How to Avoid Getting Lost in the BIM Revolution

Building information modeling (BIM) provides many advantages for planning, designing, constructing and maintaining physical structures such as offices, warehouses and factories. In his blog, Peter Marsh provides some practical considerations for organizations wanting to implement BIM.

BIMRevolutionFor many building industry professionals in the UK, building information modeling (BIM) will soon become a necessity. The UK Government is making Level 2 BIM mandatory by 2016 for all public sector building commissions. Level 2 BIM requires all design and building work to use software tools and common data formats. Each party can work using proprietary software tools but must share design electronically via a common file format – COBie. Failure to meet Level 2 BIM could effectively exclude a firm from future public sector work in the UK, including work in National Health Service, local government, schools and further education buildings.

Even for firms focused on private sector clients, there are increasing pressures to adopt BIM due to the competitive advantages it provides. Besides government mandates, the compelling commercial case for BIM includes:

  • Potential to reduce waste and cost overruns by up to one third
  • Slash time-to-market and potential errors in construction
  • Enhanced capabilities to facilities management and building operations

Implementing BIM is a big step. It requires a conceptual overhaul of how firms work both internally and with partners across their value chains. So how do construction industry firms implement Level 2 BIM successfully and avoid getting lost in the details? It is about fundamentally altering work processes and the ways that teams work together across different functions. Here are a few considerations for implementing BIM:

  • Identify the benefits of adopting BIM for the organization. These identified benefits can be not only the ones that apply to the organization as a whole, but individual benefits and competitive advantages for each team or function. With BIM, almost every team should have a role to play and will reap their own efficiency and competitive advantages. By identifying benefits for the organization and for each team, implementing BIM takes immediate shape and direction.

  • Communication is paramount. Communicating both the overall goals and benefits of BIM, and specific team-based goals, throughout every level of an organization is an essential part of implementing BIM.

  • Appoint “BIM Champions” while adopting BIM. Firms might want to consider appointing subsidiary BIM champions for each team or function as well as an overall BIM champion to coordinate the firm-wide implementation.

  • Planning is important. Addressing staff skills and process redesign is another key step to implementing BIM. Success relies on a clear vision of benefits and goals. Have a realistic strategy to achieving them. While achieving Level 2 BIM is an ambitious, far-reaching goal, the only way to get there is by one step at a time. So, the benefits and the plan should reflect this step-by-step approach to achieving BIM.

  • Choose software tools and set organizational BIM data standards. Level 2 BIM does not require a shared data model, but it does require BIM software for each relevant team, and the ability to share common format files between teams to work collaboratively. Setting data standards throughout an organization is a must, and implementing electronic collaboration software is desirable. Upgrading networking infrastructure and data storage, even moving applications to the cloud to allow for remote and off-site working, are all potential options firms should consider if they haven’t already.

  • Finally, don’t go it alone. There is already a wide range of experience in implementing BIM successfully, both in the UK and abroad. This includes case studies and best practices by British and overseas universities as well as by professional bodies and consultancies.

To learn more about how CommScope and Autodesk Seek can facilitate your BIM requirements, take a look at this short and insightful video.