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Building Information Modelling - Are You Ready?

Amongst the 60 or so recommendations that came out of the Review of Scottish Public Sector Procurement in Construction, recommendation 8.6.13 states that,“Where appropriate, construction projects across the public sector in Scotland adopt a BIM level 2 approach by April 2017”.This follows the UK Government requirement to adopt Level 2 BIM for all public sector construction projects by April 2016.

As Scotland moves towards a digital built environment, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is seen as a key tool for the Scottish construction industry going forward. BIM uses digital technology to improve the sharing and analysis of data at both the construction and operational phases of projects. Improving data management and collaboration within projects will help industry support the delivery of greater efficiencies through the design, construction and operational stages of a project.

So what exactly is Level 2 BIM?

The UK BIM Taskgroup defines Level 2 BIM as:

“A file-based collaboration and library management process. Level 2 BIM maturity can be achieved through a series of different processes and tools. Crudely defined, Level 2 BIM is a series of domain specific models (e.g. architectural, structural, services etc) with the provision of a single environment to store shared data and information.”

This is consistent with the intentions of the Scottish BIM Implementation Plan, launched on the 8th October this year. In order to implement BIM Level 2, the plan considers the current BIM maturity of the Scottish public sector, the criteria to establish which projects should adopt BIM level 2 by April 2017 and finally how this will be implemented through a combination of focused actions. The plan adopts the approach that the implementation of BIM within Scotland should align and build upon the existing British Standards and draw from work already undertaken nationally and internationally.

Having defined what BIM is, it’s also important to define what BIM is not. It’s not just 3D modelling. BIM extends into 4D and 5D information fields and once you understand what BIM is not, it becomes easier to understand the real benefits associated with its adoption. The building information model can reflect many aspects of the actual life cycle of a building. It can start at pre-design and extend throughout the design, bidding, construction, occupancy and finally decommissioning of the building.

One of the greatest values of BIM is the retention of information, with the opportunity for continual evolution and communication of the underlying data. Under this premise, information is produced once and shared many times. The repetition of requesting, assembling and transmitting ofinformation between team members at the various stages of a model’s life can be greatly reduced or eliminated using BIM. This results in better communication among team members and more timely responses to owner concerns or suggestions.

Sharing data for analysis and simulation is the foundation of BIM. The potential for expanding the amount and types of project analysis is huge. Examples of this can range from early analysis of building energy efficiency during the conceptual stage, to structural/mechanical/electrical load analysis during design, early clash detection between structural elements and building services, shop drawing review/fabrication during construction, or even facility asset management during occupancy.This approach is known as Government Soft Landings and is about adopting a mind-set and a process to align design and construction with operational asset management and purpose. This alignment means that the needs of the end-user, will be considered and addressed throughout the design process. Designers and contractors will be involved with the building beyond its construction completion to ensure that handover becomes a smooth process, operators are trained, and optimum performance outcomes become a focus of the whole team.

BIM Implementation in Scotland is being led by the Scottish Futures Trust. The timeline for implementation looks like this:

The details behind each of the Horizons can be found on the Scottish Futures Trust website, but we’ll look at them in more detail during subsequent articles. Progress against the delivery of the plan will be monitored by the Scottish BIM Delivery Group, which reports to the Construction Review Delivery Group.SELECT is part of the BIM Supplier Group Scotland (SGS). The BIM SGS is a forum of supply side organisations, institutes and other bodies. It provides a vehicle for the Scottish BIM Delivery Group to deliver updates on progress and information as it arises. This forum is tasked with providing feedback, disseminating information through its organisations and acting as a communication platform to the Scottish supply chain. The BIM SGS is a collaboration of contractors, consultants and supplier professional bodies that will champion the Scottish BIM strategy in their respective specialist areas and communities. Their purpose is to raise awareness of the BIM strategy, promote a shared understanding of its value proposition and raise potential issues affecting the implementation of the BIM strategy in their respective areas of interests.

Anyone wanting to know more about BIM in Scotland should contact me directly on

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