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Morrell: BIM to be mandatory for all £5m+ public buildings

Government construction tsar Paul Morrell has threatened to make BIM software mandatory for all public buildings worth more than £5 million, instead of £50 million as previously mooted

Raising the bar for architects and the construction industry, Morrell warned that companies which fail to adopt Building Information Modelling (BIM) risked being ‘Betamaxed out’ of the process.

The proposed £5 million threshold for use on BIM is expected to feature in the government’s five year plan for procurement, planned for publication in June.

Morrell – who advised on the publication – explained that a shift to ‘fully collaborative BIM’ would be phased in over a five year period to ensure that all suppliers pitching for government work have time to adapt.

He added: ‘If you think this is a race between institutions then you’re in the wrong sport.’

The chief construction adviser’s comments were made at a BIM roundtable event organised by NBS at the RIBA last month.

The event was chaired by RIBA Enterprises chief Richard Waterhouse, and the participants included: Alistair Kell of BDP, Sam Collard of Laing O’ Rourke, Nigel Clark of Hilson Moran, Stephen Hamil of NBS, Robert Klaschka of Studio Klaschka and Anne King of BSRIA.

Waterhouse, said: ‘This is a wake-up call for the industry. BIM is not just technology. It is a method of working that will enable and hasten the move towards truly collaborative working for the industry. This will lead to improved efficiencies and profitability for those that adopt and adapt.’

PRP chairman Andy von Bradsky welcomed the initiative and said: ‘PRP has fully embraced BIM as it allows the streamlining of projects and improved coordination across project teams.

‘We have a target of using it on 90 [per cent] of all our projects by the end of next year and currently have an extensive employee training programme in place.’

Rob Firth, director of practice building at HOK London added: ‘Architects need to realise that for an increasing number of projects BIM is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity.

‘BIM is much more than a piece of clever software, it’s a collaborative approach that offers clients unprecedented insight into how a building works in a virtual reality, long before it reaches site.

‘As a result we’re already seeing an increasing number of private sector clients requesting to use BIM. We’re moving towards a two tier industry, those that BIM and those that don’t. Architects need to act now to make sure they’re not left behind.’

An NBS survey reported that 60 per cent of respondents were unsure what BIM constituted.

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