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Report lays down the law on public projects

The UK government has stated that all public sector centrally procured construction projects must be delivered using Building Information Modelling by 2016. Its report “Industrial strategy: government and industry in partnership” identifies the fact that “BIM is a key agent for economic growth in both domestic and international markets.”

The report is equally definite about worldwide competition. The report says: “Other countries are rapidly adopting BIM; we need to progress with the adoption of BIM or these markets will begin to close to UK businesses as countries look for home-grown expertise or source its skills and capabilities from elsewhere in the world.”

The BIM adoption programme being undertaken by government in collaboration with CIC and industry includes:

Engagement with professional and trade bodies to ensure BIM will be embraced by all communities within the construction sector, especially SMEs

Working with BSI and other organisations to assist in developing robust standards including BS 1192-2 (code of practice for the collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information) and PAS 91 (Construction prequalification questionnaires).

An informative article by Michael Smith of the NBS entitled “What is BIM?” (http://www.thenbs.com/bim/what-is-bim.asp) describes its exceptional potential. It says: “BIM is far more than 3D CAD modelling; it is a rich information source containing geometric, visual, dimensional and process information. If the software is the interface to a building information model, rich information content is its body and soul.”

BIM is a fantastic tool for building and construction, lowering costs, speeding project delivery, enhancing design, reducing waste and improving energy efficiency. BIM data can record the entire building life cycle from design to demolition and reuse of materials.

Mr Smith explains that managed BIM “will reduce the information loss associated with handing a project from design team, to construction team and to building owner/operator, by allowing each group to add to, and reference back to, all information they use/create during their period of contribution to the BIM model.”

BIM software modelling for heating systems creates both scaled 3D physical representations of the equipment to be installed and details all factors relevant to its operation.

Designers can therefore bring in these systems when defining the visual characteristics of the infrastructure. Additionally, heating system information will determine performance, energy efficiency and other key factors relating to the whole life of the building.

The ideal Building Information Model will include all relevant features for architectural design, MEP, structural design and construction. One of the benefits will be that communication to stakeholders can be provided in the form of virtual 3D walk-through presentations. So virtually, the project will be completed before it has been begun.

No wonder BIM is seen as such a major opportunity for instilling profound and lasting efficiencies into building and facilities management and for creating exceptional export opportunities.

Steve Sherman is managing director at Schwank UK

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