“No-one denies that more needs to be done to invest in BIM training and skills throughout the supply chain, and that a lack of BIM-readiness is slowing adoption. This is to be expected: we’re talking about highly complex technologies and processes, and industry will not develop these overnight.
“What is surprising is the number of respondents who say that the UK is not a leader in BIM. While I can understand that people may be frustrated about the time it takes for organisations to adopt it, the government’s BIM mandate is something of a beacon to many other countries. On my travels around the world – in the Middle East, the US, China and Hong Kong, for example – I always hear the UK BIM mandate mentioned as a model for public sector construction projects, and we’ll shortly see other countries copying our structured approach.
“That said, it’s difficult to dispute the NBS findings about the lack of adoption or enforcing the mandate. This isn’t surprising: a large majority of UK government departments are not BIM Level 2-ready, and do not have in-house skills to manage this complicated process. This lack of skills and experience extends down the supply chain, where it most needed.
“The result is that important parts of the process are being neglected: for example, Employers Information Requirements (EIRs) are not being created, or incorrectly used; the same goes for Asset Information Requirements, which leads to a lack of understanding from all parties about how BIM can be used post-construction.
“Education and upskilling is obviously an urgent priority; but we also need to see further development of the beginning and end of the BIM process, so that we can help clients and the supply chain to understand the process better and the benefits that it will bring. This more than anything else will make investment in skills and training a priority among government departments and throughout the supply chain.
“This is a critical moment in for construction in the UK, with a number of strategic infrastructure projects including major investments in energy, rail, and housing. At the moment it’s designers and contractors who are driving the BIM process in the UK; however, for these megaprojects (and other smaller ones) to be a success, we need clearer direction, or we will end up with a fragmented workflow and greater confusion, undoing all the positive effects that the BIM mandate has brought so far.”