Mark Bew

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Bew: BIM mandate ‘stretch target’ aims to focus attention on need for validation

29 October 2015 | By Tom Ravenscroft

Mark Bew, chairman of the BIM Task Group, says the BIM mandate “stretch target”, which will require government departments to electronically validate BIM data from suppliers by October 2016, is simply “a reminder” of the importance of good data.

The announcement was made by BIM Task Group member Terry Stocks, formerly of the Ministry Justice but now head of public sector at Faithful & Gould, last week.

Speaking to BIM+ Bew explained that the new October target had been put in place to focus attention on the need for validation, but said that there was nothing in the target that should be new to the market.

Bew said: “The announcement is a reminder of a couple of things that we are keen for people to remember, understand and focus on. There is nothing new in the announcement, it’s just a reminder and clarification that validation is an important function of good information management and a key part of Level 2.

“We don’t want people throwing bad data at each other, that would be wasteful and pointless. The targets are to remind people of the importance of good, reliable and clean data.”

The Task Group will not be prescribing which tools will be used to validate data after the deadline, with companies able to choose between using the NBS BIM Toolkit or developing their own validation systems.

“To achieve BIM Level 2 we have made all the tools and documents available. All the methodologies are embedded in PAS 1192 and the BIM Toolkit, along with some earlier examples in the labs area of the Task Group’s website. We have made these tools available and they are free to the market to ensure all participants, especially SMEs, have equal access and opportunity to deliver.

“People can use these tools, adapt the tools, or embed them in their own systems or create new ones, it’s up to them how they implement the standards into their business. This allows freedom to innovate and compete in an open way. We don’t want to become software providers, we just want to be catalysts and enablers,” he continued.

Bew believes that the step up to digital validation should be achievable. “It’s not a big ask, it’s part of the original ask,” he said. “Minimum validation is a manual check, but electronic validation is much more efficient. It’s nothing new, just a logical progression.”

The BIM Task Group also announced that a new website – www.Level2BIM.org – will be online by the April deadline, which will contain all of the documentation related to the mandate along with guidance and support materials. However, the decision on which organisation will run this site has yet to be made, said Bew. This decision will be made by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).

Bew also confirmed that the Task Group will continue to operate after the April 2016 deadline, although its exact form, and funding, is also yet to be determined by BIS.

“The Task Group will continue to be around after April,” said Bew. “But clearly this will develop as the new administration settles in and the imperatives of the new direction become clear after the Spending Review and Autumn Statement. The technical ownership and maintenance of the standards and documents will continue to rest with the Task Group.

“Clearly as the Level 2 programme reaches its conclusion, the need for industry to take on the day-to-day ownership and responsibility will be apparent as the Task Group will be focused on Level 3 and the future.”

As reported last week, there are likely to be further announcements from BIS on the mandate, subject to confirmation with the new Construction Leadership Council.

It’s not a big ask, it’s part of the original ask. Minimum validation is a manual check, but electronic validation is much more efficient. It’s nothing new, just a logical progression.– Mark Bew