Getting to grips with Building Information Modelling

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UK construction is undergoing a period of rapid transformation. Project managers working on the construction or management of buildings and infrastructure are likely to see significant change in both technology and process over the years ahead.

This transformation is being driven by the introduction of Building Information Modelling (BIM), with the UK Government’s construction strategy acting as catalyst by mandating the use of BIM on all publically procured Government construction projects, regardless of project size, by 2016.
The targets set by the UK Government are challenging:

  • Cost saving of 33%
  • Programme saving of 50%
  • Greenhouse gas reduction of 50%

BIM sees the adoption of 3D modelling for projects across all stages in the lifecycle of a built asset. BIM is increasingly being used to design, construct and operate facilities. The impact of BIM is also across multiple sectors, with application across all types of building, infrastructure (road, rail, aviation etc), and increasingly in the utilities and industry sectors also.

BIM is about more than technology. Collaborative process is core to BIM and is set out in British Standards such as PAS1192-2 and BS1192:2007. The APM Knowledge SIG was created just over a year ago to explore topics such as information management, knowledge sharing, and collaboration in project environments. As BIM is implemented in the UK these topics, which have always been a central concern to many project managers, become ever more important.

Over the coming months one area of focus for the APM Knowledge SIG will be exploring how BIM changes the way in which information and knowledge is shared and managed for clients and project managers.

  • How can project managers best respond to the opportunities and challenges created by BIM to the processes of information management?
  • How can project managers take advantage of BIM to support effective early stakeholder engagement, for example with budget holders and end users?
  • How can project managers help create the right project environment to support effective knowledge sharing and collaboration through the use of BIM on their projects?
  • How can project managers working across the asset lifecycle – design, construction, and operational management and maintenance -– make best use of BIM to drive process efficiency?
  • What can construction learn from other sectors about information management and collaborative practices, and conversely can best practices currently being developed in construction through BIM be applied elsewhere?

The potential benefits of BIM are not automatically realised through its use, as ever it is not just what you do, but also the way that you do it which counts. Over the months ahead the K-SIG will be drawing upon theory and experience from knowledge and information management and best practice from early adopters of BIM to support project managers getting to grips with BIM. We will also seek also views from APM members outside the construction industry who may have insights to share from their experience.

What are your views?  We would like to hear from you. 

What are your experiences of BIM? Does BIM help with information management? Does BIM live up to its claims?

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Posted by Adrian Malone on 29th Nov 2013

About the Author

Reporting to the Group Chief Digital Officer (CDO), responsible for the creation and implementation of the global knowledge and collaboration strategy for Atkins. I am product owner for digital collaboration tools, driving a cloud-first strategy through the implementation of virtual collaboration and enterprise social. My role is business and people focused, utilising agile project management methods and adaptive leadership to frame the organisational challenges and unlock collaboration. Digital networks have progressed from being an enabler - to becoming an organising principle of collaboration. Communities are a core focus for me: connecting people across our global business and beyond the organisation. Communities in turn support the development and progression of professional and technical practice, thought leadership and innovation. I am excited by the opportunity which is being created by digital, by ‘the second machine age’, and the potential for these developments to free people and resources to drive business and customer benefits, and to transform the built environment and our impact on the natural environment. I am a co-founder and committee member of the APM Knowledge SIG

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