Construction: Building Information Management

February 27, 2014

Although BIM (Building Information Management) first appeared conceptually many years ago, it has come to prominence much more recently, partly as a result of the UK Government Report entitled “Construction 2025”.

The BIM concept is widely seen as the way forward for the construction industry.  The report can be downloaded at www.gov.uk.bis  and envisages an industry-wide roll-out of BIM.  The UK Government intends to mandate BIM for all centrally procured Government contracts from 2016. BIM is not simply 3-D modelling because it encompasses a broad range of design information, which may include environmental information and cost and life cycle information.  It can provide the ability to offer 3-D tours to key stake-holders, as with the Government’s pilot BIM schemes.  Adoption of BIM principles is expected to afford great savings e.g. in terms of temporary works and problem avoidance.

Probably BIM’s greatest strength is its potential to alert the parties to problems before they become critical, and thereby manage the risks effectively.  The Information Manager‘s role is crucial. It will be vital to accurately track design changes and to recognise the impact on other areas of the project, such as whether an item of temporary works affects the order of building, or does a change of design impact on the procurement programme?  It is a risk management tool as much as a design tool, although as there are different types of BIM software available, its capabilities will no doubt vary.

One very interesting aspect is whether parties to a BIM project, and who have access to a much wider range of information that under a conventional construction project, so that the duty to warn as implied in the Aurum Investments case is expanded, which in turn may impact on insurance premiums and overhead costs.