Understanding BIM: 2023’s most-read explainers

abstract image for data dictionaries - BIM explainers 2023
Image: Alexandersikov |

BIM and asset management, data dictionaries, standards, error-reducing technologies, and parametric design: these are all areas that are complex until explained by an expert in terms we can understand.

Here are the top five most popular BIM explainers in 2023, from fifth to first.

Understanding the value of and knowing how to combine BIM and asset management are key to avoiding construction failures and delivering the successful operation of the built environment. So argued Andy Watts, director of Asset Wisdom.

He said: “By understanding the mutual dependency and benefits of asset management and BIM, organisations can align and, importantly, integrate the two to create a level of value that neither will attain without the other.”

What are data dictionaries? How do they work and how are they used in construction? And what’s their future? Antony Brophy, UK director of business development at Cobuilder, provided some answers.

Brophy noted: “By using a data dictionary as a connected point of reference, people will be empowered to take ownership at different stages of a project. If product data is structured in a consistent way, organisations will find it easier to exchange information on products, materials and components.”

Dan Rossiter, built environment sector lead at the BSI, detailed the three standards that were set to have an impact on construction in 2023.

Addressing carbon, competence, and specifying the UK BIM Framework, the standards were: PAS 2080; BS 8670; and BSI Flex 1965.

And Rossiter threw in a fourth as a bonus, addressing quality: BS 99001.

The latest report from the Get It Right Initiative (GIRI) did what it said on the tin: namely, listing the 10 digital technologies that are the most effective at reducing errors in construction.

The report featured contributions from the likes of Arup, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, McGee and Multiplex, and highlighted technologies such as visualisation systems, collaboration tools and document management systems.

Cliff Smith, executive director at GIRI, said: “In an industry that loses between £10bn and £25bn per year on avoidable errors, technology can help support the benefits of getting construction right first time.

“However, we can only solve the problem if we recognise it. We need to see a shift in working culture across the industry to one that prioritises zero error in design and construction.”

Parametric design can offer many benefits to engineers, helping to design the optimised, greener and beautiful structures of the future. And yet, widespread adoption remains to be achieved within the construction and engineering industries.

In this piece, Jamie Howarth, Trimble business development manager for engineering and construction, explored the issue.

He said: “Automation is perhaps the key benefit of adopting parametric design, providing huge productivity and efficiency improvements.”

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