Collaborate to innovate, the opportunities of BIM


March 02, 2015 │ Bernadette Ballantyne │

The AMP6 start on 1 April 2015 is now less than a month away although with all the preparation it seems to have gotten underway already. Customer Service, efficiency and total expenditure (TOTEX) are common themes along with collaboration and innovation.

However a new dimension in AMP6 is Building Information Modelling (BIM) and we are developing our understanding of the value BIM can bring to the water sector.

The water sector delivers an essential customer service through the long term operation and management of assets. BIM with its focus on capital delivery as outlined in PAS1192-2, operations (PAS1192-3), collaboration (PAS1193-4) and security (PAS1192-5) has a lot to offer in delivering AMP6 success.

BIM in AMP5 has largely been deployed as pockets of excellence in capital delivery projects, there are some great individual exemplar projects however these often do not connect to the water company data systems. In AMP6 BIM has the potential to mature into a business as usual approach unleashing the asset management potential linking operations with  asset creation and capital maintenance. This embraces the full lifecycle in Asset Lifecycle Information Management (ALIM). BIM can be a catalyst to prompt a more mature asset management and information management approach which moves the water sector into the digital age.

A vital component of BIM is establishing the Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR), if done collaboratively as some alliances are doing the EIR can pull together the best industry knowledge to connect capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX).

If we are honest we all have a lot of digital data skeletons in the cupboard that have accumulated over recent decades as we have moved from a paper based world to a digital world. Siloed data, duplicated data, inaccessible data to name a few, often driven by functional or contractual separation. With a collaborative industry approach we can work together to eliminate these inefficiencies. BIM deployment will deliver most benefit in a collaborative environment where operations, construction, design, supply chain, procurement, IT, asset management, finance and any other groups that rely on asset data, work together.

Following on from the British Water BIM conference in April 2014, BIM4Water and British Water have set up four task groups to take on issues raised at the event. The Task Groups are addressing the following; The water sector business case for BIM; standard libraries; BIM case studies; communication and guidance. In the case of standard libraries this is connecting with BIM4 Manufacture and Manufacturing and other bodies to look at standard products and data.

The 2015 British Water BIM conference is taking place on 14 April at Aston Villa FC with the theme of “BIM Today, ALIM Tomorrow, Delivering a TOTEX Future”. The conference will explore how BIM can deliver real business benefits and contribute to the challenges we face in delivering a TOTEX future. BIM will encourage the industry to be more collaborative, this will challenge our current delivery and commercial models.

We will need to be more creative and more trusting if we are to reshape our industry. We will need to re-evaluate where real value is generated shifting the focus from short term CAPEX to long term TOTEX. BIM gives us the opportunity to collaborate, to rethink and innovate. Let’s embrace the opportunity BIM offers.

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