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Getting to grips with Building Information Modelling

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?

4 comments

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  1. Adrian Malone
    Adrian Malone 20 February 2014, 10:33 AM

    The event page has now been updated with speaker biographies - we have an excellent line up of speakers combining thought leadership practical experience of BIM delivery.  http://www.apm.org.uk/event/building-information-modelling-redefining-role-project-managerLots of interest already so book now to avoid disappointment!Adrian

  2. Adrian Malone
    Adrian Malone 20 January 2014, 12:34 PM

    As part of the focus mentioned in my blog, the Knowledge SIG is delivering an event on BIM on 27th March at University of Salford.Building information modelling - redefining the role of the project managerPlease follow the link below to find out more and to book your place.http://www.apm.org.uk/event/building-information-modelling-redefining-role-project-manager

  3. Adrian Malone
    Adrian Malone 20 December 2013, 05:34 PM

    Jason,Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right to highlight the importance of soft landings and the use of BIM across the operational phase of the life of a built asset. I think this is why BIM is so important to many in the APM community, BIM is not just about delivering construction projects, but also about how we manage and work in the built environment and the projects and systems which interface with and maintain and change that environment over time.

  4. Jason Clark
    Jason Clark 19 December 2013, 09:08 PM

    For me there are two things we have to accept 1. BIM is the futureWe will eventually submit to the move from 2d to 3d as we did the move from the drawing board.  The industry, skills and multitude of software packages are not quite there yet and we dont have the experience to know how to specifiy what we want from the models. Things are developing year on year at a fast rate.There is no doubt that the oppurtunities to coordinate designs to a high degree of detail, visualise and schedule from those designs, saves waste in design and ultimately construction.However, as with all new things we at times revert to what we know best or can do quicker and we still review and approve in a 2d/ paper copy world.  2. Soft Landings is key to prescribing the building outcomes, of which the BIM model and its use throughout the life of the building is one.There are massive oppurtunites in ongoing operations however the software tools, skills and knowledge are being devloped, we will learn from the early adopters and develop as an industry.