BIM: The state of play

Mark Bew, managing director of Engineering Construction Strategies, writes on Building online about the influence that BIM has had on the construction industry as of 2013.

What difference has BIM made to the industry so far, and how will it continue to shape the way we work?

As we reach the milestone of the end of the BIM Task Group’s second Construction Summit and the end of a fabulous summer it seems an appropriate time to both look back at achievements and look forward to the 2016 milestone when the Level 2 task group will pass over the programme and the team will focus on our Level 3 ambitions.

Year one was about mobilisation and the provision of tools and documents to explain what BIM is to the public client. For the capital phases of a project, PAS1192:2:2013, Government Soft Landings and the BIM Protocol were joined by the digital Plan of Works. We were delighted to see this work supported by the new RIBA Plan of Works in the early summer. In my view the digital Plan of Works is one of the most significant documents ever to be launched into the industry. The concept of clear design delivery definition and the ability to digitally check deliverables will affect us all and we welcome your feedback through the various forums and the website mentioned below.

The UK is now leading the way in the use of digital technologies in the built environment, which will help us achieve a step change in industry competitiveness and open new opportunities for a digitally savvy generation. Our global leadership role was recognised when the government and industry were awarded the international Fiatech award in 2013 for advancing the use of digital technologies.

So what difference has all this work made in real life?

The departmental “Early Adopter” programme has been key to understanding this. Starting with the Ministry of Justice, we have started over 20 projects using BIM processes and early projects are realising cost savings, such as Cookham Wood Young Offenders Institution which announced a 20% reduction in capital cost. This has been a fantastic achievement by all the organisations and individuals involved and I can’t thank them enough for their patience, commitment and persistence to see the projects through.

But for me, the biggest achievement has been the widespread realisation that collaboration, procurement, operations, good design, engineering and Soft Landings can all be dramatically improved through the use of BIM tools and open sharing of data. Emily Thomas, the governor at Cookham Wood, summarised this by saying: “For the first time I could understand a building design. It allowed me to contribute and comment (both positively and negatively) for the first time rather than having to look at flat drawings”.

So as the 2016 target draws closer we are reminded that the Level 3 programme with its commitments to growth will soon be with us. Follow this column and we will keep you up to date with progress.


Mark Bew is the managing director of Engineering Construction Strategies. The full article can be found at: