By Gavin Bonner

No one denies that more needs to be done to invest in BIM training and skills throughout the supply chain, and that a lack of BIM-readiness is slowing adoption. This is to be expected: we’re talking about highly complex technologies and processes, and industry will not develop these overnight.

What is surprising is the number of respondents who say the UK is not a leader in BIM. While I can understand that people may be frustrated about the time it takes for organisations to adopt it, the BIM mandate is a beacon to many countries. On my travels – in the Middle East, the USA, China and Hong Kong, for example – I always hear the UK BIM mandate mentioned as a model for public sector construction projects, and we’ll soon see other countries copying our approach.

That said, it’s hard to dispute the NBS findings about lack of adoption or enforcing the mandate. A large majority of government departments are not BIM level 2-ready, and do not have in-house skills to manage this complicated process. This lack of skills and experience extends down the supply chain, where it most needed.

Education and upskilling is obviously an urgent priority but we also need to see further development of the beginning and end of the BIM process, so that we can help clients and the supply chain to understand the process better and the benefits that it will bring. This more than anything else will make investment in skills and training a priority among government departments and throughout the supply chain.

This is a critical moment for UK construction, with a number of strategic infrastructure projects including major investments in energy, rail, and housing. At the moment designers and contractors are driving the BIM process in the UK; however, for these mega-projects (and other smaller ones) to be a success, we need clearer direction, or we will end up with a fragmented workflow and greater confusion, undoing all the positive effects that the BIM mandate has brought so far.

You can visit the Cundall website for more information on Building Information Modelling (BIM)

This article was originally posted in Building Magazine on 26 May 2017

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