News - Construction News

BIM is a standard, a way of working, not a task

In this article we speak to Matt Samways, Managing Director at AIMIS, about Building Information Modelling (BIM), and why the industry really needs to start taking digitisation seriously.

“Oh, BIM? Yeah, we do BIM.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. As soon as I hear the term ‘do BIM’ I know the respondent doesn’t have a clue what BIM is. They’re thinking models. When they say ‘we do BIM’ what they mean is, we have someone in our office who creates models, or that they have an outsourced expert who creates models for them.

BIM is about communication, information management and collaboration. It’s about working with a culture of sharing digital information across your businesses and every other business you’re working with on a project.

BIM is about DATA. The collection of data and the ability to store and share that data easily. Some construction project data comes in the form of models but also in many other forms. A planning application document is data. A building product spec sheet is data. A labourer’s timesheet is data.

BIM enables a collaborative way of working, where anyone involved in the project has access to data from any stage in the project to assist them in their stage.

This approach to information sharing ensures the delivery, operation and renewal of the built environment becomes more efficient, more sustainable and safer.

The most important element of a BIM enabled project is the quality of the data which is held for that project. That data should cover the project’s whole lifecycle, from brief to planning application through to a digital O&M manual and into building use.

Imagine if the Grenfell Tower had been constructed as a BIM enabled project. There’d have been no lengthy inquiry process needed. The answers would have been held in the construction data. Moreso, the errors and oversights made in construction would not have been able to happen if the project had followed the ISO19650 standard and maintained the Golden Thread (albeit this standard was not out at the time), and no-one would have been able to turn a blind eye.

This is why the new Building Safety Bill came about and this is why the Grenfell tragedy will hopefully never be repeated.

Last year the Building Regulations Advisory Committee produced a paper setting out the principles of the ‘golden thread’ to encourage centralised digital record-keeping to reduce the risk of fire, improve compliance data to ensure the right people have access to information when needed, and consequently make buildings safer for residents.

The best reason for working to the ISO 19650 standard are the users’ safety, but also, to save time, minimise risk and increase your profitability.

In today’s world, digital management of data allows repetitive tasks to be automated, increasing efficiency and ensuring accuracy. Introducing structure and search functionality allows for reliable data at handover, but it also ensures ease of access to data which can be used and re-used for multiple purposes throughout the project lifecycle.

A BIM compliant project will;

  • Allow all project information to be easily searchable
  • Ensure all information is reliable
  • Ensure all information is current and up to date
  • Ensure all information is suitable for its specific purpose
  • Ensure a full information audit trail exists
  • Allow for collaborative behaviour between all parties

Changing the way in which you work through digitising your business has so many benefits and will ensure your business is future proofed. Soon you will need evidence of working to BIM standards, to be involved in almost every project.

If you would like to read more stories like this, then please click here