BIM throughout the supply chain

Dr Stephen Hamil – Director of Design and Innovation at NBS.

There are various steps to utilising BIM throughout the supply chain.

At its most basic level, it is a single organisation that is benefitting from more efficient generation of drawings or the improved coordination of specifications and drawings. However the real impact, in terms of delivering overall project efficiencies, can be seen when BIM is used throughout the supply chain.



















                                                    Visualisation from a model


The project team should agree their BIM process as part of the wider project execution plan at the preparation and brief stage of the project. This will agree the processes and protocols to be used to develop the design. It will also detail the communication strategy and what common standards are to be used.


In the last 12 months, support material has been developed to help the UK construction industry, including PAS 1192-2:2013, the CIC BIM Protocol and the RIBA Plan of Work 2013.


Further benefits and efficiencies can also be generated when maintained library information is used from the start of a project. This could be from a national master library or from office masters, which may be amended versions of a national library.


For this to be fully utilised by the whole project team, it could be maintained by a large client, a multi-disciplinary consultancy or a large contractor. The design team would then have standard BIM objects and corresponding specification clauses that they can use when developing the design through to the construction stage.


In addition to the design team, there is also the manufacturer supply chain. Many large clients and contractors have manufacturers that they use regularly on projects so manufacturers can help their clients by providing information digitally in the form of BIM objects and supporting information.


This digital information, as part of a library toolkit, can provide real support to the design team, as the constraints they are working within are made clear from the start. It can then make life easier for not only the construction team but also the future building operator, as digital information held within the model  can be utilised through construction, handover and during the building’s lifespan.


A growing number of individual organisations across the construction industry recognise the business value of BIM, however we will see greater benefits in the future, when BIM is fully utilised by both a collaborative project team and its supporting manufacturer supply chain.


Example matrix clearly setting out the project roles


Useful links:

·         PAS 1192-2:2013 –

·         CIC BIM Protocol –

·         RIBA Plan of Work 2013 –

·         Assembling the collaborative project team –