Building services sector not BIM-ready

New research has found that fewer than 1 in 6 firms in the building services sector are ‘fully ready’ to use Building Information Modelling (BIM), despite the government deadline for the mandatory use of BIM level 2 for all centrally procured projects being less than six months away.


Chris Meir, sales director at Andrews Water Heaters, says manufacturers will play a key role in tackling the issue.


Research released by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) last week tells a worrying story, highlighting that with just a few months to go, only 16% of building firms surveyed are ready for BIM level 2. Despite that, nearly two thirds of the respondents said that BIM level 2 will be ‘good for the sector’.


The fact is that firms who are fulfilling the standard tendering requirements for centrally procured public projects will fall short if they are not properly equipped. It’s worth remembering too that while government requirements have kick-started digital construction as a staple way of working, this is just the beginning for BIM. With estimates that its use could cut capital building costs by around 20 per cent, in the long-term we can expect BIM to become standard practice for local government and private sector projects.


So what is it that is causing this disparity when it comes to investing in something that will open the door to new business in the long term?


Without properly engaging with BIM, and understanding specific requirements for data exchange during design and construction, there is a risk that small and medium size businesses (SMEs) could be tempted to buy into software solutions which may not be necessary, depending upon their role in the project.


There remain concerns too as to how smaller contractors will fulfil the level of training and investment required to meet BIM requirements. When it comes to BIM, collaboration is king, but with the adoption of new ways of working comes a serious time commitment, which is likely to weigh more heavily on businesses with less internal resource. One solution could be guidelines for compliance to help SMEs better understand the requirements, and manage the impact on their business.


While awareness is fairly high, the main players in the sector clearly have a journey ahead before they will be ready for the government’s BIM deadline. By working together, manufacturers can support all areas of the industry in being prepared for the changes, helping them to reap the rewards as a result.


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2 November 2015


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