BIM D-Day Looms
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, the chances are you know about the impending government BIM reform. Numerous articles have been written about what BIM is, how it can save everyone in the construction chain money and ultimately how those that don’t adapt will be left behind. The deadline looms and is now less than 2 years away.
Scaremongering is rife but what is lacking is practical and sound advice on how to proceed as an AEC manufacturer. You have questions that need to be answered: How do I invest in BIM? Do I need to train my staff in BIM? What kind of return on investment am I looking at? How long will it take? Can I create BIM versions of my products by myself?
BIM adoption – far from uniform
So where are you in the global race to adopt BIM? Well, most accept BIM is the way forward for the construction industry, but there exist vast cultural differences when it comes to the uptake of the technology. Early adopters in the US and parts of Europe are already reporting a significant return on investment for BIM.
Some are being forced to change by law, as in the UK. This list also includes the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Norway – all of which will require the use of BIM on publicly-funded building projects by 2016.
Others are being encouraged more ‘gently’. The European Parliament recently voted to “encourage all European countries to recommend the use of electronic tools, including BIM, on public works contracts.”
As usual, Asia is steaming ahead. One UK construction expert recently lamented that “In Japan, modular construction is used on more than 50% of its buildings, while the UK uses it in less than five per cent.”
Who needs to know what about BIM?
When it comes to BIM uptake though, the real disparity is not geographical, it is between the actors involved in the construction chain. That’s somewhat ironic as the whole point of BIM is to enable manufacturers, architects, quantity surveyors, engineers, builders and owners to better communicate. By 2016, we are told, if any of these groups want to have a hand in lucrative public projects, they will all need to have a firm grasp of what BIM is and how to use it. BIM is no different to any other new technology in that some are more willing and able to get on board than others.
So here’s the good news for you as an AEC manufacturer. This really isn’t your problem because of all the actors in the chain, you have the most simple part to play in the whole reform process. All you need to do is to provide a BIM version or catalogue of your products. This is not only simple, you are the group most likely to see a return on investment. Why? well, a BIM catalogue will help you to promote and sell your products to the very people that prescribe them.
What’s the next step?
So you’ve accepted BIM is the way forward and you’ve decided to go ahead and create a BIM objects catalogue. You now have two options, outsource the process to a CAD and BIM objects expert manufacturer or attempt to create your catalogue yourself. Whichever option you choose, don’t forget that albeit the fact that more and more specifiers and AEC professionals use BIM. A BIM method is only mandatory in the public market. If 39% of architects knew about or were already using BIM in the UK in 2013 (according to the NBS) – this also means that the remaining 61% don’t use it yet. The US, which is a “ripe BIM market” had 60% of architects using BIM according to Autodesk’s report if this is what we can expect in 2016’s UK it still means that a big chunk of AEC professionals will never be BIM ready or at least will be extreme laggers. These architects and specifiers will continue using “traditional CAD” indefinitely and you, as an AEC manufacturer cannot allow yourself to ignore them. Make sure you’re not only BIM ready then. Make sure no matter which professionals using no matter which solution or method – has access to your catalogues.