BIM, or Building Information Modelling, for those that have not come across the term before, is the collaborative use of a 3D model, that allows everyone from an architect, engineer and consultant through to a manufacturer, ground worker and site manager to input their own sets of data. This data can then be scrutinised for errors, costs can be easily calculated, and most importantly, significant problems can be detected early on in the design and construction process, saving time and money.
The UK Government, spearheaded by the 'BIM Task Group' has insisted that every centrally funded project is to be BIM Level 2 compliant by 2016. Their intention through the programme is to 'signifanctly improve the costs, value and carbon performance' of construction projects.
BIM Level 2 means that not only are all documents shared between stakeholders, but they are also all required to be of the same file format that is universally accessible. This effectively means that an architect or a door manufacturer should be able to open, update and share every single bit of data related to the project. Learn more about the different levels of BIM from the official website.
There are possible implications in making this a requirement for a project however, as some smaller construction companies will undoubtedly have less success with public sector projects at tender stage as they do not have necessary level of BIM co-ordination needed. This is because there is cost implications and time needed to develop the skills required by employees to use the necessary software to an effective standard.
Although this will now be required from 2016 it was actually first published by BIS back in 2011. The question is; has 4 years been enough time to prepare, and is the industry willing to make this significant change to the way a construction project is undertaken?