The UK government has mandated that all centrally-funded work is to be undertaken using BIM by 2016. This is now less than 12 months away, and for those organisations that haven't yet done so, this series of articles explains how to implement BIM in your organisation.

The process of implementing BIM is about change management, first and foremost. To do this successfully, the process needs to be carried out methodically. The best way is to make a 'BIM implementation plan', and the steps for this are outlined through the course of this series. This month looks at conducting a risk analysis, and beginning to make a business case for BIM implementation.

Risk Analysis

As with any other significant business decision, investing in BIM should not be considered without first conducting a risk analysis.

Areas to evaluate include the following:

  1. Organization size – how many staff for long-term transition/training
  2. Organization type: are you a Client, Consultant, Designer, Main contractor, Subcontractor, Manufacturer, Supplier?
  3. What is your business' existing annual turnover?
  4. What percentage of your existing workload is procured by UK central government departments and their agencies?
  5. What is the typical contract value of your work?
  6. Does your business have membership or affiliation with any trade associations, professional bodies or other initiatives (for example CITB), for training or funding assistance?
  7. Are you already aware of, or do you currently understand the definition and application of BIM, maturity levels, and benefits of collaborative working?
  8. Is there clear high-level leadership support to oversee the implementation of BIM across your organization?
  9. Is anyone in your organization familiar with the key BIM documentation, including but not limited to:
    • BS 1192 Collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information – Code of practice
    • BS 1192-4 Collaborative production of information Part 4: Fulfilling employer's information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice
    • CIC BIM Protocol
    • PAS 1192-2 Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling
    • PAS 1192-3 Specification for information management for the operational phase of assets using building information modelling.
  10. Map your existing business practices to see if (and to what extent) they already support BIM Level 2 working.
  11. Do you see your organization as being BIM competent, now or in the future?
  12. What about organizations (i.e. supply chain partners) you want to work with, either now or in the future?
  13. Are your existing systems 2D or 3D based, collaborative, data managed, standardised formats etc.?
  14. Does your organization have experience of working with an integrated team? Partnering? Shared risk and reward? Open book tendering? Framework agreements?
  15. What expectations do you have for implementation – financial, organisational? Return on Investment? BIM is about business process, not just CAD. Don't expect the first project(s) to be financially-profitable, but remember that the knowledge gained will be invaluable.

With regard to ROI, it need hardly be said that measuring actual time spent on a sample project (CAD versus BIM) at each key stage will provide an invaluable metric, although conducting this scientifically is difficult without running two teams in parallel; even then, however, team member skill differentials can skew the results.

Business case for BIM implementation

Having carried out a business audit and risk analysis, and assessed the findings, the next step is to formulate a business case for BIM implementation. This is, in many respects, similar to writing a conventional business plan, but is tailored more to the reasons why you want to implement BIM in your organization, i.e. what are the measurable outcomes you wish to achieve. Depending on what type of organization you are considering, the outcomes are likely to vary to a greater or lesser extent.

Next month's article outlines topics to cover in the business case.

Previous: Are you BIM ready? What your business needs to do before 2016 (Part 2)
Next month: Are you BIM ready What your business needs to do before 2016 (Part 4)