A sample of a digital model created using BIM techniques (DPR Construction/Buildipedia.com)

UK industry unprepared for digital modelling techniques as government deadline rolls by

6 April 2016 | By GCR Staff 6 Comments

A UK government order for public sector projects to be delivered using advanced digital modelling to cut waste and errors came into force this week, but a survey reveals a low level of preparedness among the industry, with only 5% of respondents saying they are up to speed with the techniques.

To modernise the industry and help cut 20% off the cost of public construction projects, the UK government mandated in May 2011 that by 2016 all centrally procured government projects would have to use building information modelling, or BIM, to the intermediate stage of level 2.

BIM is a suite of techniques involving software and information sharing protocols that bases the project on a digital, 3D model of the structure, a model populated with all data necessary for its construction.

By keeping a central repository of information BIM can detect clashes and streamline the traditional construction process that is infamous for error, waste and overruns in time and cost, proponents of the technique say.

Monday 4 April was “Mandate Day”, the deadline for the requirement to start using BIM, but a survey by GCR’s sister publication, Construction Manager, has found patchy client uptake and weak understanding of BIM’s fundamental standards.

The survey of 557 industry professionals also revealed that overall levels of confidence on BIM adoption are relatively low, with 27% scoring themselves as “very unsure” about working at Level 2 BIM, just 14% rating themselves as having “some confidence” and only 5% claiming to be “fully confident”.

And of the 82 clients in the public and private sector who responded to the survey, the largest group at 36% (17) also rated themselves as “very unsure”, although two claimed to be “fully confident”.

Only 23% of clients said they planned to ask for Level 2 BIM as a contractual requirement on 100% of projects – and that included 14 of the 20 clients who represented central government departments.

The key findings of the survey can be explored here.

In addition, an in-depth analysis on UK industry attitudes to BIM, based on detailed interviews with a range of clients across government and the private sector, will be available in a free-to-download report tomorrow, 7 April. For more information click here.

Photograph: A sample of a digital model created using BIM techniques (DPR Construction/Buildipedia.com)