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25th Sep 2018

The use of BIM can be invaluable. But how do we get more companies to use it? An overview of the UK BIM Alliance Roadshow, Cambridge

A ‘plain language’ approach, working more collaboratively and helping end users understand the benefits of BIM (building information modelling), are just three of the changes needed if the utilisation of BIM is going to increase from its current level of 10%. That’s according to speakers at a recent UK BIM Alliance event in Cambridge.

The UK BIM Alliance represents and works with the built industry, helping businesses to digitally transform the industry through education, leadership and focus.

The latest UK BIM Alliance event, part of a countrywide roadshow, included a number of industry speakers, real-life experiences, case studies, and models, and was introduced by Dr Anne Kemp, chair of the UK BIM Alliance.

Driving efficiencies

According to Dr Kemp, digital transformation doesn’t just occur through the use of BIM, but through the use of all types of digital initiatives. And rather than using BIM just to be ‘compliant’, companies should aim to use BIM and common data environments to drive efficiencies.    

Historically a top-down approach on the implementation of BIM has been used. Initially it was through government initiatives, then the BIM Alliance and BIM regions. But now a more all-rounded collaborative approach is being taken to ensure all levels of users are embracing it. In order to achieve this, a ‘plain language’ approach must be taken, starting with reducing acronyms, and helping end users to understand clearly what BIM actually is and the benefits of using it.

Unprecedented growth

Tom Murphy, associate director at David Miller Architects (DMA) noted that BIM has allowed DMA to develop a foothold in an otherwise saturated market in central London. BIM has opened the firm up to unprecedented sector growth, especially in higher value projects and seen 40 projects become BIM compliant over the past 10 years.

One of DMA’s most successful projects was the refurbishment of the Lord’s Cricket Ground Media Centre and was one of the most prolific BIM compliant projects to date. BIM and other digital initiatives allowed the refit to gain an additional 15% of usable floor space.

Rob Warne, senior design manager at Wates, spoke about how the success or failure of implementing BIM is determined by three key factors including:

  • Technological abilities and awareness
  • Role models
  • A reason/purpose to do it 

Using BIM is vital for success

BIM, when adopted holistically, can prove invaluable. And common data environments (which serve as a central location to house project information including BIM as well as non graphical assets and documentation) enable users to not only sense-check information, but also add value and allow better collaborative working (see the Lord’s example, above).

Going forward, the aim of the Alliance is to make standards understandable so that people are able to easily get on board with BIM, and to ensure BIM becomes business as usual while at the same time, transforming and future proofing the way the industry works.

How this affects Henry Riley

At Henry Riley, we're already industry leaders in digital services and work closely with UK BIM Alliance to help the industry adopt BIM Level 2, as well as Digital2All to enable the digitisation of society as a whole.

By collaborating digitally and managing construction data centrally, we know that costs can be reduced, processes made quicker and more accurate, and efficiencies improved.

By Jonah Balmford, Quantity Surveyor and Project Manager, Henry Riley LLP

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Jonah Balmford Quantity Surveyor / Project Manager

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