So last night we held our London Revit User Group meeting. The group is almost 12 months old and we are going from strength to strength. Also, the London group has started the ball rolling with the user group message spreading and similar groups forming in Bristol, Leeds and Glasgow. Yesterday’s meeting was extra special as we had visiting guests from the good old US of A. Laura Handler Q5/Tocci and John Tocci Jnr Gilbane where in town promoting / demonstrating their VDC (virtual design construction) experiences and skills. It was a very interesting insight into how they approach things.
They discussed lonely BIM, social BIM and briefly touched on intimate BIM (a slightly dodgy term in my opinion), they briefed us on how they developed a BIM execution plan and how they used and managed the BIM model for construction purposes. An interesting aspect of this whole talk was their approach to the BIM in general, they just do it! No if’s and but’s, just plan ahead and go for it. “It’s entrenched in our DNA” explained Laura.
Image process map courtesy of Q5 the company
Another thought-provoking point was where Laura and John saw the UK in terms of BIM adoption. I have to say, their view was not totally inline with what I see and hopefully as they travel through the UK they may get a better picture. Whilst I think the UK was ahead in the early days of BIM adoption, certainly through keen advocates of the methodologies, for one reason or another it lost its way and it has not filtered through to the mainstream. They suggested that the UK industry is 5 years behind the US, I would argue that case, maybe 18 months, but certainly not 5 years. Many firms in the UK still use a 2d deliver process, its engrained in the mentality, but it’s no different worldwide and I would probably suggest that it’s the same case in the US, but I am happy to be proven wrong.
There are many challenges in the UK industry and for that reason BIM adoption is slow; lack of client understanding, the perceived cost of implementation, lack of BIM trained individuals, the way consultants are appointed, limited support from the professional bodies, the role of the contactor, lack of government support, the blame game culture have all accumulated into the situation we have now. Saying that, I would agree that the US have over taken us Brits because for too long we talked about it, rather the recognising this was an opportunity for change. Much has been written about BIM and the integrated approach to construction, you only needed to read at the Egan report and that was 1988! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egan_Report
Nevertheless I certainly believe 2011 will be a big year for BIM in the UK. Paul Morrell is the UK government's Chief Construction Advisor he is actively pushing for BIM delivery. He has indicated that publically procured building projects will be required to adopt BIM. He was quoted at last years Autodesk BIM event saying “We have commissioned a team drawn from BIM users across the industry, both clients and suppliers, and software developers, to prepare a route map that shows how we can make a progressive move to the routine use of BIM. I am convinced that this is the way to unlock new ways of working that will reduce cost and add long-term value to the development and management of built assets in the public sector”.
So times are a changing for the BIM in the UK. This is great news in my opinion. If the government do adopt BIM in this fashion on all publically procured projects, the flood gates will open and it will drive adoption across the private sector as well. But I suspect we may well end up with a two tiered industry, those that BIM and those that don’t!