CIOB-backed group lines up against BRE and NBS to develop key BIM tool

The CIOB is part of a consortium taking on the BRE and RIBA Enterprises’s NBS for the contract to develop a crucial “missing link” in Level 2 BIM – the digital plan of work.

The three competing teams were each awarded £50,000 to develop their feasibility plans, with the winning bid due to be selected by late summer.

The contract itself will be worth more than £1m, and the contest is being run by the Technology Strategy Board on behalf of the BIM Task Group and BIS. 

The CIOB has joined the RICS, RIBA, ICE, CIBSE and three other institutes in a group called C8. The other two groups bidding to develop the free-to-use BIM platform that will be promoted by the government as an intrinsic part of Level 2 BIM are:

  • NBS, part of RIBA Enterprises, leading a team that includes Northumbria University’s BIM Academy, Laing O’Rourke, Microsoft and Newcastle University
  • planBIM, administered by the BRE and supported by buildingSMART UK. 

According to the TSB briefing documents, the digital plan of works “organises the progress of designing, constructing, maintaining and operating built environment assets. To do this will require digital delivery definitions for up to 3,000 construction elements at each of the delivery stages.” The resulting system must be free to use, and widely accessible.

The bidders will also be asked to develop a new digitally enabled “standardised classification system”, which will ensure that product and component data is structured in a common format.

The two new products complete the seven key standards defining Level 2 BIM, the others being PAS 1192 2 and 3; the CIC BIM Protocol; Government Soft Landings, and the Employer’s Information Requirements. 

The C8 group is proposing a system called id3, pronounced “eye-dee-cubed”. Documents published online by the TSB explain that it is based on the concept of the “digital data cube”, which will define “what needs doing, to what level of detail, by all stages of projects and operation”.

By pulling in members from all disciplines in the built environment – the Institute of Structural Engineers, Association for Project Management and the Institute of Facilities Management are involved – it says it will deliver a ‘coherent, integrated approach’ across the industry, where it  represents 450 000 members or stakeholders in the UK.

In line with the project criteria, it says web-based id3 will be available free of charge and maintained and developed over a five-year period.

Meanwhile, the NBS proposal says that it will build on 6,000 object definitions already in use within the industry through the NBS Create and NBS BIM Library service.

BDP and Laing O’Rourke’s role will be to road test the plan on live design and construction projects, BIM Academy would bring experience as Information Managers and its xBIM software toolkit.

The digital institute at Newcastle University is said to be a world leader in cloud computing research, and Microsoft will provide consultancy, with the team’s digital plan of work technology built on the Microsoft Windows Azure platform.

PlanBIM describes a “freely-accessible web-based resource that manages the supply and demand of shared, structured asset information”.

It has a two-part structure, with a “dictionary” including roles, objects and properties described using industry classifications, and a “requirements” part. It utilises concepts that already exist, including the BuildingSMART data dictionary, process management and certification service.

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