In a nine-part video interview by Infrastructure Intelligence, BIM Task Group chairman Mark Bew has revealed more details of how he expects the April 2016 mandate to operate, the data validation “stretch” target, and his views on future government funding for BIM implementation.
The video was recorded on the eve of the ICE BIM conference on 21 October, when Terry Stocks announced the new target, and was posted on the Infrastructure Intelligence website at the end of November.
In the interview, Bew said that roughly £18bn of the industry’s £95bn annual output would be covered by the mandate, “a small but significant proportion of the market” covering all schools, Highways England, Environment Agency, Department of Health, Home Office, and Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Defence projects.
But he said that Network Rail would be free to choose whether or not to adopt the mandate.
Asked if some central government departments were lagging behind on implementation, he said “no, the departments are all green on the Cabinet Office measure”.
But he said that he expected the requirements of BIM Level 2 and the “stretch” target to vary according to the commissioning departments, but that the BIM Task Group was currently putting together additional guidance and case studies to help the industry.
He commented: “Crossrail and a £3m school are very different, so what goes in to EIRs will have to be compliant with PAS 1192, but will be specific to the project. The last thing anyone wants to do is to load costs onto projects.”
Bew also said that the electronic data validation “stretch target” was about “getting data that’s reliable and ready to transact” but that implementation would “depend on how the departments want to take it into their commercial contracts” with suppliers. “It’s up to them to start using it, but we want to drive the quality of the data up.”
One reason for the target, he said, lay in the experience of “early adopter” projects. “One of the lessons we learned on Cookham Wood was how hard it was to validate data – when you have 700,000 lines of data in a BIM model, how do you check it manually? You don’t, but we’re learning now how to automate that. When people know the data is being checked, it will drive the quality up,” he said.
Asked about government’s financial support for Level 3 BIM, Bew said the current Conservative government was “reasonably Thatcherite” that would be “massively hands-off” with the construction industry, and looking for the industry itself to take responsibility for its own future.
“I suspect their appetite to fund more innovation in the future will be coloured by what they see from the industry. The right-leaning view is that government’s done its job, its made the [Level 2] standards available, and now where’s the push [from the industry]? That’s the question we’ll be hearing from our politicians.”
One of the lessons we learned on Cookham Wood was how hard it was to validate data – when you have 700,000 lines of data in a BIM model, how do you check it manually? You don’t, but we’re learning now how to automate that.– Mark Bew, BIM Task Group