UK leads way on ‘new era’ for BIM

Building owners are increasingly recognising the value of building information modelling (BIM) in their projects, according to new US research.

Construction sector data and information specialists McGraw Hill Construction – now known as Dodge Data & Analytics – released a report titled The Business Value of BIM for Owners on 13 October, which suggests that that owners expect to rapidly grow their involvement with BIM. It found that:

  • 38 per cent of UK building owners and 40 per cent of US owners it questioned expect that more than 75 per cent of their projects will involve BIM in just two years
  • growth in the UK is being driven by a central government requirement to use BIM on all national public projects by 2016. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of UK respondents to the say this has a high impact on their use of BIM.

The report also found that the influence of the UK requirement was driving a much higher general level of involvement with BIM by owners than in the US. Most UK owners questioned (88 per cent) were formally measuring the impact of BIM, compared with only 18 per cent of US owners.

More UK owners agreed that they had experienced key BIM benefits, including enhanced visualisation, fewer problems due to design errors, coordination issues or construction errors, and a positive impact on project schedules and the control of construction costs.

The findings also revealed that UK owners were using BIM for facility management, extending the benefit of BIM throughout the building lifecycle:

  • 54 per cent of UK owners reported having a high capability to make use of BIM for building operations and facility management, compared with only 14 per cent in the US
  • by 2019, almost all (92 per cent) of UK owners expect to have a high capability to use BIM for building operations. In the US, only 49 per cent expected to be at that level.

Steve Jones, principal author of the report, said: “For as long as BIM has been used, practitioners have foreseen the potential value to owners of bringing the data-rich models developed by design and construction teams into owners’ facility management and operations environments. Recent advances in standards and technology are now putting this within reach of owners everywhere. We are at the beginning of an exciting new era for BIM.”

The survey findings were based on responses from 101 building owners in the US and 40 in the UK.

BIM works by providing a digital 3D image of the appearance of a building through each phase of construction. This enables project stakeholders to identify any potential obstacles that might occur during the build and make appropriate changes before work is started. This can save significant amounts of money for contractors in the long term by improving the ability to keep projects within budget, ensure on-time delivery and avoid any unforeseen setbacks.

At Palmers Solicitors, our dedicated experts can assist with commercial agreements and the drafting and negotiation of bespoke and precise contracts, to seek to ensure that delays and disputes are averted where possible.

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.