Government to set up BIM hubs to ease problems

16 March 2012

Main contractors are to be invited to join regional BIM “hubs”, bringing together the industry and public sector clients to iron out implementation problems as the industry gears up to meet the government's BIM challenge.

Meanwhile, civil servants will share BIM expertise at cross-departmental workshops, which will cover subjects such as how to brief for BIM.

And a new micro-site dedicated to communicating the lessons learned from the first wave of BIM-compliant pilot projects will soon be set up. The site will publish key performance indicators from the projects on issues such as design clashes and the number of requests for information.

The initiatives were outlined by David Philp, head of BIM implementation at the Cabinet Office, at a meeting organised by software supplier Tekla. His presentation came as the first Ministry of Justice contracts mandating the use of BIM went out to tender at the end of February. 

Philp, who is on secondment from Balfour Beatty, urged the industry to focus on small, achievable steps rather than being distracted by visions of BIM revolutionising the industry.

“People are thinking far into the future about what we're not ready for, when what we need is explicit conversations about what people need to do now,” he said.

But he added that he was confident there are sufficient Tier 1 and Tier 2 contractors ready to deliver BIM projects to ensure the MoJ contracts are subject to robust competition.

The pilot projects will be expected to demonstrate Level 2 BIM — which all public sector projects are expected to meet by 2016. Essentially, this means that the various design disciplines create their own 3D design models, but these are then shared by a collaborative project team.

Philp said Level 2 is well within the industry's capabilities: “The design models [for the projects] are built, and in terms of the insurance and legal questions, not much changes — suitable contracts already exist.”

He added that subcontractors lower down the supply chain should not feel excluded as they can simply add their data to the project BIM model via a standard spreadsheet.

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