We will arrive in 2016 with most BIM-experienced teams not having used a final layer of important tools


Were you under the impression that Level 2 BIM was now fully described and enabled by the tools released in 2013?

Well, it seems we were wrong.

Last year’s package of PAS 1192-2 & 3, the CIC Protocol, Government Soft Landings and COBie 2012 UK did not, it seems, bottom out the requirements for good practice to allow all the functionality of Level 2 BIM.

The two missing parts are:

  • A classification system to tag all elements and empower machine reading; none of the present systems has universal support;
  • A full, digital description of the Level of Detail (LOD) content from each player at each stage, also referred to as the Digital Plan of Work or dPoW.

Without the latter it is necessary for each team to define their own stage-end deliverables and they are typically doing this in geometry terms only. The American Institute of Architects definition of LOD is essentially 3D where as we seek 6D. With both these tools it will be possible for automatic validation of information exchange submissions to be done, and for cost analyses and COBie to be automatically populated from the BIM. Applications and reports for varied users will be able to run on the data.

The reason that these two important elements were not prepared earlier is that they are both very big jobs and need a funded, professional approach. The 2013 issue of tools was prepared largely with volunteer efforts. That won’t do for dPoW and Classification and there was not the money to commission anyone until now. The Technology Strategy Board has stepped in to the breach to provide that money.

A competition was launched on 10 February at www.innovateuk.org. Up to eight competitors will be funded to do feasibility studies by July this year. Then one winner or a combination will be given the full contract this September with a million-pound budget for completion in mid 2015. TSB held stakeholder workshops these last few weeks to define the tools’ performance and their desired qualities.

So we will arrive in 2016 with most BIM-experienced teams not having used this final layer of tools. It’s already clear from the early-adopters that substantial advantages are gained in using BIM as currently enabled, so these further steps will add to the productivity gain. Let us hope that the task proves practicable and that we can finish the job. The UK’s very exportable Level 2 model needs all its bells and whistles.

Richard Saxon is the UK’s BIM ambassador for growth. He is also on the board of the CIC, responsible for innovation www.saxoncbe.com