Interview: Jason Ruddle – BIM is harmonising standards worldwide

There’s no question: BIM is helping to harmonise standards in different parts of the world. There are many sizeable organisations that are global players that need to make sure there is synergy in their workflow.– Jason Ruddle, Asta Development

BIM+ asked the managing director of Asta Development – which is part of the Europe-wide Eleco software group – about his views on “BIM around the world”.

We always hear the UK is striding ahead on reaching BIM “maturity”, does this chime with your experience?

We are seeing a rapid uptake on the use of BIM among our customers and some tell us they are now using BIM on all live jobs. Many are starting to see how use of BIM tools can make significant changes to how the industry works and how cost and time can be reduced by using this approach.

However, some are also telling us that client understanding of BIM still varies widely, with some saying they want “BIM” but in reality just want to see some 3D models. Reinforcing the fact that BIM is about collaboration and sharing of data; this only works if the project team buys into the whole process, but with the UK government driving this through standards and directives, it clearly has shown that this has certainly been the right approach.

In summary I would say: yes in the UK we are ahead in maturity and, as 2016 approaches, this is increasing, but still further progress is still needed. 

How would you characterise the attitudes to BIM you’ve encountered in other countries?

A number of countries are looking at how the UK has embraced the adoption of the BIM process and the benefits it can bring to the complete design, build and life-cycle of a building. Whether it’s government-driven or endorsed by industry sectors, everybody believes that BIM can and will deliver a change process that helps reduce late decision input and costly project overruns.

For example, we recently demonstrated our Asta Powerproject BIM software at an exhibition in the US and the response was incredibly enthusiastic. There a multitude of business and applications that are delivering BIM solution toolsets but the real industry driver seems to be focused on working with tools that complement each other in ease of use and compatibility. 

Has any country made a breakthrough on BIM we should know more about?

No one country specifically stands out but Sweden may serve as a suitable benchmark. There have been no government-led guidelines – yet best practices have emerged in use, and the adoption of BIM is very high. This has predominantly come from the “base up” – the younger generation have been able to drive and influence the use of BIM tools to deliver value savings to overall projects. Now that they have seen the UK deliver a BIM structure for implementation, the Swedish government is now following Britain’s lead to maximise the investment made by businesses already.

Do you think BIM will help to harmonise standards and approaches in different parts of the world, or will every country pursue “national BIM”?

There’s no question: BIM is helping to harmonise standards in different parts of the world. There are many sizeable organisations that are truly global players that need to make sure there is synergy in their workflow.

There will always be the need to look at “national BIM” or individual specifics, because build processes do vary, but overall there is a real understanding that by delivering a common file data transfer, such as IFC, then there is the potential for this flexibility. 

What aspect of UK BIM would you like to export?

The government providing a positive lead has certainly helped act as a driver, but the most significant aspect would be the realisation of how adopting BIM can bring real tangible benefits  to public and private sector work.

Jason Ruddle has more than 25 years’ experience in the construction industry delivering software solutions, products and services to house builders, contractors and the supply chain. He aims to expand the growth of Asta’s business within project management, BIM, portfolio and resource management software.

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