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UK Market Report 2014

Crystal ball

 The Year of Level 2 BIM

Regular readers of this publication will be familiar with UK government plans to adopt BIM as its vehicle of choice. BIM implementation facilitates the realization of numerous inherent operational and efficiency gains. Major progress in BIM adoption already achieved in 2014, has been due in no small part to the completion of the Level 2 project, which began in 2011. This article reviews the aims of the Level 2 project and explains the legacy it leaves behind. It describes what it means to the industry in general and Solibri in particular. Finally, a modicum of crystal ball gazing reveals what could happen next. David Philp Head of BIM Implementation for the UK BIM Task Group believes “by the end of 2014 Level 2 BIM processes and documentation will be complete and form a new industry standard for the UK to exploit.”

History of Level 2 BIM

In the early summer of 2011, a defining document was issued by the UK Government - ‘BIM Management for value, cost & carbon improvement. A report for the Government Construction Client Group - Building Information (BIM) Working Party’. This Strategy Paper informed the construction industry regarding a new way of working in government procured projects. It laid out a set of guidelines explaining how this would be achieved. Central to the strategy was the adoption of collaborative working practices, effectively driven by adopting BIM process and technology. The target was to achieve a level of process maturity defined as ‘Level 2 BIM’. The target date for all government departments’ projects to achieve this level of maturity on projects is 2016. For most of the UK construction industry, this meant a radical re-think of their working practices. The onus for early implementation fell onto large Tier 1 contractors.

The Legacy

The work of the initial BIM Task Group (whose responsibility it has been to introduce Level 2 BIM) is almost complete – in fact the group will be disbanded during Q1 2015. The legacy it leaves behind consists of a number of standards and guidelines, driven by the core standard BSI B/555. The legacy package is made up of the following:

What this means for UK industry

The government is the single largest client body in the UK – estimates indicate around 40% of all UK construction and infrastructure is central/local government procured. Given that a very high proportion of constructors, consultants and their supply chains, are involved in government projects, (directly or indirectly); BIM strategy has begun to transform the industry. At present the main changes are evident in larger companies, but for these businesses to successfully deploy BIM, they have to find ways to integrate their supply chains into the process. Consequently, the demand for BIM knowledge and solutions from the SME community is growing. There have also been major changes in the way government departments procure construction projects. The need to supply accurate handover data, (COBie and Soft Landings), is of paramount importance. Significantly, there is a growing realization that whilst BIM has the potential to significantly increase efficiency over the entire construction life-cycle, this can only be achieved if the vastly increased amount of project data [that BIM provides] is of a high quality. If it isn’t, then the BIM process can potentially create more problems than it solves. ‘Validation’ and ‘Quality Assurance’ are a necessity.

What this means for Solibri

With the unique features of Solibri Model Checker, it is not surprising that the leading players are looking to Solibri to provide a solution. The credibility of Solibri is further enhanced by its involvement with and support of field trials, government committees and national bodies (such as buildingSMART, RIBA and Constructing Excellence). Client bodies are beginning to understand that, if in addition to the generic SMC rule sets, rules are created for their specific construction needs, then ‘Validation’ and ‘Quality Assurance’ requirements can be met. As a result, the UK is experiencing an unprecedented expansion in interest for SMC. This is reflected in a parallel growth of sales – SMEs, Nationals and Corporates. As more projects and users specify SMC or issue Solibri specific project rule sets, this growth is set to continue.

Moving forward

Other countries are now scrutinising the steps UK government has taken. The EU in particular has indicated that elements of the UK strategy will be adopted in its forward plans. It is clear that the influence and effect of the UK market on its European neighbors should not be underestimated. Wider international markets are also not immune. The next major milestone in the UK is the creation and implementation of a Digital Plan of Works (DPoW). This encompasses the fully funded development of a ‘free to use’ digital tool to enable exploitation of the publicly available Level 2 legacy documentation and strategies. The DPoW will be available in the UK by Q2 2015. Funding has been agreed, in principle, to expand the offering to the EU – and beyond. Then of course there is Level 3 – full exploitation of the multi-domain or federated model. This is now being defined in the UK and will be a major leap forward from Level 2 BIM process. It will happen - sample projects should appear during 2015. Needless to say, Solibri will be involved.