BIM is essentially value creating collaboration through the entire life-cycle of an asset, underpinned by the creation, collation and exchange of shared 3D models and intelligent, structured data attached to them.

But with all this talk about BIM levels, it can get pretty confusing for those not yet familiar with the environment. Some ask; is all BIM not the same? The short answer is: No. BIM has different levels (often described as ‘maturity levels’) of file based collaboration and library management, not to mention the CAD capabilities. In this blog we aim to explain the different levels of BIM without clogging it with jargon.

BIM levels explained

Level 0

The majority of the industry is already well ahead of this now. This, the simplest form of BIM, is an unmanaged CAD including 2D drawings, and text with paper-based or electronic exchange of information but without common standards and processes. Essentially this is a digital drawing board without the option to collaborate with other users.

Level 1

This version of BIM is a managed CAD, with the increasing introduction of spatial coordination, standardised structures and formats as it moves towards Level 2 BIM. Typically BIM Level 1 comprises a mixture of 3D CAD for concept work, and 2D for statutory approval documentation and production information. This may include 2D information and 3D information such as visualisations or concept development models. However, in Level 1, models are not shared between project team members.

Level 2

This is the level the Government is expecting the industry meet by 2016. This is distinguished by collaborative working – all parties use their own 3D CAD models, but are not necessarily working on a single, shared model. The collaboration comes in the form of how the information is exchanged between different parties. Design information is shared through a common file format, which enables any organisation to be able to combine the used data with their own in order to make a federated BIM model, and to carry out interrogative checks on it. Level 2 BIM is a managed 3D environment with data attached, but created in separate discipline-based models. Even though the separate models are assembled to form a federated model, but do not lose their identity or integrity. Data may include construction sequencing (4D) and cost (5D) information.

Level 3

The next level of BIM, not yet upon us, often described as the “Holy Grail” of BIM. Level 3 represents full collaboration between all disciplines by means of using a single, shared project model which is held in a centralized repository, and will be compliant with emerging Industry standards. BIM level 3 aims to be a single collaborative, online, project model with construction sequencing (4D), cost (5D) and project lifecycle information (6D).

BIM: A two-way flow of information

There are a lot of interesting discussions happening at the moment around BIM as the industry moves towards reaching BIM Level 2 maturity before April 2016. Many great questions and comments from the product manufacturing community about how they are adopting BIM.

Why can’t BIM inform a supplier when their products have been specified?

A small manufacturing company approached me with their concern that, as a supplier, they rarely get to know when their products have been specified until the traditional old way of either receiving requests for tender information from contractors or sub-contractors, or following up on projects.

With BIM being promoted as a process that can improve efficiency within the supply chain, I wanted to look at why this might be happening.

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The industry is focusing on working with product manufacturers to adopt BIM processes in time for April 2016, including providing the right information and delivering this content in the right way. It seems that looking at how we can improve efficiency in the supply chain – including establishing a two-way flow of information – is the next stage.

Early manufacturer engagement

It makes sense that manufacturers want to know at an early stage what projects their products have been specified on so they can offer expert advice from the beginning, as well as looking to reduce the impact of lead times for a particular product, enabling them to schedule production and helping to improve internal processes.

We often talk about early contractor engagement, but is there also a need to focus on early manufacturer engagement to ensure the supply chain is receiving the right information at the right time?

A real problem for product manufacturers is that engagement with manufacturers is too often seen as a one-way, not a two-way process. It is a real missed opportunity to make significant efficiencies through the supply chain.

There are short term solutions. In creating content we need to make sure manufacturers and the supply chain and specifiers work together, instead of throwing information over the fence and saying that we ‘do BIM’. We need to maintain the link between the manufacturing process and project (and product) delivery and operation.

Often the best way to do this is for a product manufacturer to hold content on their own website, or issue it on request, so they know when their content is being used. Specifiers can also contact manufacturers directly from the model, which improves the speed of information transfer and ensures additional support can be given where required.

What is being done to address this issue in the long term?

This is a significant issue that industry is trying to address, but it is a slow process because many still see information exchange between product supplier and others as a one-way process. Product Data Templates support this approach, and it makes it easier to ensure the whole team is joined up, and manufacturers’ information requirements can also be included in the templates.

Looking at the scale of the construction challenge ahead to meet the forecast global increase in urbanisation, we need to work together from product manufacture, right through the asset lifecycle if we are to succeed.’

It seems that in order to realise the full potential of BIM and improve supply chain efficiencies, the flow of information needs to be a two-way process – product manufacturers and suppliers providing the right information at the right time, and specifiers engaging with the manufacturer at an early stage to offer support and ensure the availability of a product. But this is only the beginning…

BIM for the future generations

One of the more pressing issues currently facing the construction industry is that there still remains a serious skills shortage. According to recent reports, there are two main reasons for this: a lack of high-quality training, and a lack of investment. As the industry as a whole looks to tackle this, I have decided to look at one of the hottest topics in construction at the moment, BIM, and what is being done to ensure young aspiring industry professionals are up to speed and ready to embrace BIM in the future.

