Changing processes in reality with BIM

Ashley Beighton MCIOB offers an insight into a live project that is using Level 2 BIM.

The Clarkson Alliance (as lead partner), Kier (as software partner) and Worthing Homes (as host project partner) are currently undertaking a Technology Strategy Board-funded research project “to establish the changes in dynamics and behaviours across the construction supply chain to unlock new, more efficient and collaborative ways of working with Building Information Modelling (BIM)”.

The core objective of the project is to understand the changes in process and behaviours needed to work in a Level 2 BIM environment, ie where a range of authoring tools – Autodesk Revit, Microsoft Excel, etc – are being used by the project team to import data to, and export data from, a single, federated BIM model held on a central ‘middleware’ platform, in this case Kier’s BimXtra software.

The Technology Strategy Board first awarded us the grant in October last year and it was only confirmed last month, once a suitable host project had been found. The project has been provided by Worthing Homes and is a sheltered housing scheme called the Meadow Road project. Since then work has quickly progressed, the initial focus being on compiling a BIM Protocol based on the CIC template and a set of Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR) based on the requirements of PAS 1192-2:2013.

A significant early change in the usual dynamics and behaviours has been a move away from a single stage design and build tender to a two-stage tender. In a design and build contract clients often seek to transfer the design risk to the winning bidder. However, with powerful visualisation and clash detection tools such as Autodesk Navisworks, design issues can be quickly and easily identified and resolved. This means there’s far less inherent design risk in a BIM project and hence little point in paying the contractor a risk premium to transfer it. 

A further important change has been an early focus on the Asset Information Model (the information needed to efficiently and effectively operate and maintain the finished building), with the client’s requirements then being written into the EIR. Here we’ve so far steered away from COBie and instead focused on building an Asset Information Model that will provide the client with the following outputs on handover:

  • A health and safety file containing ‘passive’ project data
  • A federated model in IFC file format containing ‘passive’ system data
  • A spreadsheet containing ‘active’ system data

The passive data will effectively form the record set for the project, with the active data feeding directly into the client’s planned preventative maintenance system.

The next step is to issue the EIR out with the usual Employer’s Requirements and to support the bidders (and their consultants and contractors) through the tendering process, in particular with their pre-contract award BIM Execution Plans and associated capability assessments. 

We are already gathering insight into how BIM can change the tender process and how client’s needs should be incorporated into the Asset Information Model. We will be actively sharing our findings as we uncover more changes in process and behaviours in future updates as we develop further understanding of how BIM works in a live project environment. 

Ashley Beighton is BIM process leader for The Clarkson Alliance, a firm of consultant project managers and information managers based in Oxford and London. The firm has a dedicated BIM website

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  1. I’m sorry but this is hardly surprising is it or newsworthy? We’ve been talking about this for literally years. A two, 3, n speed industry was always on the cards. Since 2012 some £25m has been spent on BIM implementation in the UK, predominantly public sector/ HM Gov dept focused. Very little support has gone to the private sector to upskill and raise awareness. Reliance on volunteer networks and expensive conferences and exhibitions where the BIM choir return repeatedly means that actual penetration into the industry remains consistently low. Tier 1s and major clients were never the issue. Your digital delivery is only as good as the weakest least digitally capable of your supply chain. QED. Still there is some daylight – as most of the industry hasn’t heard of Level 2 yet, the switch to the 19650 framework might be easier than you could expect .

  2. Just because we’ve been talking about it for years doesn’t mean it’s not newsworthy. Crikey there’s not a problem or issue in the entire construction industry we’ve not been talking about for years. Newsworthy is also about giving space to issues people still want to talk about and read about. People come afresh to issues all the time and as they do so bring different voices and perspectives. I for one welcome that. And given its been one of the most read articles on our site in the last two weeks, so do many others. Contributions are welcome from all.
    Denise Chevin Editor Bimplus.

  3. Point taken and noted! My point was that this has been discussed innumerable times over the last few years and yet none of the industry worthies or those that allocate funding have lifted a finger to do anything about this. It is no wonder that penetration across industry is so low. :o(

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