Economy and Infrastructure

26.02.18

BIM: Reaping the rewards

Source: PSE Feb/March 2018

Although austerity has been a barrier to adopting Building Information Modelling (BIM), continued investment in these tools can greatly benefit the public sector and its clients, writes Alan Muse, global director of built environment at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

In a divided political world, all are agreed that value for money in public spending is essential. Construction and facilities management, and related expenditure on professional fees, accounts for the largest category of procurement expenditure in local government. Hence, technological developments that improve efficiency and productivity in this industry, such as BIM and related developments, are significant.

Central government departments have already seen the potential and re-engineered their processes to support BIM. Evidence of the benefits can be seen by reviewing the trial projects, showing numerous time and cost savings. This change is sometimes not easy. It entails new forms of procurement, ensuring legal frameworks support a collaborative work environment and new thinking. Critically, it demands an informed and enthusiastic client to set the culture and aspirations for the whole team.

Of course, professionals support the client, particularly at the early stages of projects, and they need to be able to articulate the possibilities and benefits of using BIM. As a professional institution, therefore, we have worked closely with the government and other professional bodies to develop guidance and standards to support the use of BIM. We have separate guidance on BIM for chartered surveyors practising as project managers, quantity surveyors and building surveyors. Supporting this, and by collaborating with other global professional institutions, we have developed international data standards for the profession to support BIM. One example is International Construction Measurement Standards. In addition, we have developed numerous online training courses in BIM and our BIM Manager accreditation.

We have also worked with the Construction Industry Council (CIC) in developing interdisciplinary BIM guidance, such as the CIC BIM Protocol, to enable a supportive legal framework. Other government initiatives, such as the three new recommended procurement models, are also inextricably linked to enabling BIM.

Much talk about BIM is design-centric. If clients are to more clearly see the benefits, BIM needs to incorporate time, cost and operational impacts – and this is where most of RICS professionals operate. BIM will continue to be used in the construction phase, enabling contactors to contribute ‘as built’ data and add documents such as product warranties, and that it will go on to be a tool for asset managers, facilities managers and maintenance engineers during the operational phase. BIM should therefore facilitate early involvement of facilities managers to address lifetime operation and maintenance costs and ‘maintainability.’ BIM is also seen as key to more effective design for manufacture and assembly, and therefore to making off-site manufactured solutions more readily available.

Councils are generally enthusiastic about the potential of BIM, and a significant number are deploying it either in-house and/or via their procurements. Manchester’s £100m central library restoration and town hall extension project (pictured) is a well-known early example. BIM helped the council deliver this prestigious project, completed in March 2014, on time and under budget. Sandwell came to prominence as another early adopter with its plans to mandate BIM Level 2 on a Homes and Communities Agency-funded programme of building 2,000 new homes plus leisure centres, care homes and other public buildings. This includes inviting bids through virtual public viewing models in BIM.

However, as in so many respects, austerity has been an impediment to wider adoption. Investment in software tools and hardware upgrades plus change management, training and ongoing maintenance is required for in-house deployment (i.e. where the council has its own design practice). If BIM is mandated via procurement, the concern is that this will be reflected in higher fees/prices. Also, council construction client teams are frequently very thin these days, and this also impacts on their ability to adopt innovations such as BIM. On the supply side, regional and local contractors may also lack capacity.

So, is BIM a tool to prompt wider change in the industry, or will the wider changes enable BIM? Either way, a fragmented, information-intensive industry will greatly benefit from technological integration, and clients who spend significantly on construction are poised to reap the rewards providing they are brave enough to embark upon the first steps.

(Top image © George Sanden)

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION
W: www.rics.org

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Somerset council criticises financial resiliency index and media speculation on its finances

24/09/2018Somerset council criticises financial resiliency index and media speculation on its finances

Somerset County Council has expressed their concerns over the proposed financial resiliency index scheme, saying that “having a relative ra... more >
Edinburgh council plans out £30m cuts to tackle four-year £106m black hole

24/09/2018Edinburgh council plans out £30m cuts to tackle four-year £106m black hole

Edinburgh Council have announced a wave of consultations and set out their four-year plan to tackle their budget gap and growing strains on servi... more >
Cash-strapped Somerset council might still fail to set ‘sustainable budget’ despite massive cuts

24/09/2018Cash-strapped Somerset council might still fail to set ‘sustainable budget’ despite massive cuts

Somerset County Council might still fail to make sufficient savings to establish a “sustainable budget” even after the latest wave of... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
Somerset council criticises financial resiliency index and media speculation on its finances

24/09/2018Somerset council criticises financial resiliency index and media speculation on its finances

Somerset County Council has expressed their concerns over the proposed financial resiliency index scheme, saying that “having a relative ranking of all authorities” will not improve a... more >
Edinburgh council plans out £30m cuts to tackle four-year £106m black hole

24/09/2018Edinburgh council plans out £30m cuts to tackle four-year £106m black hole

Edinburgh Council have announced a wave of consultations and set out their four-year plan to tackle their budget gap and growing strains on services. The council are seeking resident’s... more >

the raven's daily blog

Social value: what is it and why?

14/09/2018Social value: what is it and why?

Ben Carpenter, chief executive of Social Value UK, discusses the worth of social value, and argues that, before we start measuring social value, we should ask clearly: what is it, and why? Social value is so much more than a value for money exercise. If you see social value as simply a new catchphrase for ‘efficiency savings’... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Crown Commercial Service: Travel solutions on track

10/09/2018Crown Commercial Service: Travel solutions on track

Katrina Williams, head of travel at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), explains how they are helping government organisations to get the best de... more >
LEPs need to do more for England's countryside

10/09/2018LEPs need to do more for England's countryside

Paul Miner, head of strategic plans and devolution at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), highlights the findings of a recent survey wh... more >
What about social care?

10/09/2018What about social care?

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, looks at the exclusion of social care from the government’s rece... more >
Re-evaluating public service reforms

10/09/2018Re-evaluating public service reforms

Chris Painter, professor emeritus at Birmingham City University, explores the paradox of reform principles persisting despite mounting evidence a... more >

interviews

Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

06/08/2018Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

Michael King first joined the Local Government Ombudsman service back in 2004 as deputy ombudsman. At the start of 2017, he was appointed as the ... more >
Helping a city understand itself

06/08/2018Helping a city understand itself

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The urban landscape is changing. How can local authorities keep up with citizen behaviour? Stephen Leece, managing directo... more >
Modern policing: the future is bright

06/08/2018Modern policing: the future is bright

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The public sector, and policing in particular, has often been criticised as being slow to adapt to change. But now, says L... more >
Data at the heart of digital transformation

03/04/2018Data at the heart of digital transformation

SPONSORED INTERVIEW Grant Caley, UK & Ireland chief technologist at NetApp, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the benefits of movin... more >

public sector focus

View all News