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Survey shows profession uncertain over new BIM rules

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A new profession-wide survey has revealed doubts about whether the construction industry can comply with new BIM rules which come into effect today

A government mandate now requires the implementation of BIM Level 2 on all centrally procured public-sector projects, allowing all parties to share their design data through common file formats.

However, according to RIBA Enterprises company National Building Specification (NBS), 41 per cent of those who responded to its latest survey were not clear what they had to do to comply with the mandate. Just one in 10 respondents said they believed the construction industry was ready to deliver on it.

Nevertheless, the survey found that those firms already using BIM were most likely to utilise it with public-sector projects such as health, education and public-sector housing.

And nearly half (48 per cent) thought that the government was on the right track with BIM.

Architects and architectural technicians make up the majority of respondents to the survey, which began in 2011 and received more than 1,000 responses this year.

Overall, 54 per cent of firms now use BIM, while 42 per cent are aware of the technology but do not use it. Exactly half of non-adopters said BIM was ‘too expensive to consider’ at present.

The latest uptake figure marks a return to 2014’s level after a surprise drop to 48 per cent last year, which NBS described as ‘unexplained’.

NBS said 86 per cent of those respondents who were aware of BIM expected to be using it by next year, which would indicate a 2017 uptake figure of at least 80 per cent.

Adrian Malleson, head of research, analysis and forecasting at NBS, said the survey findings indicated that the construction industry was ‘BIM positive’ but not ‘BIM aware’.

‘Overall, the findings suggest that the government’s strategy seems to be working and that its BIM mandate for publicly funded work will go on to influence work in the private sector,’ he said.

‘The extent to which it does and the pace at which this happens will be predicated on companies and individuals acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge to open up new ways of working.’

Elsewhere, the survey found BIM models were used from start to finish in projects by just over one-third of respondents, suggesting their use was restricted to the design stages in other cases.

Only 16 per cent of respondents said they passed on the model to those responsible for managing finished buildings.

For the first time in the survey’s history, NBS produced a regional breakdown of BIM adoption based on respondents’ answers. Northern Ireland scored highest with 72 per cent; London registered 66 per cent; and the East of England came last on 38 per cent.

The survey comes after the government announced in last month’s Budget that it will invest £15 million into the development of BIM Level 3 over the next five years - more than it has invested in BIM Level 2.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The survey is an accurate reflection of the current situation. Architects and engineers are embracing the concept, but there is still so much to be done to improve working methods. Clients are still procuring designers separately, and not fully utilising the potential of BIM for managing their estates. The contracting supply chain still has a huge task, particularly designing M and E subcontractors. The only way to tackle all this is head-on, learning and improving by doing, investing in training and software, and working collaboratively, as this is the future.

    Roger FitzGerald
    Chair, ADP

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