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One of the most obvious solutions to helping young people with BIM would seem to be apprenticeships. By attracting great young minds to your company, they can learn the BIM processes quickly and carry this knowledge forward with them. Indeed more and more companies are training and mentoring their apprentices with BIM in mind. These bright young minds are a new generation of designers and detailers who are getting equipped for the future, ready to lead construction into the modern age. With this in mind, it is absolutely vital that young trainees are taught in detail on processes such as CAD and BIM, with all of the latest software available, as it will be applications like these which will be at the heart of the construction industry for years to come.

Preparing the future generations for BIM only becomes more important when you consider that the government is mandating Level 2 BIM as a minimum by 2016. Unless companies invest in their young workers learning BIM and all that it entails, they run a big risk in falling behind the times and may find it difficult to catch up. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest the younger workers are responding extremely well to learning about BIM, with young students picking it up very quickly.

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It would seem companies are recognising that there can be a lot gained for them by investing in the right training programmes for their young workers. It is vital that they understand how important BIM is now and will be in the future. By teaching young aspiring architects, surveyors, and project managers about BIM now, companies can ensure that they will be providing BIM brilliance in the future.

BIM 2015: What does it mean for you…?

BIM has been big news in the built environment for the last few years. As part of a Government initiative to reduce building costs, the Cabinet Office published the Government Construction Strategy in 2011. This strategy announced that all Government funded construction projects will “require collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) by 2016”. With less than a year to go to the government’s BIM Level 2 deadline we have been looking into what BIM will mean for those involved in the life cycle of a BIM project:

• The Architect
• The Building Product Manufacturer
• The Contractor
• The Facilities Manager
• The Health & Safety Manager 

The Architect
BIM modelling has been gathering momentum whilst having a major impact on the construction industry. This digital media tool allows architects to create a virtual building information model. While the word ’BIM’ might strike fear into an architect’s heart, the reality is it should be embraced.

The BIM visualisation model will allow for much more scope in the design process of projects. With BIM, a building can be modelled with greater detail, covering things like plumbing, partitions and internal layouts, getting into the heart of a building at the early stages. This is a great improvement on current modelling tools used such as 3D studio Max and AutoCAD, as architects will now have the power to go into detailed design at the early stages of the overall process. Moving forward, this means a great deal of time and money can be saved in the later stages.

One of the most beneficial features of BIM for an architect is ‘clash detection’. Put simply, this is an application which allows computer processes to check certain rules like code regulations and any possible structural issues with a building. Identifying these problems at an early stage might prove crucial, rather than only discovering any potential issues late in the day, when the cost has the potential to be much more excessive.

Like any new technology or system introduced, the initial feeling can be one of hesitation or uncertainty, until it is used more frequently, when it then just becomes the ‘norm’. BIM modelling is no different. Embrace this product, and architects will find a revolutionary tool, and one in which will have a fundamental impact on the way buildings are designed and built.

The Building Product Manufacturer
“BIM is NOT scary for building product manufacturers” claimed John Tebbit from the Construction Products Association in his seminar “BIM for the Terrified” at Ecobuild 2014. This proclamation is a big statement for many building product manufacturers who are treading carefully when it comes to BIM. But with the 2016 deadline looming, and government projects accounting for around 60% of all UK construction projects, not being BIM-ready by 2016 is a big risk for building product manufacturers.

Project information is embedded within BIM data meaning information from all disciplines can be extracted from the same source model. Implementing BIM will see projects evolve from the traditional linear “design-bid-build” delivery. The BIM model is housed in a “Cloud” allowing all disciplines simultaneous access resulting in more collaboration earlier in the process.

This collaborative way of working should be embraced by building product manufacturers. Having your products available as BIM components will allow specifiers the convenience of dropping your products directly into their design. Once in the model, products become an integral part of the proposal and are, therefore, less likely to be re-specified further down the build process.

BIM is not solely a design and build tool, it is also able to deliver information to building operators throughout the life of the building. This makes BIM an invaluable tool for product manufacturers as they are able to supply building operators with integral information about their products. Maintenance requirements, operating instructions and spare part information can be included in a manufacturer’s BIM offering meaning that a building operator’s first call if there is a requirement for product maintenance or parts is back to the manufacturer.

There are a number of resources out there that can help you when implementing BIM. On www.bimpanzee.com you can find some new tools to help manufacturers find more information about implementing BIM. You can also download the “BIM for the terrified” guide from the Construction Products Association for a great in-depth introduction.

The Contractor
A report by McGraw Hill indicated that just 11% of contractors were frequent users of BIM, compared with 60% for other consultants. There are different reasons as to why this may be the case, one of the main ones being that contractors are not primarily involved with which design systems are used, their involvement comes later. It seems there is a consensus amongst contractors that BIM is solely focused on the initial design elements and it ends there, thus meaning any involvement they may have with BIM will be minimal. However, when used correctly, BIM can be used collaboratively throughout the whole construction process.

