The UK is often held up by other countries as a leader in terms of our BIM adoption. There are even many case studies about its successful deployment.
But first, let’s clarify, what do we mean by BIM? The acronym stands for Building Information Modelling. It encompasses information management throughout the life-cycle of a built environment asset. From initial planning and design, through to construction, to ongoing facilities management, refurbishment, and eventually decommissioning, dismantling or re-use.
A survey of over 900 construction professionals by The NBS in 2021 showed that 71% had already adopted BIM. Around 25% plan to in the next five years and only 5% said that they would never adopt BIM. However, as company sizes get smaller, adoption of BIM tends to decrease. The survey found that of companies employing less than 15 people, 55% adopted BIM with 10% saying they never would.
There is a pressing need for companies in the built environment to find appropriate and proportionate ways to manage information. The advent of the Building Safety Act means that there is a growing focus on governance in terms of products used and decisions made. Companies need to protect themselves by ensuring that the data linked to a project is stored in a retrievable and usable way, whether a client mandates it or not.
According to an annual survey of readers of Construction Management and BIMplus, a focus on collaboration and good information management is the key to improving BIM adoption.
However, unfortunately much of the information collected during the design and construction phases is currently not being transferred to facilities and operations managers. “There is this big barrier between design and construction and in use,” says Anne Kemp, chair of nima (formerly UK BIM Alliance). “Part of that is down to a lack of procurement, part of it is lack of collaboration and part of it is a culture thing. Until we can break that, it is quite a barrier.”
Good information management can deliver a myriad of benefits to companies in the built environment, says 3D Repo product implementation manager Mia Dibe. “BIM should be a way to improve efficiency and productivity. You have to do what works for your project, for the skillset you have in your company and for the type of work you are dealing with.”
So, what steps can organisations take now to improve information management and harness the full benefits of BIM?
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