Geo Week News

August 21, 2013

Britain's construction industry not ready for BIM


New industry BIM survey shows ‘much confusion about what exactly it is’

Clients of Britain’s building and construction industry are “lacking a drive” toward implementing BIM (Building Information Modeling), according to a new survey by the National Federation of Builders (NFB).

The survey’s results showed a “cynicism” across the SME (small- and medium-sized enterprises) sector that BIM would be adopted by local authorities and procurement hubs, very often their traditional marketplace. As a result, the country’s contractors are less inclined to invest in BIM training to develop their own capabilities.

The issue is an important one given the U.K. government’s recently launched Industrial Strategy for Construction – A Vision for 2025, which requires using BIM as a standard across all centrally funded government projects by March 31, 2016. That’s sure to create big changes in the way public sector clients procure construction projects.

The survey of clients was conducted earlier this year, and followed up NFB’s 2012 survey of contractors to assess BIM readiness of the country’s construction industry with a particular focus on small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). At the time, the contractors survey showed that the industry had a long way to go to comply with the government mandate of BIM Level 2 as a minimum on all government-funded projects by 2016.

Now, results from both surveys reveal neither contractors nor clients “are prepared or ready enough for the advent of BIM,” the NFB said. “BIM is the future of construction, but there is still much confusion about what exactly it is and how it should be utilized and implemented.”

The client survey results indicate that:

  • There is not a substantial difference between the contracting and public client sector in terms of BIM readiness and use
  • A lack of understanding is a barrier to both demand and adoption of BIM
  • Both sectors perceive the potential benefits of BIM

While more than 50 percent of clients surveyed said they expected potential businesses that they contract with to have BIM as a core competency. Many, however, highlighted a need for themselves to understand BIM before they could expect potential contractors to have the competency.

The overwhelming majority of clients responding to the survey said that they had not yet asked about BIM experience in pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQ) or invitations to tender (ITT) when procuring suppliers.

So, how long will it take clients to adopt BIM processes into their projects?

  • 30 percent responded within the next three months
  • 40 percent said within six months
  • 50 percent said within the coming year
  • 62 percent said they would be adopting BIM within two years

NFB Client Survey results are  is available on the NFB Training website.

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