One of the main benefits of this for contractors, as is the case for architects and the rest of the supply chain, is that the process should be quicker. This will ensure contractors can be ready to begin on site at a much earlier date than perhaps would be possible with CAD drawings. Moreover, using BIM, contractors can separately create models for estimating, fabrication or a simulation of what the construction will look like, without sharing the models. When you think of this benefit, and take into account the fact that contractors will also be receiving more comprehensive data from the design team, including a fully detailed prototype of the building model for inspection, the statistic of just 11% seems surprising.

The Facilities Manager
A recent paper published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) states that “it is widely accepted that it costs up to five times more to operate and maintain a building than to construct it”. With this in mind the real value of BIM becomes clear. The technology is about the lifetime value of a building not solely about the design and build process yet many facilities managers cite initial investment as a concern when it comes to implementing BIM.

BIM is capable of providing facilities professionals with reliable data about their properties which has the potential to offset any initial investment concerns. The technology can help create facilities that are more efficient with lower carbon emissions making them less costly to run. BIM can also hold information on products and materials used in the construction of a building. This means that maintenance, repair and replacement of building products can be simpler to acquire after the initial handover period is complete, significantly reducing maintenance costs.

As well as the benefits of BIM in maintaining a building the data from building information models can also be used for space management, disaster planning and to create accurate depictions of the physical conditions, environment and assets of a facility.

The benefits of BIM for facilities management are far reaching and should be embraced. As with the other sectors collaborative working is key for successful BIM implementation. By collaborating with those involved in the design and construction of a building, facilities managers can more effectively manage the space and assets in operation and maintenance for the life of the building.

The Health & Safety Manager
For the health and safety manager, BIM can become an important technology to utilise. For example, scenarios can be simulated in the virtual world before getting on site, enabling workers to address any potential risks without the danger. Automated checking can also be completed meaning rule sets can be analysed to detect hazards. For example, BIM can detect where a fall arrest system should be used. BIM can also help to plan out sequences of work in a timeline, and detect clashes on construction sites. This means that if a particular order of work becomes a safety risk, the Health & Safety expert can avert a potentially dangerous situation.

The next step…
A recurring factor for those hesitant to adopt BIM appears to be initial investment in new technologies and processes. When looking into implementing BIM we must, as an industry, look beyond the initial problems and embrace this new way of working. There is a lot to gain that more than offsets the upfront costs of BIM and so it is in everyone’s interest to make it work.

SIMPLIFIES THE CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTION PLANNING PROCESS WITH BIM 360 PLAN

A commercial construction site is a series of scheduling bottlenecks and productivity pitfalls waiting to happen. If material deliveries are delayed, workers can be left standing around with nothing to do. Subcontractors—from the drywall team, to the electrical crew—can inadvertently get in each other’s way if they’re working against the same deadlines.  Meanwhile, ever-changing conditions on the jobsite mean that even the most carefully laid plans are constantly being rewritten.

Autodesk BIM 360 Plan, a new web service and mobile app, aims to help eliminate many of these headaches by providing production planning software that incorporates Lean Construction practices with an easy-to-use, highly visual interface.  It’s a fresh, new, and cloud-enhanced way to evolve from today’s tedious manual processes involving spreadsheets and other forms of documentation and collaboration.

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BIM 360 Plan helps contractors build reliable work plans through cloud and mobile collaboration. Image courtesy of Autodesk.

As a result, construction contractors can increase the reliability of their project work plans, and reduce waste associated with overproduction, excess inventory, and task rework—all of which helps preserve project profits.

“As the construction industry explores and adopts new approaches to project delivery, Lean Construction is emerging as the best practice for project execution,“  said Jim Lynch, Vice President, Building and Collaboration Product Line Group, Autodesk.  “BIM 360 Plan can help customers conduct these lean practices more efficiently”.
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DPR Project Superintendent, Brad Marshall using BIM 360 Plan to manage the production planning process for University of Arizona Bioscience Partnership Building in Phoenix, AZ.  Image courtesy of DPR Construction.

Easy, Mobile & Collaborative

Simple to learn and intuitive to use, BIM 360 Plan helps a wide range of team players—from superintendents and crew foremen, to project engineers—to quickly and easily create and update their production plans and then get back to the job at hand.

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The BIM 360 Plan interface allows the user(s) to view/create their work plan in either list, gantt, or swim lane modes.  Image courtesy of Autodesk.

Web and mobile access puts BIM 360 Plan wherever work gets done, from the trailer to the field. This “anywhere, anytime” access provides real-time visibility into production planning commitments, timelines, and hand-offs.
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Each BIM 360 Plan subscription includes access to the companion iPad app which allows the user to login and download their designated project plan for use on the go.  Image courtesy of Autodesk.

Not only does this replace the manual process of entering data into spreadsheets to create weekly schedule updates—it eliminates the time and effort required to distribute the information to project stakeholders.

BIM 360 Plan also enables continuous improvement by tracking and reporting on key performance metrics. Users can drill down to see metrics for a specific phase, location or trade partner on the project.  The idea is that BIM 360 Plan will bring lessons learned into the master schedule process to better define the schedule itself.
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BIM 360 Plan automatically tracks the projects Planned Percent Complete (PPC) percentage (total number of tasks divided by the tasks that have been marketed “complete”).  Image courtesy of Autodesk.-