BIM and the supply chain

According to CIRIA 80 per cent of construction costs is provided by the products and services from the supply chain.

Yet how many of wider construction supply chain is BIM ready? We all know that lonely BIM produces little benefit other than for the party playing solo. C&S engineers will argue they were doing BIM before everyone else of course, architects are largely there, and the MEP guys have finally arrived thanks to some improved software. However we certainly need more parties to join the BIM journey.


Our internal sister companies are committed to this journey. So why, relatively speaking, are there so few supply chain members BIM enabled and how can we encourage them?


Perhaps for many the perceived, or real, barriers may be obscuring the anticipated benefits.


Resistance to change, investment demands, in cost and time, and lack of in-house digital skills have all been quoted as good reasons why not to. Well yes, they can all be self fulfilling prophecies. However those who have embraced the change (and it is a change!) cite benefits which make it worthwhile. They include readiness to meet the Government’s objectives, ability to remove errors on screen, and the enhanced ability to resolve interface issues in advance of site activities.


At Balfour Beatty we value our excellent supply chain partners and their core services and products. We are pleased that so many have embraced the world of BIM.


Together we are improving integration, reducing waste (in time, unnecessary site visits and surplus material) as well as resolving issues when it is still relatively easy and inexpensive to do so-around the screen. Ultimately we reduce design inefficiencies, dissolve fragmentation and improve mutual profitability. Yes the investment pays off.



By Peter J Trebilcock, BIM Programme Director, Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK.


Also read, Peter’s BIM Data Lite article here: