A key message is that it doesn’t have to be a scary or expensive process, to meet Level 2 BIM requirements, manufacturers already have all the product information they need, it just needs to be structured into the right format.– Steve Thompson, Tata Steel Europe
How would you describe your BIM ‘maturity’ level?
I’d say I’m ‘middle-aged’, ie. fairly advanced but not perfect. I’m chair of the BIM 4 Manufacturers & Manufacturing working group (BIM4M2) and for the past two years I have worked full-time on BIM at Tata Steel Europe. The company, and its subsidiaries, have a range of maturity levels depending on the product range and location, some are fully compliant with the UK definition of Level 2 BIM, some are at level zero.
What current BIM initiatives are you involved in?
I’m in the middle of a year-long programme to develop BIM content for 200 product ranges in 41 countries, with each range including anything from just a couple of products to several hundred. The aim is to create BIM object data for each product as well as supply BIM information for products we supply to other manufacturers, such as coated steel supplied to cladding companies.
What aspects of BIM do you think are over-hyped?
There’s a lot of “BIM-wash” and mixed messages out there, so we’ve spent time trying to really understand what BIM is and the implications for the industry worldwide. BIM is just one example of how the busines is moving towards a more digital, centralised and structured way of working with information, which is also a trend in our automotive and aerospace sectors.
What are manufacturers perceptions of BIM?
It depends on their level of knowledge, the best manufacturers are developing quality objects and working with other members of the supply chain in the early stages, others are waiting for the fog to clear before they decide how to react.
The BIM4M2 working group is trying to simplify advice for manufacturers, explaining what the terminology means, the various routes available, and the questions they should be asking. A key message is that it doesn’t have to be a scary or expensive process, to meet Level 2 BIM requirements, manufacturers already have all the product information they need, it just needs to be structured into the right format.
What is your main concern regarding BIM?
The problem is that one specifier will request all the BIM information for a product without really understanding what it is or what they need it for, while another will say they want very specific information that isn’t available in the right format. Project teams find it hard to define the type of information required at each stage of a project and who should be supplying it, so it is imperative to create a more consistent approach.
I’m looking forward to hearing the outcome of work being done by the BIM Task Force and the Technology Strategy Board to create a Digital Plan of Work, designed to run alongside the RIBA Plan of Work 2013, which will encompass all the PAS 1192 standards and use a Construction Project Information Committee classification system to structure data storage.
How will BIM have developed in three to five years?
It won’t be called BIM anymore, it will be referred to as structured information and Big Data. As we progress towards Level 3 BIM the focus will move towards how buildings perform in use and simpler access to that information. For example, it could soon become normal to receive a text message from your building warning that if you don’t clear your gutter in three days there will be a leak.
What’s your favourite app?
Hit Tennis 3 – something to refresh my brain on the tube ride home.
Can you recommend an app or piece of software or a device?
The unified communications platform Lync, which is invaluable for working across a large organisation and has an app for the iPhone too.
Have you actually read PAS 1192:1, 2 and 3?
I’ve read BS 1192 and PAS 1192:2, but not 3.
Which building’s BIM model would you like to explore?
My own house! I’ve just moved, and it would be great to know what’s behind the walls and underneath the floor without ripping it up.
Technophile, or technophobe?