- Posted by Fawkes and Reece
- On 16th March 2017
The influence technology has on our day-to-day lives continues to increase, and the construction industry is not exempt from this trend. Building Information Modelling (BIM) underpins the use of technology to improve productivity in the construction sector. The industry, along with government has invested heavily in developing a world-class BIM capability, playing a key role in the delivery of projects at all levels including massive infrastructure projects like HS2 and Crossrail.
The Government is already planning the progression from Level 2 to Level 3, which is a component of their Digital Built Britain strategy, further enhancing the digitisation of the built environment. This will take place across four stages; enabling improvements in the Level 2 model, enabling new technologies and systems, enabling the development of new business models and capitalising on world leadership. Whilst it may be years away it demonstrates a clear intent and a direction for the industry.
The adoption of BIM has already delivered cost savings, with estimates from those associated with the BIM Task Group suggesting Level 2 implementation has delivered savings in the region of 20%. Even with this the jury remains out in some parts of the industry, so why are there still sceptics about?
Scale can sometimes be an issue. In housebuilding, the smaller nature of individual properties can mean BIM doesn’t offer the same advantages compared to large-scale developments.
Investment in programs and training can be substantial and as with most technology they are constantly evolving. There is also a range of different programs further complicating the decision-making process.
Change is never easy, especially in an established industry. The fact that BIM for many parts of the industry represents a revolution rather than evolution makes change even more daunting.
Compatibility presents another challenge. Construction projects are often collaborative ventures with different companies involved from design through to hand over and beyond. Each member of the supply chain could use different programs that are not always compatible.
On highly bespoke projects cost and time saving may not eventuate because of the lack of standardisation of elements and materials.
The need to embrace technology is crucial for the long-term success and efficiency of the construction industry. It is clear that BIM is creating an incredible advantage for construction companies. The UK Government has devoted a lot of time and effort since 2011 to create plans to support the development of the industry. Commitment to leading the way in the adoption of BIM looks to be a cornerstone of the Government’s construction agenda, especially as they have made Level 2 BIM a requirement on all projects with government funding.
At Fawkes & Reece our dedicated BIM recruitment team has been in place for several years, it is interesting that during that time some businesses have built a BIM team but a larger number are either only considering it in the future or have no current plans. This falls short of the expected demand and could potentially affect those company’s ability to meet the basics of Level 2 and take advantage of the improved coordination across projects and efficiency savings that BIM offers. There are always challenges with change, but as almost every part of the economy has needed to adapt to a digital world, so will every company within construction and the built environment.