Ahead of the Game


Adrian MallesonRIBA Enterprises: The government mandate, which requires the use of collaborative 3D BIM for all centrally procured buildings by 2016, is only a few months away. What is your assessment of BIM at the moment, and the standing of the mandate? Are we confident the government and industry are ready?

Sarah DavidsonGleeds Property & Construction Consultancy: I think the mandate has been issued with the best of intentions, but my concern is that the industry is not yet clear on how it will be implemented.

David MillerDavid Miller Architects:  Whatever happens next year, the mandate has given a real emphasis to BIM in the UK. Whether on 6 April they will ask for it specifically, I don’t know.

Mick GoodeCroft Goode Architects: There’s real ambiguity. ‘Centrally procured’? What does that mean – you could drive a horse and cart through it. With the range of funding mechanisms for buildings, and the blurring of the distinction between private and public sectors, it’s hard to know when something is publicly funded. If there’s no stick to enforce the mandate, we could be losing a real opportunity.

Steve LockleyNorthumbria University: If contractors refuse to adhere to the mandate, what then? What would change – the contractors or the mandate?

DM Yes, the mandate is unclear. Take the Ministry of Justice, and Defence. These carry out some of the biggest centrally procured projects. But they are necessarily bound by secrecy and confidentiality. We can’t talk about their projects, and they can’t have a common data environment.

MG What I’m seeing is clients doing it because of the benefits they see, not just because of the mandate.

DM Yes, clients are choosing what they need for their projects – and that’s increasingly BIM

SL It’s because the market is seeing the value of collaborative BIM.

David Shepherdauthor of the BIM Management Handbook: Where a disruptive technology emerges – and BIM is a disruptive technology – its effects on the mainstream is not always clear. What we might be seeing is the early stages of disruption, and in those early stages it’s very difficult to know what the effects will be. We don’t have the breadth of vision to see where, and for whom, the benefits of BIM will emerge.

AM: That brings us on to Level 3 BIM. While it's not yet clearly described, do people see the current mandate as just a point on the way to Level 3? And what will Level 3 BIM mean?

DM Well, to get to Level 3, we first have to get to Level 2, but putting that aside…

DS For us to move up the BIM levels we need to start thinking about what the advantages of sharing information are for each party.

Elizabeth KavanaghStride Treglown: Knowledge is power, but with Level 3 BIM, power will lie in the ability to effectively share information, not in the ability to hoard it. Level 3 BIM will be about sharing the gain in a project, not allocating blame.

DS  It’s early days, of course. The in-use model needs to improve over a number of years. A designer needs to be accountable – and held accountable – for the design. This could be in energy performance, for example, but the performance requirements will vary significantly by building type.

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