18th March Journal Column

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

2016 seemed a long way off when the Level 2 BIM mandate was announced back in 2011, but here we are only 2 weeks away from the target date. We’ve had plenty of warning about the looming deadline, so are we all ready?
From 4 April 2016, the collaborative use of BIM Level 2 in all government procured buildings will become mandatory, with all asset information relating to a project becoming electronically shareable in a common environment – which basically means that projects using Level 2 BIM, at a minimum, are using 3D CAD models that have been developed by each design team and then these models must be shared in a common file format.
Since the government revealed this as part of its BIM Strategy, businesses within the industry have been scrambling to optimise their BIM capabilities since it’s something that is going to impact the whole supply chain.

However, following survey results in October 2015, which showed that many firms were nowhere near ready, I fear that many companies are going to get left behind.
As with anything, you only get out of the process what you put in and, as with any project, performance and dedication is critical for success. I’m not saying some companies haven’t tried, but those that have made the effort to bring their company, along with the industry, into the digital age, are those that will benefit in the long-term.
Let’s not forget that BIM is only a means to an end – the end being more effective communication on a project through collaborative working, which in turn should help reduce waste, cost and result in better project outcomes.
Fear not! – Help is still out there for those companies that are still struggling. The British Standards Institution is launching a new website on 4 April, which will become the official home of Level 2 BIM. The site will act as the source for all standards and official guidance associated with the new mandate.
Construction News has also carried out a survey to get a sense of where the industry is on its BIM journey. The results will be published at the end of April; and will show what people actually think and how many people in our industry can actually say they meet the new requirement.
There are some great examples of organisations using BIM well and in the North East, there are numerous SMEs using the technology to their full advantage, so let’s hope other companies have followed suit on a much wider scale. The North East should be able to use this mandate to their full advantage.
We’re holding an event with Generation4Change North East on Tuesday 22 March about BIM within business, BIM case studies and advice on how to support organisations.
To register please contact Leanne on 0191 5007880 or leanne@cene.org.uk