Construction Industry ‘not Ready’ For BIM

Just 10 per cent of the construction industry is ready for the Government’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) level 2 mandate, according to the 2016 NBS National BIM Survey.

The mandate, which came into force today, requires the implementation of BIM at Level 2 on all centrally-procured public sector projects.

More than 1,000 construction professionals took part in the survey, which was conducted between December 2015 and February 2016.

But despite revealing an increase in the uptake of BIM, the survey showed confusion still remains around the mandate.

Now in its sixth year, the NBS National BIM Survey provides the most comprehensive and up to date picture of BIM (Building Information Modelling) implementation within the UK construction industry.

The good news is that in the five years since the former chief construction adviser, Paul Morrell, set course for Level 2 BIM as part of the Government’s construction strategy, awareness of BIM has become almost universal at 96 per cent, compared to 2011 when 43 per cent of those questioned in the very first NBS National BIM Survey said they did not know what BIM was.

This year’s survey has measured the construction industry’s current adoption of BIM at 54 per cent, up from 48% last year, with 86 per cent of those respondents who are aware of BIM expecting to be using it by this time next year and 97 per cent within five years.

In a further boost to the Government’s BIM strategy, almost three quarters of those surveyed (73 per cent) agreed that BIM is the future of project information in construction and a similar percentage (75 per cent) agreed that they were clear that they needed to use BIM for public sector work.

However, in terms of being ‘BIM ready’, a significant number of those surveyed, 41 per cent, said that they were not clear on what they have to do to comply with the BIM mandate, with only 10 per cent believing that the construction industry is now ready to deliver on the Government’s 2016 requirements. More than a quarter of respondents (28 per cent) feel they lack skills and knowledge, describing themselves as “not very” or “not at all” confident when it comes to BIM.

The majority of construction professions do though appear to understand the government motives for pushing BIM and believe it will help deliver specific targets of the construction strategy, such as faster delivery and lower costs.

The findings revealed that 57 per cent believe BIM will help to halve the overall programme, from inception to completion, for new build and refurbished assets. In addition, 63 per cent agreed that BIM will help deliver the targeted reduction of a third in the initial cost of construction and the whole life cost of built assets.

For this to happen, the survey suggests more needs to be done to generate greater collaboration and ensure BIM is not restricted to the design stage.

Just over a third (37 per cent) of construction professionals said they had used BIM models from the start of a project to its very end and only 16 per cent had passed on a model to those responsible for the management of a building. There was also widespread agreement (65 per cent) that BIM is not yet standardised enough, with fewer people overall using the standards that have been created than have adopted BIM.

In terms of client demand for BIM, the majority of BIM users (70 per cent) are of the opinion that clients will ‘increasingly insist’ upon it, with nearly two thirds (64 per cent) agreeing that adopting BIM had given them competitive advantage.

Of those yet to be converted to BIM, the majority (55 per cent) expressed concern that they will be ‘left behind’ if they don’t adopt. Half of this number felt BIM was too expensive to consider at this moment in time, a response consistent with previous years’ findings where cost has been identified as a barrier to increased BIM adoption.

New to this year’s NBS National BIM Survey is a geographical breakdown, which reveals that the UK’s BIM hotspots, in terms of adoption, are London and the North East as well as Northern the UK and Wales.

“We believe this survey provides the most comprehensive analysis of the state of BIM within UK construction at a pivotal moment in its development,” said Adrian Malleson, Head of Research, Analysis & Forecasting at NBS.

“Overall, the findings suggest that the Government’s strategy seems to be working and that its BIM mandate for publicly-funded work will go on to influence work in the private sector.

“The extent to which it does and the pace at which this happens will be predicated on companies and individuals acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge to open up new ways of working.

“Reliable and readily available sources of information are out there so for those construction professionals looking to become more confident about BIM, help is at hand.”

This summary of findings is taken from the NBS National BIM report 2016 which will be published this month.

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Last Updated on April 24, 2021
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