by Richard McPartland
Top takeaways from this year's report
- The majority of UK construction product manufacturers are taking steps to provide product information in a format that can be placed into the designer's own model. 68% are aware and using BIM (compare with 62% of designers who say they have adopted BIM and 71% of designers who told us "we need manufacturers to provide us with BIM objects").
- 95% of all design practices said that they expect to be using BIM within three years and in that timescale it looks likely that all manufacturers will be able to provide at least some BIM-ready information for their products. Within five years a majority (57%) expect to be able to provide BIM objects for all their product ranges and 5% will have no BIM objects.
- Manufacturers (both those who have adopted, and those who are yet to adopt BIM) agree that BIM information will be required by specifiers and changes to working practices will be required. BIM adopters in particular believe that contractors will increasingly insist on BIM. Only 8% of those who have adopted BIM regret their decision.
- A minority of manufacturers believe they are "confident" when it comes to BIM knowledge and skills. 21% said they were not confident with 36% identifying somewhere in between. Contrast with the design community where 55% describe themselves as confident - though that has grown steadily over a number of years.
- RIBA and NBS are the most used sources of information among the manufacturer community. A majority are also turning to fellow professionals (as in the design community where 62% turn to professionals outside their own organisation). Collaboration remains key.
- Manufacturers don't yet feel the burden of providing more information in more formats is too onerous. There are however, issues around standardisation with BIM and Product Data Templates (PDTs) not yet seen as sufficiently standardised, similarly there are concerns around BIM itself, and the information contained within a BIM object. 72% cite awareness of PDTs and 70% the NBS BIM Object Standard.
- As with designers, where a majority had adopted BIM but was not yet using one consistent standard, we found a similar picture among manufacturers. A quarter of manufacturers referenced Uniclass 2015 (a BIM-compatible classification system compliant with ISO 12006-2), 18% PAS 1192-2, and BS 1192:2007+A2:2016 which details collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information was referenced by 17%.
- Manufacturers are playing an active role in the design process through provision of product information (specifications (62%), and BIM objects (54%)) and offering helping designers come up with innovative solutions to design problems (64%) or carrying out elements of design (45%).
- Three quarters of manufacturers agree that BIM is the future of product information and a majority also see BIM as a means to improving product design.
- 71% of manufacturers have a desire to provide more BIM objects for specifiers and a majority see the use of Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) as key to providing BIM objects that will drive Level 3 BIM.
- A majority of manufacturers agree that BIM helps designers achieve their design intent (and ensures better performing products are more likely to be kept throughout) but there is still work to do among contractors to understand the value (compare with 64% of designers who tell us that contractors are insisting on BIM adoption).
- A majority of manufacturers who have adopted BIM believe it has given them a competitive advantage and prevents them getting 'left behind'.
- Most manufacturers are creating BIM objects in house or using a library service like the NBS National BIM Library.
- When it comes to meeting the UK Government's construction strategy's goals, 73% of manufacturers agree that BIM will help reduce costs in the design/build/maintain lifecycle and 70% believe time efficiencies are also likely. When it comes to environmental impacts or the trade gap, the benefits are less clearly felt with 41% and 30% of respondents, respectively, believing it will. 64% say the government is not enforcing the BIM mandate (a view echoed by 51% of designers). 48% think the government is 'on the right track' and 34% believe the mandate has been very successful or quite successful - though half reckon it's been 'not that successful' and 16% 'not at all successful. Rigorous enforcement has clearly not been evident among respondents.
- Manufacturers believe technologies like the Internet of Things, 3D printing, big data, the cloud, future cities, robotics and machine learning will all have a significant influence on construction in the years ahead.