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Firms told to measure benefits of BIM

Contractors need to start measuring the cost benefits of using building information modelling, according to the man leading its introduction for the Cabinet Office.

Balfour Beatty director of technical services David Philp told Construction News the contractor was starting to use level 2 BIM as a standard across all its tender bids.

“We have demonstration projects now where we are measuring the value of BIM and we have said ‘let’s get really good at what the government wants’.

“We have started to see a real upswing in the past six months from clients looking for BIM and the key is that they are able to articulate the outcomes they want to achieve.”

Mr Philp was speaking at a BIM conference hosted by National Building Specification.

He said Balfour Beatty is not looking to cut members of its supply chain based on their knowledge of BIM, but will work with them over the next four years to ensure they can comply with the group’s demands on projects.

He said: “We have to start looking at basic training, where the return of investment is and how BIM can help to improve productivity.

“If you start to take waste out of the construction process then you are well on your way to delivering the 20 per cent savings required by the government.”

Mr Philp will work with BIM task group chairman Mark Bew and the team of industry experts who will oversee the government moving towards mandating level 2 BIM on all contracts by 2015, as part of the Cabinet Office’s reform of construction procurement.

He added that supply chains need to start thinking in terms of sharing ideas and collaborating in order to realise the benefits of BIM on projects.

Eversheds solicitor Grainne McCormack told H&V News BIM would start to shape new contracts, but warned contractors they needed to check the details before signing.

“The legal framework around BIM will change due to the demands of the industry,” she said. “What needs to be done is to define the rules. It is different for level 3 and further work will need to be done to look at [model] ownership issues in future.”

While BIM can help to reduce the overall risk through better informed design, Ms McCormack said questions over responsibility for data quality would need to be resolved.

Meanwhile, clients are promoting the adoption of BIM.

Asda head of construction model and specification James Brown said the company’s main driver for using BIM on all its new stores is to ensure they can open sooner to save costs.

“We are seeing greater standardisation now which gives us the opportunity to reduce consultant fees and maximise our procurement opportunities,” he said.

The new chairman of the Strategic Forum for Construction, Lord O’Neill, has told chief construction adviser Paul Morrell that coordinating industry’s implementation of BIM will be one of five priority areas for 2012.


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