BIM Voice – David Mitchell: Digital Built Britain 2 – 0 Australia

Credit: Mitchell Brandtman
Credit: Mitchell Brandtman

BIMcrunch has become a platform for a plethora of elite industry names to become guest writers on the site and share their thoughts and opinions with the #GlobalBIMCrew. Today, Partner and 5D Quantity Surveyor at Mitchell Brandtman, David Mitchell discusses how the UK‘s is leading the way with their Digital Built Britain initiative, leaving Australia lagging behind, again.


Whilst Australia continues to debate the merits of whether we should have a whole of government or whole of industry taskforce and whether to mandate or not to mandate for BIM, the UK has quietly launched the Level 3 BIM Strategic Plan 12 months prior to the end date for the Level 2 Plan which has netted the UK government an estimated £840m in savings. Where the bloody-hell are we Australia?

Leading the charge globally

The Level 2 BIM program launched back in 2011 was considered very ambitious for its time but has allowed the UK to deliver major projects and infrastructure including the 2012 Olympics and Cookham Wood Prison with quantifiable savings. The innovative strategy has been touted as key to the development of their new rail projects, Cross Rail and HS2. Their recognition of the drive of the digital age provides the UK with the opportunity to lead globally in the value of its built assets and the data preserved to create a digital economy for all.

Digital Built Britain (DBB) brings together a number of key government initiatives driving the high performing UK digital economy – The Industrial Strategy – Construction 2025, the Business and Professional Services Strategy 22, the Smart Cities Strategy 23 and the Information Economy Strategy 24.

It will transform infrastructure development and construction and, according to the recent launch and accompanying DBB report, “it will consolidate the UK’s position as a world leader in these sectors.” Given the estimated share of the world market for construction is forecast to be in the region of $15 trillion globally by 2025, this strategy goes a long way to positioning the UK as an innovator of the digital age, something that Australia, given its decline in manufacturing, should be aggressively addressing to catch up.

The Digital Evolution Index (DEI)

In September 2014, the Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) released a report “Digital Planet: Readying for the Rise of the e-consumer”. The report is a culmination of 6 years of research relating to 50 nations’ digital evolution trajectories.

The IBGC is the hub for international business at The Fletcher School, the oldest graduate school of international affairs in the United States. The purpose of the research undertaken is to create a Digital Evolution Index (DEI) that ranks these 50 nations in relation to their progress or decline in their own journey and evolution into the digital economy.

Australia, quite unsurprisingly sits within the category of “Stall Out” – a nation that has previously advanced rapidly only to recently stall or decline in its digital evolution.

The UK, again quite unsurprisingly, is trajecting itself towards the “Standout” category and ranks 4th after Singapore, Sweden and Hong Kong in relation to the 2013 Composite DEI score which accounts for four drivers: Demand, Supply, Institutional Environment and Innovation. Australia’s composite DEI score ranks us 12th out of the 50 countries. The report acknowledges that the UK is at risk due to the stalled performance of neighbouring Europe given its economic stagnation and austerity policies currently in place.

Where is Australia’s Construction Strategy at?

More concerning a question is “Where is Australia’s construction strategy let alone its digital and BIM strategies?”

There are many active and progressive industry groups taking up the charge, but without significant government voices at the table to discuss how we can nation build through BIM, any strategy developed by industry is going to fall short.


To read an additional extra section of content relating to this article, click here to take you to the Mitchell Brandtman website.

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