Five months after its launch, the NBS BIM Toolkit was officially declared “out of beta” at this week’s British Standards Institute BIM conference.
Stephen Hamil, director of design and innovation at NBS, told BIM+ that the online tool is now “stable” and users can be confident about storing project data on the system.
“We had a really encouraging number of people giving us feedback and user testing it, so the time is right to remove the beta logo, and thank everyone for their help,” he said.
However, the Toolkit’s verification tool, which allows teams to check that all submitted data meets the clients’ requirements and also to create a COBie submission, is still in beta testing phase. It is based on the xBIM software development toolkit authored by BIM Academy.
According to Hamil, the main changes made during the beta stage were structuring early tasks in the Digital Plan of Work to reflect the BIM Task Group’s Employers Information Requirements and Plain Language Questions.
And second, the “owner” of a project in the Digital Plan of Work can now give other project team members “read only” access to the the project on their computer or device.
The Toolkit – consisting of the Digital Plan of Work and a unified classification system – has apparently logged more than 2,300 projects, but Hamil acknowledged that the “greater percentage” of these are “test” projects.
BIM+ understands that many BIM managers, design managers and contractors have been reluctant to trust project data to a system that was still evolving, so the likely level of take-up for the system – which secured £1m in funding from the government’s Innovate UK – is still unclear.
Hamil said that he believed the most take-up so far was clustered around contractors’ design managers working with collaborative design teams on RIBA Stage 3 and 4 of a project (developed design and technical design), with less evidence of client-side project managers using the DPoW system from RIBA Stage 0 or 1 (strategic definition and preparation and brief).
But he said that the Toolkit wasn’t designed to be used in an “all or nothing” way, and that various approaches could be taken.
“It could be an opportunity for project managers, or architects working as client advisers, to offer this as a service, to help clients develop a brief. As we stand at the moment it’s maybe design managers or design teams, using it as a design management tool.
“You could use it at Stage 1 or 2 – running the documentation around the key tasks. Or contractors could use it [in Stage 5, construction] by setting up contract administration or assigning payment arrangement through the system,” he said, adding “time will tell”.
You could use it at Stage 1 or 2 – running the documentation around the key tasks. Or contractors could use it [in Stage 5, construction] by setting up contract administration or assigning payment arrangement through the system.– Stephen Hamil, director of design and innovation, NBS