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Cabinet office endorses BIM guide for contractors

A publication designed to provide contractors with practical guidance on the use of building information modelling (BIM) has received the endorsement of the Cabinet Office.

The guide – entitled First Steps to BIM Competence: A Guide for Specialist Contractors – has been developed jointly by the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group and the National Specialist Contractors’ Council (NSCC), in collaboration with the University of Northumbria’s BIM Academy.

 “We have reached the stage in the adoption of BIM where the specialist contracting sector has a key role to play in system design and integration,” said David Frise, chairman of the SEC Group/NSCC BIM Working Group and head of sustainability at the Building & Engineering Services Association.

“Both public sector procurers and private sector clients are increasingly demanding that BIM be used on their construction projects, in order to achieve efficiency savings through the elimination of waste.”

But he went on to warn that “BIM is simply a tool – and would become “a somewhat blunted tool” unless other issues were addressed.

“The tangible benefits associated with BIM – especially those that reduce design risk and facilitate faster delivery – can only be fully realised when procurement and contractual mindsets change and the construction supply chain learns to work collaboratively, with all members of the design team ensuring the integrity and reliability of the BIM models from the outset,” Mr Frise explained.

And he added that, in addition to its application to specific construction projects, the use of BIM by contractors could also lead to increased efficiency – and therefore savings – within their own firms.

In a foreword to the guide, David Philp, head of implementation at the Cabinet Office, acknowledged that BIM is “significantly altering the way in which the construction industry creates and cares for or its assets”.

Constructing buildings “virtually” allows organisations to identify and resolve problems before they occur, according to Mr Philp – who adds that the benefits of BIM are not “anchored to a particular project size”, and that small and medium-sized firms are “well placed to implement BIM”.

Meanwhile, BSI has published a standard – PAS 1192-2 – which is designed to eliminate the problems caused by firms using different BIM systems and software. Compliance with the new standard will be mandatory on all public sector projects with effect from 2016.

Electronic copies of First Steps to BIM Competence: A Guide for Specialist Contractors are available for free dowload from the NSCC website at www.nscc.org.uk and the SEC Group website at www.secgroup.org.uk.

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