Industry falling short of mandatory BIM target, says UK Construction Week

Three quarters of construction professionals do not believe the industry is ready to meet mandatory BIM Level 2 requirements by 2016, according to research conducted by UK Construction Week in partnership with BRE, the leading authority on the built environment.

Just over 74 percent of respondents think the industry will fall short of this target, which is due to come into effect for all procurement projects from central government and its agencies next year. Worryingly, a further 62 percent of respondents replied that they do not understand what is needed in order to meet the requirements of BIM Level 2.

The research, which questioned more than 1,200 architects, contractors, developers, engineers and product manufacturers about their experiences of BIM, revealed a number of uncertainties throughout the industry. In particular, the results uncovered a tension between the expectations of the specification community and the perceived demand for BIM-compliant products by manufacturers and suppliers.

Nearly 71 percent of the non-manufacturing respondents believe that suppliers are not moving quickly enough to provide BIM ready information. This figure appears to be borne out by the survey results, with two thirds of the building product manufacturers contacted by UK Construction Week stating their products are not yet available as BIM objects. Conversely though, when questioned about the main obstacle to creating BIM-ready components, 41 percent of manufacturers said there is simply not enough demand for this from their customers.

Looking at the barriers to more widespread adoption of BIM and the most-cited challenges are a lack of in-house expertise (25 percent), inadequate understanding within the supply chain (15 percent) and limited time to commit to training (14 percent.) Overwhelmingly, 96 percent of respondents replied that there is a need for greater support and training in BIM. Interestingly though, only 23 percent of respondents admitted to actively seeking out employees with existing BIM skills, while the remainder either do not have the requirement for this yet or are prepared to provide training to new recruits.

Overall however, acceptance and adoption of BIM does appear to be on the increase, with the majority (85 percent) of respondents claiming that its introduction is a positive development for the industry. Only 16 percent of the sample have never used BIM and have no plans to do so, while the remainder are already active or are preparing to embark on BIM projects in the near future.

Paul Oakley Associate Director at BRE commented:

“The creation of accurate, complete and unambiguous information delivered from a single source is a fundamental principle of BIM. It is therefore somewhat ironic that the industry has to struggle with multiple sources and levelled information in order to ascertain the requirements for BIM Level 2.”

Richard Morey, Group Event Director at Media 10, the event company behind UK Construction Week, commented:

“It’s interesting that the survey results have revealed such a gulf between the expectations and reality of BIM implementation. It’s clear that there’s still a high level of confusion about what’s needed across the industry and there’s an obvious thirst for high quality information and training – which is exactly what we are aiming to provide through the dedicated BIM Prospects Theatre at UK Construction Week, in conjunction with BRE.”

Hosted as part of the Build Show, the BIM Prospects Theatre will feature a packed programme of seminar content examining how BIM can increase efficiencies, save time and reduce costs. Topics covered will include: practical deliver of COBie, delivery of International Foundation Class (IFC), making BIM work for product manufacturers, classification of products and making sure your business is ready for BIM Level 2.

In addition, the main UK Construction Week stage will bring the entire show programme to a close on Thursday 8th October with a panel discussion about the outlook for BIM in the UK. Featuring influential speakers including Sasha Read from Bluebeam Software, Paul Oakley from BRE and BuildingSMART UK and Andy Sneyd from Laing O’Rourke, the debate will take a close look at how BIM is being implemented in practice across the industry.

Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 6 – 8 October, UK Construction Week combines nine shows under one roof, uniting 1,000 exhibitors with an expected audience of 55,000 visitors. Visitors will be able to attend the Build Show incorporating Civils Expo, Timber Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2015, Kitchens & Bathroom Live, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2015, Smart Buildings 2015 and Grand Designs Live.