We are releasing the National BIM Report just as the UK government's BIM mandate has come into force. From 4 April 2016, centrally procured construction projects now need to achieve BIM Level 2. This is a significant milestone in the UK's BIM journey, and in this year's report we show the industry's assessment of its own readiness to reach this milestone.

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    NBS National BIM report

In some ways we are well set. In the five years since the former Chief Construction Adviser, Paul Morrell, set the course for Level 2 BIM as part of the Government’s Construction Strategy, BIM usage has moved from a niche practice to the norm. BIM adoption is now at 54%, up from 48% last year. Eighty six percent of respondents intend to have adopted BIM by this time next year, and 97% within five years.

However, concerns remain. A significant number tell us that they are not clear on what they have to do to comply with the BIM mandate, and only one in ten believes that the construction industry is ready to deliver on it. Aligned to this is a broader skills gap in BIM, with a quarter feeling they lack the skills and knowledge that they need.

As a collaborative practice, BIM requires a shared ownership of the design and construction process. Through this shared ownership will come shared learning, as well as the iterative development and implementation of improved practice. This level of collaboration opens up new possibilities to design teams: coming together on a project-by-project basis to collaborate in clearly defined and described ways, with information pooled, rather than hoarded.

Like BIM, the future is collaborative and digital. By working together, in a digital environment, we may address these issues.

BIM is presently being led by the design and construction community. Other parts of the industry are behind. BIM’s broader adoption among clients and managers of buildings will come through using the information within the models to better and more efficiently commission and use buildings.

This fits with the Government’s broader digitisation goal. The digitisation of the UK construction industry will bring with it rapidly improving levels of innovation and productivity: improvements we can see in other sectors. The Government’s construction strategy for an industry delivering:

  • Lower costs
  • Faster delivery
  • Lower emissions; and
  • Improvement in exports

will, and can only be delivered through BIM.

We are already part of the way there. The UK has a world-leading design community that contributes very positively to our balance of payments. We are delivering world-class construction projects, such as the Olympics 2012 and Crossrail. BIM is playing a significant role in increasing the efficiency of government construction spending. In 2014/15, the Government saved £855m on existing schemes, allowing for investment in new ones. The UK is leading in providing standards and descriptions of BIM, and other countries are using these as a templatefor best practice in BIM.

But there is still much work to do and the journey continues. For BIM to realise its transformative potential, investment and change is needed across the sector. At NBS, we are investing in this global opportunity for UK construction. The NBS BIM Toolkit, the NBS National BIM Library and NBS Create are all designed to support best design practice using BIM. We look forward to providing the knowledge that the UK construction needs to realise the potential of BIM.

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NBS National BIM Report 2016

About NBS

NBS and RIBA are members of the BIM Technologies Alliance supporting the UK Government’s Construction Strategy BIM Working Group.