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The Problem with the UK’s BIM Strategy


The fundamental problem with the UK’s BIM Strategy is found within the following quotation “digital technology is changing the way we plan, build, maintain and use our social and economic infrastructure.”(Source: 2015, Level 3 Building Information Modelling – Strategic Plan,  HM Government).

Digital technology can not, and will not, change how the physical infrastructure is planned, built, or maintained.  History has taught us that technology, without a primary focus upon robust, proven processes/workflows and associated outcomes, does little but automate and perpetuate ‘ad-hoc’ inefficient methods.

The exact same situation has occurred here in the U.S., where BIM has stagnated due to an unfortunate focus upon 3D visualization versus building awareness and competency with respect to LEAN collaborative AEC/construction delivery methods.

Despite the obviously limited nature of our economic and environmental resources, a significant amount of waste associated renovation, repair, maintenance, sustainability, and new construction of buildings and infrastructure (dams, roads, utilities, airports, bridges…) continues unabated.

The barriers to positive change across the Real Property Owner and AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) sector remain strong.   The principle barrier is that Owners lack requisite education and awareness relative to sound life-cycle / total cost of ownership practices, and therefore are are incapable of leading efforts to improve productivity and mitigate waste.

The following aspects of LEAN Collaborative Construction Delivery Methodology, which have been present in Integrated Project Delivery – IPD, and Job Order Contracting – JOC for decades,  should be the primary teachings of educational institutions and professional training:

  1. Focus upon Outcomes
  2. Collaboration
  3. Financial Transparency
  4. Common terms, definitions, and data architectures
  5. Shared Risk/Reward
  6. Mutual Trust/Respect
  7. Ongoing Monitoring / Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  8. Continuous education, training, and improvement

Note that none of these require technology, although technology would certainly aid in lower the cost of consistent deployment.

Technical (Source: 2015, Level 3 Building Information Modelling – Strategic Plan,  HM Government)

1. Level 3 A (Enabling Improvements in the Level 2 Model)

a. Technical systems to enable requirements documentation and integrated working (in sector interoperability)

b. Technical systems to enable e-Planning and e-Regs

c. Complete the scope and package work for IFC data definitions

d. Complete the scope and package work for MVD process definitions

e. Update Level 2 dPoW system to support MVD process definitions

f. Define and deliver security capability and guidance

2. Level 3 B (Enable new technologies and systems)

a. Complete the scope and package work for UML (simple interface) definitions

b. Define and deliver Internet of Things data and process standards

c. Create and integrate common “apps” store capability with cross sector teams

d. Improve electronic survey capabilities and services for existing structures above and below ground

e. Deliver geotechnical capabilities

f. Complete tools and controls for “infrastructure” development and operation

3. Level 3 C (Enable the development of new business models)

a. Update Level 2 Classification system to support sematic web

b. Data streams and telemetry integration

c. Integration of security measures and protocols

d. Advanced analytics and algorithms

e. Integration to paperless contracts

f. Integration to people based security

g. Integration across associated sectors

h. Developments required for Semantic contracts (including provenance)

i. Establish and deliver methods to publish outcomes to

j. Establish cross sector interoperability requirements

4. Level 3 D (Become a world leader)

a. Deliver “English” language dictionary and ontology framework and methods

b. Provide international Internet of Things Standards

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