Edward Arnold, BIM Coordinator at the UK’s leading specialist building envelope contractor Prater, discusses the potential hurdles to further BIM adoption, and how the supply chain can work together to truly maximise the benefits.
Anyone keeping up with industry news will know BIM has been a hot topic in the first half of 2016. From April this year, BIM Level 2 has been an official requirement on all centrally procured public sector developments. Main contractors on private large-scale developments are also increasingly looking for supply chain partners with full BIM capability – particularly as designs for the building envelope become more technically complex.
Adding to this is the government’s Construction 2025 strategy, which includes targets of 50% faster delivery of buildings from inception to completion and a 33% reduction in the cost of buildings both during construction and throughout its lifecycle. Getting the BIM process right will go a long way to achieving this, both in terms of speeding up the design and planning phase as well as addressing potential issues before construction begins.
At Prater, the development of our BIM and digital engineering capabilities have been a key part of our strategy, and working with our supply chain to help improve their own understanding of BIM continues to be a central part of this process.
What we need from our Supply Chain
The real benefits of BIM come from spatial allocation, forward planning and analysis of the building’s components and construction phasing. Allowing potential issues such as design clashes and trade coordination to be identified quickly, means that the time consuming and costly rework can be avoided once the build begins. For construction projects – this is invaluable.
It is also important to consider the correct level of model definition required at each work stage of the asset lifecycle. Having project wide clarification of the defined model elements, associated level of detail and information enables the smooth transition from the 3D environment to the construction reality and operational phases of the asset.
Where BIM objects lack the required level of detail and information, additional work is often required to integrate them into the BIM model. From our perspective, elements from product suppliers that can be seamlessly incorporated into the models with no reworking will improve the efficiency of the process and accelerate the design and procurement phase of the project. This is why we work closely with our key supply chain partners to ensure that the BIM objects they develop meet the industry requirements.
Fundamentally, early involvement and good communication between our project teams and suppliers is vital to ensure the success of a build. The ongoing evolution of BIM is putting added emphasis on full collaboration. This is only going to become more important and increasingly necessary as the industry sets its sights on ‘Open BIM Level 3’ projects enabling the full collaboration between all disciplines by means of a single shared model.