BIM for Clients: Part 2


The previous blog set the scheme for some of the reasons for slow residential client BIM uptake to the present day. I’m following on with part deux, which looks at the ingredients for successful implementation to take place.

My experiences to date would suggest there needs to be :

• Directorate/Leadership buy-in and promotion of BIM right through the business. It could be strongly argued this is more pressing with BIM than the implementation of other organisational/departmental change management processes because BIM really is fully impacting across all areas of the business (if implemented correctly). This starts right from Project Strategy/inception (Land acquisition) through to Operation and potential refurbishment => Whole Lifecycle Project Management.

Departmental BIM Champions and strategists are required with the commitment and knowledge to see BIM and a culture change implemented. This may be a combination of external consultants supporting the business’ own staff or entirely one or the other.

• Dedicated BIM Champions from each workstream of the business who regularly meet and relay/champion the impacts on day-to-day business of BIM implementation to the leadership.

The PAS1192-2:2013 (Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using Building Information Modelling) and CIC BIM Protocol are readily available to assist with understanding the management and legal frameworks for delivering BIM Level 2 compliant projects. Whilst the PAS may seem an intensive read for those just getting to grips with BIM, it does cover all the areas of information delivery that will need to be given due consideration.

• Formulation of a clear, succinct and all encompassing EIR (Employers Information Requirements) document. This key question needs to be asked – What does the business actually expect/want from the BIM process? For some residential clients, answering this question will involve assessing the current use of their assets (especially important if the client uses a Design>Build>Operate business model); for others, if starting from scratch, it will involve analysing what is desired from BIM to benefit each workstream within the organisation currently.

The BIM Task Group EIR guidance document provides a useful starting point: EIR Guidance Document

The EIRs will set the basis for the BIM Execution Plan that all consultants and contractors submit pre-contract to demonstrate their capabilities. This goes on to inform the overarching MIDP (Master Information Delivery Plan) for a project.

• A focus on the BIM training requirements for residential clients’ project team personnel. This needs to happen not just to bring personnel up to speed with BIM industry standards but to also keep them updated. Whilst there is a burgeoning volume of information and training courses being offered to individuals and companies regarding BIM adoption, there needs to be an acute appreciation by the BIM leaders of the specific requirements for those operating from the client-side who have very different needs to those of consultants and contractors who actually design and deliver information.

For example, spending time and financial resources training commercial/construction management members of staff on how to use BIM authoring software may not be wholly worthwhile against developing their knowledge on the capabilities of associated BIM reviewing/coordination software to deliver information that can be extracted and input into their day-to-day management processes.

Critically, a bold starting step to test the waters with BIM is required from those who still need convincing about its merits. Whilst achieving BIM Level 2 standards may not be necessary (yet) or achievable immediately for many residential clients, I firmly believe that BIM has the potential to deliver the raft of benefits associated with its implementation. One could argue that this is even more pronounced in the context of residential development. The standardised (and sometimes repetitive) nature of details and products re-used across multiple projects offers serial developers the opportunity to refine and streamline their management processes to achieve maximum operational effectiveness.

BIM for Clients: part 1…

Construction, Design, Uncategorized

As those of you with a keen eye on industry movements will have seen, BIM has come to the fore of the industry over the last 5 years since the Government’s mandate to deliver all centrally procured construction projects to BIM Level 2 from 1st April 2016.

Well that date has come and gone, and with the recent transition into 2017, the general consensus from media forums and personal participation in industry events indicates a better appreciation of the benefits of BIM from the construction industry as a whole since the government drive towards BIM was announced. However there still seems to be some uncertainty and a lack of interest from residential client developers to capture the significant benefits that BIM adoption has to offer their businesses. This blogpost is part 1 of 2 which focuses on some of the barriers to Client-side BIM adoption.

Having worked in both architectural practices and for one of the South East’s leading residential developers since the turn of the decade, I’ve been able to witness the growth in awareness of BIM utilisation on the consultant side and draw attention to the need for its adoption within the client design management team processes.

My personal experiences seem to suggest a number of key barriers to BIM adoption exist within residential developer organisations:

1 – The perceived enormous costs & time associated with implementation. Like any investment, you need to put something in to get something out, but this need not be an expensive process. The upfront capital investment required to implement procedures and processes, as well as the acquisition of soft&hardware can be challenging for SMEs especially. However, what needs to be demonstrated to SMEs more succinctly is the value added, and return on investment through BIM adoption, to make the case for it unquestionable.

2 – The belief that ”we’ve been designing & constructing buildings for many years without BIM, so why change now”. Yes, believe it or not, this is the view held by some industry representatives. These protagonists view BIM as a problem, as disruptive and in some cases a barrier to ‘just getting the work done’. Well personally, I couldn’t agree less. The BIM process is designed to be collaborative, deliver efficiencies, truly coordinated buildings / spaces and coordinated asset management information.

3 – A perception that BIM is a modelling tool only for consultants and contractors. This perception probably comes from a misunderstanding generally within the industry that BIM is primarily useful for visualisation purposes, rather than appreciating what it really is; a process of collaborative project information management. Clients actually have a very important part to play in the uptake of BIM across the industry, as they almost always have the authority to set the project brief with BIM at its core, and are ultimately the ones paying for the service delivered by the process of project information management. Would it be fair to say that the more clients are willing to invest (not merely financially) in BIM, the more motivation their supply chain will have in delivering it? In some ways, yes, but equally can the supply chain play its part by looking inward and seeing what it can do to deliver more internal business efficiencies, coordinated design and construction services to the client through BIM adoption? It’d be good to have your thoughts…

4 – A lack of certainty from all participants to the process of BIM regarding their role in the process. To a degree this is still understandable, as the industry continues to acquire knowledge and insight from each project delivered through BIM.

BIM for Clients: Part 2 looks at the ingredients needed for client-side BIM uptake. Watch this space for it…