17 January 2017

The strategy will deliver reductions in whole-life costs and carbon emissions, while improving productivity and capacity by using intelligent building information models, sensing technology and secure data and information infrastructure.

The programme of work will round off development of BIM Level 2 standards and explore what Level 3 really looks like and how it will work in practice as the move towards greater digital collaboration steps up a gear.

The journey to BIM Level 2 and beyond

Back in 2011 the Government Construction Strategy mandated the use of Level 2 Building Information Modelling (BIM) on all public sector projects by 2016. This bold decision led to the Government and the broader construction industry working in tandem to develop the industry’s skills, standards and tools with the aim of dramatically reducing the cost of social infrastructure.

The potential for savings was easy to see and soon started to be realised - BIM was identified as a significant contributor to the savings of £804m in construction costs in 2013/14 announced at the Government Construction Summit in July 2014. This kind of success has focused the need to continue to deliver the vision described in the Bew-Richards ramp (2008) and the tasks required to realise BIM Level 3.

See also: BIM Levels explained

Working towards BIM Level 3

The Digital Built Britain Strategy (published in February 2015) described how the UK construction industry will take its next steps in defining advanced standards, creating new commercial models and identifying technologies to transform our approach to social infrastructure development and construction.

The aim being to create a mature digital economy for the built environment which delivers high performing assets and exceptional client value as well as a knowledgebase to enable smart city and community members to thrive in our urban environments. This approach will attract the most talented individuals from diverse backgrounds into an industry that is clear seen to add demonstrable value to society.

This is an ambitious world class programme based on the significant progress already demonstrated through Level 2 and ultimate success will depend on detailed planning, research and the development of significant cross-industry partnerships.

The programme will include ground-breaking work on data infrastructure and is seen as fundamental to delivering a range of other Government digital transformation objectives

The Government Construction Strategy 2016-2020 was published in March 2017, building on the themes from the 2011 strategy and reaffirming commitment to digital construction. At the end of 2016 it was announced that Innovate UK and the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) would come together to collaborate on the Digital Built Britain scheme.

The programme will include ground-breaking work on data infrastructure and is seen as fundamental to delivering a range of other Government digital transformation objectives, including building successful UK sectors in smart cities, cyber and physical security and realising the potential of the Internet of Things. It is hoped the scheme will help align activities around the ideas of smart cities, ensuring a consistent approach to this vital enabler of public services and economic growth.

In particular, Digital Built Britain will look at:

  • Providing departmental support and British Standards for BIM Level 2
  • Increased international trade and opportunities for growth for UK companies
  • Development of BIM Level 3 programme as announced in February 2015 (more information is will be available on the Digital Built Britain website)
  • Cyber security
  • Private sector investment and engagement
  • A series of early adopter projects focusing on Level 3A and manufacturing technologies.