Building Information Modelling

18 November, 2016
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

This week the construction team at Cripps Pemberton Greenish has been hearing more about the practical operation of BIM (Business Information Modelling).

Our good friends from Hazle McCormack Young, architects, and Baxall Construction, contractors, took time out to describe their experiences of working on projects where BIM has been employed.

To say that their view is positive is to understate it – at times, they seemed close to evangelical. Collaboration, capturing whole life information, sharing, clash detection, better design, time saved in construction delivery. So are we soon going to see BIM soon on almost every project?

A recent survey by Building Magazine[1] is revealing.  It shows that the industry is ‘progressing rapidly to digitise itself’.  Use of BIM by respondents was up on the previous year.  Scepticism, however, remains rife, more ‘hpye than substance’ was a view shared by many respondents.  There is also a general perception that only the major players can embrace BIM and then only on the larger projects.

The biggest barrier to the use of BIM appears to be lack of client interest. There is a perception that the use of BIM will increase overall project costs.  This is particularly so at the initial design stage.  A developer who has not yet obtained planning permission will try to keep a tight lid on design costs.  Using BIM will inevitably lead to a need to make decisions earlier in the process so some costs will be incurred sooner that in a traditional process.  However, that has to be weighed against the benefits of tying down these decisions early meaning that the construction delivery phase should proceed with far fewer changes and delays.

Our preachers claimed that outturn costs were being driven down through the process; and this of course does not apply just to the construction phase, the client or end user should be able to manage its whole life costs and planned maintenance far more cost effectively.

We came away from our talk persuaded by the benefits. But it is not us who need to be converted, it is the prospective clients.  It is they who need to be convinced that their project is more likely to be delivered to time, to quality and to budget and that, with the benefit of building information, their project is a more attractive investment for the end user.


[1] 11 November 2016