Image: Grenfell Tower/AmandaLewis/Wikimediacommons

News

Hackitt reforms: BIM costs downgraded as requirements centre on CDE

5 April 2020

The government has revised its estimates of what it will cost to implement a digital golden thread for new, existing and refurbished buildings.

The costs of between £25m and £46m were set out in a new document published yesterday: A reformed building safety regulatory system - Economic assessment of the benefits and costs to the Government response to the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation.

This sits alongside a raft of reforms to improve building safety.

The estimates revise down significantly costs in its consultation set out in June 2019 in Building a Safer Future, despite the scope of the new regulatory framework covering a wider number of buildings. This would appear to come from lower estimated costs for existing buildings, where proposals for owners to laser scan their buildings and convert them into BIM models have been dropped and requirements for new and refurbishment projects scaled back.

The government is yet to publish guidance and standards setting out what digital requirements will be needed to establish a golden thread of information. But in its economic impact assessment it sets out estimates of the additional cost for the duty-holders for all buildings within scope of these proposals to comply with the new technical requirements. These cost estimates are based on Level 1 BIM – akin to no more than a spreadsheet – as opposed to Level 2 BIM in its previous estimates.

The assessment says: “We have assumed that buildings that currently have no plans or inaccurate plans will carry out a two-dimensional Computer Added Design (CAD) plan and evaluation drawing, costing between £10,000-£19,000 per building. While this is not the only way to create digitalised plans, and people may opt for 3D scans or other methods, a digital 2D plan is considered the least costly acceptable option.

“We assume there will not be an additional cost for software to use the outputs of a COBie file because duty-holders likely already own suitable spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel.”

It says of the proposals: “These cover the type of information (such as building plans and the location of specific objects within the building) duty-holders will need to keep and the way it should be stored and shared based on existing industry standards.

“Keeping up-to-date information in a consistent format is intended to help duty-holders and the regulator to accurately assess and manage risks to building safety within specific buildings and across the entire stock of buildings in scope.

“We estimate the cost of these proposals will be £25m-£46m per annum, with a central estimate of £36m.

The costing are set out below.

New buildings

We assume that firms that already comply with Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 1 standards, by using a Common Data Environment (CDE) and complete COBie files, will not incur any additional costs (due to the expectation that they already meet proposed standards). We estimate that firms that do not currently meet these standards will face additional costs for digitalising information, estimated to be £24,000-£38,000 per affected building.

This includes the cost of completing a COBie file. We have also modelled the cost for duty-holders on all new-build projects to fill out a COBie file during construction for handover at project competition. We estimate this will cost £4,000-£8,000 per building, due to time taken for data entry.

Existing buildings

Duty-holders for existing buildings will have to gather the information required to meet registration and safety case requirements. This information must be held digitally in order to effectively manage building safety risks. We have assumed that buildings that currently have no plans or inaccurate plans will carry out a two-dimensional Computer Added Design (CAD) plan and evaluation drawing, costing between £10,000-£19,000 per building.

While this is not the only way to create digitalised plans, and people may opt for 3D scans or other methods, a digital 2D plan is considered the least costly acceptable option.

We assume there will not be an additional cost for software to use the outputs of a COBie file because duty-holders likely already own suitable spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel.

In occupation Building information will have to be kept up to date once the building is completed or existing buildings have produced digital plans. This will include managing the data in the COBie file and the digital record to reflect any changes in the building. We estimate this will cost £300-£500 per building each year.

Major refurbishment works

The requirements for carrying out major refurbishments are comparable to those for new buildings. We have assumed, as a minimum, BIM level 1 standards will have to be used, and documents required for Gateways two and three will have to be digitalised, including building data being in a COBie format for handover.

As with new buildings, there will not be additional costs for projects which already use a CDE and fill out a COBie file. However, projects not yet meeting this standard will incur an estimated additional cost of complying of £10,000-£16,000. The costs differ slightly from new buildings because refurbishments are shorter projects and therefore have lower software license costs and require less data entry.

Key dataset

The key dataset is a subset of information that we propose will be collected by the BSR in a consistent format from each building, allowing analysis of risks across the stock of buildings.

We estimate the one-off costs of creating an up-to-date key dataset are between £600 and £1,200 per affected building. All buildings with a key dataset will be required to keep this up to date as elements of the building change. This will cost an estimated £200-£300 per building per annum.

Building Information Management: the Golden Thread Table 4:

  • Costs of Building Information requirements( England, 2019 prices Annual Cost (EANC) Upgrading to BIM level 1, the Common Data Environment and COBie file (new buildings and refurbishments) £2m - £7m
  • Completing Key dataset during construction (new buildings and refurbishments) < £1m
  • Digitalising full plans (existing buildings) £16m - £30m
  • Maintaining information and the key dataset (during occupation) £6m - £9m Total £25m - £46m
    Source: Adroit Economics Consortium.
  • All resi buildings above six storeys will now be covered by new regulator, while buildings above 11m will need sprinklers
  • The government is estimating that it will cost landlords and the industry between £40m and £80m to comply with providing a “golden thread” of information and key datasets for new and existing buildings of 18m (six storeys) or more.
  • The government is looking to mandate the use of BIM on high-rise residential projects as part of a raft of tighter measures to improve safety in higher risk residential buildings. BIM would form a golden thread of information to improve accountability for decision making and provide information that can be passed over to the landlord.
  • The government estimates that it will cost between £42,000 and £64,000 for residential high-rise projects in design and construction to adopt Level 2 BIM and meet the new legislation.
  • Even existing buildings – built before the new legislation – will have to comply and draw up digital data using laser scans, which is estimated will cost up to £30,000.

Image: Grenfell Tower/AmandaLewis/Wikimediacommons