11 March 2017

As Scotland’s construction sector continues to move towards digitisation, the management of digital data and information within the public estate is seen as a key mechanism to drive efficiencies during the construction and operational stages.

The Scottish Government recognised this, and accepted the recommendations of the Review of Scottish Public Sector Procurement in Construction which stated that ‘Building Information Modelling (BIM) should be introduced in central government with a view to encouraging adoption across the public sector. The objective should be that, where appropriate, projects across the public sector adopt BIM level 2 by April 2017’.

The innovative BIM Guidance website will support public sector procurers who adopt BIM on new construction projects.

In response to the Review’s recommendations, the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) established the BIM Delivery Group for Scotland in August 2015, and a Scottish BIM Implementation Plan was published in October 2015. Since then, SFT has been working in partnership with public sector bodies, academia and industry to deliver the challenging April 2017 BIM objective.

The Scottish BIM Implementation Plan set out a roadmap to deliver the Scottish Government’s objective and focused on several enabling actions, including guidance creation, pathfinder projects and training for the public sector, which have all been delivered.

In forming the BIM Delivery Group for Scotland, SFT appointed David Philp, Global BIM Consultancy Director for AECOM, as chair. Paul Dodd, Associate Director from SFT, noted that: ‘David’s experience, expertise and support has been of great value to the BIM programme within Scotland’.

Ahead of April 2017, the Scottish Government reconfirmed their commitment to BIM by embedding it within procurement policy through a policy note issued in March 2017. In addition, the BIM Delivery Group for Scotland launched their new innovative BIM Guidance website. The website will support public sector procurers who adopt BIM on new construction projects.

The new guidance website seeks to answer three questions for the procurer: When should BIM be adopted, and to what level? Why should BIM be implemented through a likely-return-on-investment tool? And thirdly, how do I implement BIM on projects?

When should I adopt BIM as a client?

In Scotland, as of April 2017, the new Scottish government policy will require relevant public sector procurers to assess each new project for BIM via a new ‘BIM Grading Tool’. The online tool seeks project-specific information and states which BIM Level the project should adopt.

Why should I adopt BIM?

The BIM programme for Scotland has developed a unique return-oninvestment tool that assesses the cost and qualitative benefits of adopting BIM Level 2. This is a new online tool that allows public sector bodies to provide project-specific data and assess the likely benefits. The tool generates a summary dashboard to support business cases and investment. This will assist in clarifying why BIM should be adopted by identifying the marginal gains on a cost and qualitative basis.

Finally, how should I adopt BIM as a client? The new BIM Guidance Portal for Scotland provides a new BIM Navigator that quickly directs users to organisation-specific guidance to support their BIM adoption. Key to the guidance is to support public sector clients in developing considered and well-defined information requirements to set the conditions for success. The BIM Guidance Portal includes templates, guidance and best practice all aligned to the British Standards and for BIM Levels 1 and 2.

The approach is one of proportionality. There is an awareness that procurers, as well as industry, need to get the basics right and develop a robust information management platform to allow the industry to progress on its digital journey. Therefore, it may be better to implement BIM Level 1 in lieu of BIM Level 2 to meet the needs of the project and embed better data management and sharing.

All these new tools and guidance are contained within the new BIM Guidance Portal that is available to all: https://bimportal.scottishfuturestrust.org.uk

In delivering its objectives, the BIM Delivery Group for Scotland has focused on collaborative working and created key working groups to support Scotland’s BIM journey. A BIM supplier group was formed in partnership with Construction Scotland Innovation Centre to align the approach of the public sector to the needs and capacity of industry. A new parallel BIM programme for industry has been developed in partnership between the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, BIM Regions and the SFT BIM Supplier Group. This will encompass raising of awareness, training and seminars for industry over the next three years.

The BIM Delivery Group also recognised how digital working can support the skills shortage within the construction sector. A BIM academia working group was created to consider the approach to skills, training and using digital working to attract new entrants to the construction industry. Furthermore, the BIM Delivery Group delivered training workshops across Scotland attended by 350 public sector delegates. Finally, a BIM Buyers group has been created, to bring public sector bodies together to share the development of guidance and lessons in how BIM is implemented within public sector organisations.

Scotland’s BIM programme has attracted interest both nationally and internationally. This has enabled collaborative working with other national BIM programmes, including Germany, Ireland, Singapore and New Zealand.
The Scottish Government’s BIM programme has delivered innovative tools to ensure that an appropriate journey towards digitisation for the Scottish public sector can be determined and built upon. From my global perspective the Scottish BIM programme is attracting a lot of positive interest and is a true partnership between government and industry seeking new ways to better our construction industry.

David Philp

The construction sector has seen gradual adoption of digital working, and there are many recent examples of infrastructure projects within Scotland where greater digital working has been adopted. The new BIM requirements will be a further step in Scotland’s journey towards digital working within the built environment.
The BIM programme for Scotland set ambitious and bold objectives which will be delivered this year. Through embedding BIM requirements within Scottish Government policy, the new innovative guidance portal and collaborative working across industry, Scotland is well placed to adopt digital working to support better outcomes within the built environment.

Paul Dodd

From April 2017, the BIM Delivery Group for Scotland will continue to engage and collaborate with the public sector and industry. The BIM Guidance Portal will offer a platform to share best practice and engage with industry as BIM is implemented beyond April 2017.

The launch of the Scottish Government’s BIM policy in April 2017 has marked a significant milestone for Scotland’s own BIM journey. With billions of pounds spent by Scotland’s public sector on vital infrastructure each year, the implementation of BIM will support improved project delivery and maintenance, and lead to improved efficiencies and savings for the public sector.

The BIM Delivery Group for Scotland will seek to continue this digital journey as we have to date: through an approach of proportionality, collaboration and ambition.

Image: Flag of Scotland, James Stringer, CC-BY

This article is taken from the NBS National BIM Report 2017. Find out more and download the full free report including comprehensive analysis of our survey results.