BIM post-mandate: Where do we go from here? 

Date: 20 September 2016

Now that the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2 is mandatory on all centrally procured public sector construction projects, many are asking what’s next. 

While firm decisions have yet to be made, there are some clues as to where we are headed: 

1. BIM and the private sector

As the industry becomes more familiar with using BIM Level 2 in public sector projects, it is likely there will be a much greater adoption of BIM in the private sector. Once the infrastructure and knowledge is in place, architects and builders will be much more comfortable working closely with their partners on new projects. This will encourage them to use BIM on all of their projects, regardless of whether it’s a legal requirement. 

2. BIM Level 3

Now that Level 2 has been reached, the Government has started to take steps to introduce a similar mandate within the next few years for BIM Level 3, having already setting aside funds to promote Level 3 adoption in the sector. 

Unlike BIM Level 2, where each partner uses its own 3D CAD models, under Level 3 all parties will use and feed into a single, shared project model held in a centralised repository. This level of collaboration will, no doubt, go a long way towards optimising efficiency in building construction, but companies’ concerns about the risk of copyright infringement under Level 3 presents a barrier to uptake. If the industry is to reach this next step, the Government will have to take measures to put these worries to rest, and to encourage a change of mind set among professionals towards more co-operative working. 

3. Education and training

To further improve collaboration under BIM Level 2, and help pave the way for Level 3, changes to the way the builders and architects of the future are educated will be key. This doesn’t just mean teaching people how to use CAD models, or how to update them with new data when necessary, but also working to foster a culture of collaboration between partners to ensure everyone involved in a project is comfortable sharing information with each other. It will also be crucial to provide extra training for current professionals to give them the skills they need to thrive in the changing construction environment. 

Looking forward

It’s too early to tell how successful the current BIM mandate will be. Whatever happens in the next few years though, it’s crucial that everyone in the industry looks at the BIM processes they already have in place to determine where further improvements can be made to prepare themselves for new challenges in future. 

You can find out more information about BIM Level 2 on the National BIM Library website. 

Max Godley, BIM & Digital Technical Support Manager, British Gypsum

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