The EU amended OJEU procurement rules last month - this presents opportunities for UK BIM

Pete Baxter

Last month saw the European Parliament call to modernise EU public works projects by using BuildingInformation Modelling (BIM) technology as part of the European Public Procurement Directive, something which I was really pleased to hear.

By way of background, the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Norway already require the use of BIM for publicly-funded building projects. Now, European countries are encouraged over a two-year timeframe to adopt BIM in public works to reduce costs and project overruns and to modernise the procurement process.

The news of the Procurement Directive in EU also reflects the more complex design and construction process which we all now work in - putting in place a standardised model will remove some of the complexity around local regulations and ensure that a high level of delivery is maintained. In particular, this is an exciting development for our industry for two key reasons -

  • First, the UK building industry has world-leading expertise in using BIM and, with our own BIM mandate already in place with UK businesses, this news potentially opens up new export market opportunities for UK design and construction businesses.
  • Secondly, the announcement will bring in a new wave of procurement and public consultation in these types of projects. To take the UK as an example, the UK government estimates that it has saved £1.7 billion (2 billion Euro) on major public building projects since the BIM mandate in 2012 and that 66 per cent of the UK’s Major Project Authority portfolio is now being delivered on time and within budget, a substantial improvement on the 33 per cent seen in 2010.

As a technology and design company, we certainly have a role to play in helping to define these standards and acting as an adviser - aiding government and agencies to understand the technology opportunity and how this can support UK commercial efforts for the future.

In this instance, better procurement processes and the gains associated with volume purchase agreements, standardisation and mass customisation where appropriate, but most importantly in the current economic climate, more value to the taxpayer and the delivery of better facilities.

However, I would stress that designers and construction industry employees shouldn’t see the news as restricting the industry in any way. There is no suggestion that this could lead to standardised solutions or a “cookie cutter” approach to design. The theme underpinning this development is embedded in achieving better quality design and a better experience for users - something which we should all be on board with.

Pete Baxter is vice president for engineering, natural resources and infrastructure sales for Autodesk in EMEA