The time is now for action on BIM

Leanne McMillan

2017 is the year when BIM comes to the fore for those involved in the Scottish built environment. Here, Leanne McMillan, sustainable development and accreditation director at BRE Scotland, highlights that time is running out for the sector to take the necessary action required

AS we move towards a digital built environment, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is viewed as a key part for the future of the Scottish construction industry and becomes a reality in Scotland in April 2017, giving those operating in the sector just months rather than years to get ready for the changes.

Public sector organisations have already begun to prepare for the changes and in the past 12 months, in order to work towards achieving the required Level 2 BIM accreditation, over 4000 individuals have undertaken training with BRE, the industry leading BIM training provider in the UK.

BRE Global BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification scheme assesses a business, based at a single or multiple locations, in relation to the BIM policy and capability defined in PAS 1192-2:2013 and PAS 91. It also assesses the ability of the business to meet the requirements of an employer to carry out a BIM capability assessment. The scheme has been designed to enable certificated businesses to demonstrate compliance with PAS91-2013 section 4.2, so that they will not have to provide evidence of competence each time they undertake a tender.

BIM will introduce digital technology within construction projects in a bid to improve collaboration and data management within projects. With this increased sharing and analysis of data, the benefits derived from BIM are expected to assist the Scottish built environment sector in delivering improved efficiencies through the various stages of a project including design, construction and operations.

With public sector construction spending in Scotland accounting for £4 billion annually, it is fitting that those involved with public sector contracts will be the first obliged to attain BIM Level 2 accreditation.

From April 2017, the new BIM regulations become mandatory in Scotland for all public sector contracts above the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) threshold of £4.32 million, which will have a significant impact on the built environment.

Building, civil engineering and facilities management contractor McLaughlin & Harvey became the first construction company in Scotland to be awarded BRE Global BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification, however they remain in the minority, as only a small percentage of those undertaking the required BIM training have been from Scotland.

Before BIM accreditation becomes compulsory, it is of vital importance that those within the sector, including designers, architects, developers and contractors not only embrace the change but also gain an understanding of the Scottish BIM programme, its requirements and the actions they need to take.

In a bid to address this and assist where possible, a number of companies have introduced training schemes to make the achievement of accreditation as straightforward and time efficient as possible. These include the BRE Academy which now offers both classroom and online BIM training to individuals and companies based in Scotland. In addition, they are working with university partners in BIM aspiring to accredit new graduates thereby “future proofing” the next generation.

Another focal point early in the New Year is the BIM Scotland conference which takes place in Glasgow on 17 January.

Chaired by David Philp, global director of Building Information Modelling (BIM), speakers including Ainslie McLaughlin, director, procurement and commercial, the Scottish Government, Paul Oakley, director of BIM, BRE, Prof. Bimal Kumar, professor of IT in design and construction, and head of BIM, School of Engineering and Built Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University and Dr Sarah Graham, head of global VE sales, IES/ chair of CIBSE BIM Scottish Region Sub Group, will consider the impact of BIM, the potential it offers those involved in the built environment and how widespread adoption of this new way of working could positively influence the Scottish sector’s performance in the UK and global marketplaces.