21 November 2017 | by

This report provides the findings of the first NBS survey into BIM and Construction Product Manufacturers. We are grateful for the support of the Construction Products Association in carrying out this research.

In the coming years we will see profound change in how buildings are designed, built and maintained. This change will directly affect how people live and work together.

BIM is the first step in this, and for the last seven years, NBS has been charting the rise of BIM in the UK design community. In this time, BIM has grown from a few pioneering architectural practices, to become the design environment of choice. The UK is now a global leader in BIM.

The catalyst for this has been the Government’s BIM mandate, through which there is now a requirement to provide collaborative 3D BIM on centrally-procured projects. Through this mandate, the government has demonstrated the benefits of BIM; not least the return on investment it delivers.

The challenge of the BIM mandate has been met by practices, professionals, institutes, information providers and standards bodies coming together to form a vibrant, collaborative BIM community. This community is ready to support those adopting BIM with freely available advice, guides, standards and tools.

The findings in the report demonstrate that BIM is the future, for both designers and construction product manufacturers. Three quarters of manufacturers agree that BIM is the future of product information.

It’s not just designers who can benefit from BIM. Since people have been creating buildings, innovations in construction products have radically altered the built environment. Roman concrete is an old example of how new construction products changes people’s environment, and their civilisations.

However, innovation is now as often found in information as in the creation of new materials. The design community is onto this. New design possibilities are being realised through BIM and digital design. The value of a building no longer resides solely in the products and systems it is made of, but increasingly in the information held about it. Our ability to collect, aggregate and analyse data is growing at an unprecedented rate. The built environment is not exempt from this.

This has created opportunities for construction product manufacturers.

In the short-term, the design community is increasingly requiring well-structured BIM objects to incorporate into their designs. Failure to provide BIM objects may result in products being excluded from the design. In the longer term, as we move towards BIM Level 3, information contained within a BIM will be fundamental to the analysis and improvement of a design, once in use. This will allow for detailed assessment of product performance in situ, a ready route for product development and refinement. BIM offers a route to close the loop, from product design to real-world in-use assessment.

Collaboration is at the heart of BIM. Through the information in BIM, manufacturers and designers will be able to work increasingly closely together, making sure the right product is selected, installed and used through the life of a project. The data in BIM provides a ready reference for the criteria for product choice. Increasingly, it will come to provide the information for product and design development.

This article features in the NBS National BIM Report for Manufacturers 2017 - download our full, free report today!