The UK construction industry has started to tap the potential of BIM. But the profound role that BIM is predicted to play in transforming the industry is only just being explored.
BIM 2050 was set up to explore BIM as a catalyst to change the industry profoundly and for the better. BIM 2050 brings together young professionals from across the industry to assess how wide the impact of BIM will be and in particular how the use of innovative digital technologies might propel the industry into a different way of learning, collaborating and utilising technology.
We are called BIM 2050 because we have one eye on how the world might look at a time when our careers are coming to an end. As a group and individually we have a passion for exploring how BIM might help us leave an industry in 2050 that is responsive to society’s demands, provides aspirational career choices and is collaborative and profitable.
The journey to get to 2050 however clearly requires more than just the BIM 2050 Group.
The public sector in particular has a role to play as both a major client and a policy driver. The Government has recognised the developing role of BIM and is keen to see it become a British success story.
It is against this background that on 23 April, members of BIM 2050 met with the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, Chloe Smith MP, whose remit also includes the UK Government as a construction client. The meeting was arranged to give the Minister an insight into the thinking behind the group, its aims and how it hopes to engage with those in the industry and outside it over the next few years.
An introduction by David Philp kicked off proceedings, with deputy chair Neil Thompson introducing the way in which the group has divided its resources into thinking about three core areas: process and technology, education and training and the culture of integration. Chris Barker, Rachael Park and Rebecca Hodgson-Jones respectively gave brief introductions to the three core areas with Stefan Mordue bringing together the issues in conclusion.
The Minister is no BIM sceptic. She had given a key-note speech a few days earlier to BIM4SME on how BIM will give the construction supply chain a competitive edge in a fiercely competitive international environment. She was engaging and clearly shared the BIM2050 vision.
As a mark perhaps of the seriousness of the Government’s commitment to engage on BIM, the Minister was keen to assist practically in the work of BIM 2050. In an unusual move she has agreed to become the honorary member of BIM 2050, again underlining the meeting of minds between the group and Government.
The Minister laid down a challenge to the group to spell out its vision and objectives and the milestones to achieving them. The greater challenge, the Minister said, was identifying those parts of the industry that the group must engage with and “take on the journey”. The Minister is keen on ensuring that the challenge of deepening the levels of collaboration within the industry must be felt at the grass-roots of the industry so engagement must for example involve those on apprentice schemes. The Minister was keen for the group to report back so as to continue to process of dialogue with the Government. The group is currently working to meet this challenge and to make a real impact. The Minister concluded by saying that she was keen to be kept in the loop and the group is already preparing to report back to her very soon.