Building Information Modelling (BIM) is taking the construction industry from the age of the drawing board, through the computer age and into the digital age. Revolutionising how everyone in the industry thinks, acts and works.
In the UK the government has recognised that the process of moving the industry too fully collaborative working will be achieved through a series of milestones, ‘levels.’
It’s a sad fact that while many people in the construction industry are aware of the term BIM Level 2, not everyone is fully aware of its meaning or the impact to their organisation or on their own jobs.
BIM Level 2 unofficially commenced in 2011 when the government mandated the construction industry to rapidly change the way it delivered public sector projects to suit the governments requirements by 2016 or face being removed from their supplier list. This mandate also included tier 2 and 3 suppliers, who had to show competence before joining.
The 2016 deadline has now come and gone, this means that any new projects that enter the pipeline will now have substantial requirements added to the contracts and we have already started to see these embedded within contracts. All of this presents new challenges to the industry.
As much of the industry became entrenched in trying to become BIM Level 2 compliant, many overlooked BIM Level 1 completely and unfortunately, it was at this level where the detail and the process is missing in most/many/some organisations. Without this essential “level” being adopted into the very DNA of an organisations values and employee’s skillset, BIM Level 2 is unlikely to leave the station with its carts in tow, resulting in fire control later down the line.
BIM level 1 can be mostly characterised as “Good Information Management”, which I am sorry to say our industry is very poor at when compared to other industries whom consider information a more valuable resource than their physical assets. Various reports have made reference to this fact, one of the most recent being the Government Construction Strategy. And even though this standard has been around since 2007, it was only when the government forced the issue that the industry took notice.
A phrase I hear many times when I speak to people in the industry about this issue is: “Are you serious? We implemented this years ago!” When I actually get to assess the claims in detail the fine cracks start to appear. Most that say this phrase usually believe it themselves and so are not lying as such but neglect to actually take the time to get embroiled in “Information Management” at project level and start to see where the big gaps in compliance are filled with ad-hoc resolutions and sticky tape.
The amount of times I have seen plans put into place to cover the requirements in BIM level 1 at the beginning of the project only to find it was a tick boxing exercise that no one ever really used or updated.
Don’t take Information Management for granted. Whether you’re a project director or a Chief Executive, every decision your business leads to making and losing money is based on some form of information. People only take notice when something goes wrong and if history has taught us anything, we should try to fix problems before they become so overly transparent that you have spent most of your time putting out the fire instead of preventing its occurrence, so get involved.
Use the standards at hand, and invest in its implementation. This includes training everyone on their importance and also getting dedicated information management teams in place to deal with the technicalities and detail.