BIM becoming the norm, survey finds

Almost three-quarters of businesses using Business Information Modelling (BIM) say it has sharpened their competitive edge, according to new research.

The latest annual NBS National BIM Survey questioned more than 1,000 people from across the construction industry, including architects, engineers and surveyors. It found that 70 per cent of those using BIM said they believed it had given them a competitive advantage.

A total of 95 per cent of respondents were aware of BIM and more than half (54 per cent) were now using it, up 15 per cent on last year. A total of 93 per cent also predicted adoption by 2016, the date by which the government will require fully collaborative 3D BIM – with all-electronic project and asset information, documentation and data – as a minimum requirement on all government projects.

The survey, carried out by NBS, which specialises in providing technical information for construction industry professionals, also revealed that 58 per cent of respondents agreed that the government was “on the right track” with BIM.

Improvements in productivity, increased efficiencies, better coordination of construction information and higher profitability were all among the benefits cited by those that had adopted BIM.

The wider use of BIM is seen as crucial to the UK maintaining its reputation in architecture, design and engineering and its position as a leader in sustainable construction solutions. Essentially, BIM embeds key product and asset data about a project within 3D computer models that can be used for effective information management throughout the lifecycle of a construction project.

Benefits include being able to identify and address potential problems, which can save significant amounts of money for contractors in the long term by improving their ability to keep projects on budget and on time.

Richard Waterhouse, NBS chief executive, said: “What this report clearly shows is an industry in transition from the stage when the early adopters are taking the lead to a position where BIM is becoming the norm.

“This change has the potential to bring improved efficiencies and profitability to the construction sector, and better buildings to clients, something current users of BIM have reported in this survey.”

Last year, the Construction Industry Council published a standard BIM protocol for use in projects involving BIM, to help support this way of working.

While making only minimum changes necessary to most major standard forms of contract, the protocol is designed to be incorporated within contracts to enable building information models to be produced at defined stages of a project.

As BIM continues to evolve, and more construction sector businesses adopt the approach, Palmers Solicitors can advise and assist with related issues, including commercial agreements. For more information, please contact Adam Davis.