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RIBA-owned NBS wins £1million contract to develop BIM toolkit

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NBS, which is part of RIBA Enterprises, has been awarded the contract to develop a new toolkit for Building Information Modelling (BIM)

The free-to-use toolkit, which is expected to be introduced in 2015, will act as an online checking system verifying that BIM models contain the right amount of information.

It will include a digital plan of work and a classification system which incorporates definitions for over 5,000 construction objects.

The NBS team, which also includes BIM Academy, BDP, Laing O’Rourke, Microsoft and Newcastle University, was awarded the contract after a two-stage government-run contest.

The project is said to be ‘vital’ in the run up to the adoption of level two BIM on all government projects by 2016.

Stephen Hamil, director of design and innovation at NBS said: ‘Delivery of a best-in-class digital toolkit that completes Level 2 BIM is a vital component of the government’s strategy for the construction industry which will deliver huge benefits.

He added: ‘Our credentials as innovators in BIM were established with the launch of the NBS National BIM Library and NBS Create, the first BIM specification tool. We look forward to leading this key BIM development.’

David Philp, head of BIM at the UK BIM Task Group, said: ‘The completion of the Digital Plan of Works (DPow) and classification system will not only complete the Level 2 BIM suite but help drive the take-up of BIM, support exploitation of the standards and ensure that the UK remains at the vanguard of a digital transformation in the built environment.’

The news of the contract comes as NBS launched the first standard specification for BIM objects.

The lack of standardisation of BIM objects has been expressed as a major obstacle for practices taking up BIM. But the new standards will define what makes a high quality BIM object while making sure they are consistent both in content and structure.

Ian Chapman, director of the National BIM Library said: ‘It’s difficult to overstate the significance of this new standard: lack of standardised objects has been a huge barrier to BIM adoption which has been removed at a stroke. As we move towards 2016, we’ll be working with representatives from right across the industry to develop it further.

‘Our vision is for the entire UK construction industry to have access to BIM objects that can be used freely, safe in the knowledge that they contain the same levels of information with the appropriate geometry all wrapped up in a consistent and highly useable format.’

He added: ‘The BIM landscape is evolving and the market needs good quality generic and manufacturers’ BIM objects. Designers creating their own objects for practice and project-specific purposes can now do so to a common standard enabling greater collaboration, efficiency and more meaningful information exchange. Client groups, as well as project managers will also feel the benefit as they can be confident that the quality of BIM objects included within their project models is suitable.’

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