Putting the 'I' into BIM
Richard Waterhouse, Chief Executive of RIBA Enterprises, introduces the Building Information Modelling Report March 2011. This in-depth research was conducted by NBS to discover the extent to which BIM is already used within the UK construction industry, what people think of it, and its future development and use.
This is the first 'NBS BIM Report' in what will be a series of reports on the adoption of what we currently call 'BIM' or Building Information Modelling. These reports will track changes in attitudes towards BIM as well as implementation within the industry. They will act as a reference point for the industry to share success and to highlight areas of developmental need. Ultimately, they will also strip away much of the hype and hysteria around BIM to provide detailed answers to important issues including Return on Investment.
Searching for a definition of BIM, it is clear that there are many views as to what BIM is. Incorrectly seen as a technological solution to CAD integration, BIM places the effective use and exchange of 'Information' at its heart. As a result, BIM will have an impact on most areas of business management and operation. It will revolutionise methods of working and fundamentally redefine the relationships between construction professionals. It will challenge current thinking on contracts and insurance and most importantly, it will support the integration of the design and construction teams.
Whilst such fundamental changes should be high on the agenda for all professionals, the NBS research indicates that this is not the case. There are distinct areas of expertise developing in many organisations and they are already challenging current methods of working. However, there is a risk that many others will be left behind as other organisations fail to achieve the returns required for investment in both technology and training.
For organisations looking to justify investment in this area, they would be well served by looking beyond their own systems to those of their partners. As the sharing of data increases, standardisation of systems and processes will become more important. They should also look at the services they can offer. Costs of investment could be more than covered as the information systems allow for other new service options to be provided. The latter issue on training has been covered by a small number of forward thinking universities. These agile academic institutions will provide many of the experts that the industry will need to evolve.
So where does NBS fit into this new world? Our aim is to focus on the centre of BIM, placing 'Information' at the heart of the construction process. We will show that there is much more to BIM than enhanced visualisation and automatic scheduling! We will provide the information needed to improve decision making at each stage of the construction and operation process, as well as developing libraries of data that will support this information revolution. We will also be providing guidance and links to other published sources of knowledge that will support the idea of 'getting it right first time'. In all its forms, both graphical and textual, information will be central to the new models of building!
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Written March 2011
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