19th May Journal Column

By Richard Waterhouse, Chief Executive of NBS

This week, NBS released their seventh National Building Information Modelling (BIM) Report, the first since the introduction of the UK Government’s BIM mandate in April last year. It’s great to see a lot of encouraging results, showing that the mandate has indeed given the industry a boost to adopt BIM level 2.

BIM adoption has reached a high point this year and BIM level 2 looks to be well established as the normal way of working for most practices to carry out their design work. Over 60% of respondents are now using BIM, up 8% from last year – the biggest recorded jump in BIM usage since the survey began in 2014. To change a relatively static industry like construction in such a short period of time is nothing short of astonishing and is best in class at a global level.

The design community is broadly supportive of the BIM mandate. Most feel the government is on the right track with BIM but the report shows, as with most things, there is still more work to do. Confidence in BIM as a skill is improving among the design team, 55% are now confident in BIM compared to 35% in 2012. Although a lot of work has already been done, there is still a number of people who need information, CPD and training. Whilst some clients lead the way on BIM, many others need further support and careful explanation of the process and its benefits – 72% of clients still don’t understand the benefits of BIM and this needs to change.

So, what’s next for BIM in the UK? In the next few years we can expect adoption and use to increase steadily, not just with existing designers adopting new, better ways of working, but those who have grown up online will expect to design within a collaborative digital working environment. Thinking about future use of BIM, 90% believe they will be using BIM next year and almost 95% of practices believe they will be within three years. While actions do speak louder than words, the rise to 60% BIM adoption over six years, makes me believe this is more than achievable.

The move to BIM level 2 is just the beginning, as the UK BIM mandate becomes embedded, thoughts are naturally turning to what comes next. The report hints at future technologies that will no doubt be significant to the industry: robotics, 3D printing, future cities and machine learning are definitely our future, and I for one can’t wait to see how things progress. We’ve come a long way since our first BIM report and I look forward to future developments, with the UK at the forefront of design innovation.

To read the full report visit www.thenbs.com/bimreport2017