A survey by RICS shows that nearly half of the sector is still not using BIM. We must work to overcome the barrriers to engagement, says Alan Muse

Alan Muse

Building Information Modelling is dominating the industry’s agenda for 2013. In our recent BIM survey,

100% of respondents, from a broad spectrum of disciplines, said they have adopted, or are actively considering adopting BIM. This response demonstrates that BIM is now being recognised by the entire industry.

Despite this high level of interest in BIM, 49% of respondents in the survey, which was held at RICS’ National BIM Conference, stated they are not currently using the process. This can be attributed to the barriers currently restricting the adoption of BIM. The results of the survey also give a strong indication as to where these barriers lie, with 46% of respondents identifying minimal client demand as a major factor preventing their implementation of BIM. Quite simply, some clients are not yet recognising the efficiencies BIM can bring.

However, to achieve a change in client attitudes there needs to be a seismic shift in the industry. Some 23% of respondents identified culture, and 15% a lack of industry collaboration, as barriers to implementing BIM. Collaboration is particularly important as it is only when BIM is implemented at every stage of the property’s life-cycle from design and build through occupation and management that processes and financial efficiencies can be maximised.

It is clear that something needs to be done to help push a cultural shift within the sector.

Initiating a new culture

As a result, RICS is taking active steps in supporting its members and the wider industry with the development of a BIM accreditation. This directly addresses the current lack of standards in BIM, identified by 17% of survey respondents as a barrier to BIM uptake, and provides the necessary training that 17% of respondents called for RICS to provide.

This accreditation should help to prompt a shift in attitudes within and beyond the sector by supporting professionals in delivering consistency in their approach to BIM.

The improved efficiency in delivery of service should result in cost savings, thereby increasing client demand for BIM.

46% identified minimal client demand as a major factor preventing their implementation of BIM. Quite simply, some clients are not yet recognsing the efficiencies that BIM can bring

We are also directly contributing to the improvements in information and project management through RICS’ QS and Construction Standards (Black Book) and New Rules of Measurement (NRM) 1, 2 and 3. These provide consistency of training and a total project life-cycle cost management system.

In addition to training and standards, the results from the survey overwhelmingly identified a need for organisations like RICS to work with other bodies (55% of respondents) and continue to influence government policy (15% of respondents). We are already working to initiate this through our representation on the Construction Industry Council (CIC), the government-initiated Taskgroup for BIM, and the Government Trial Project Support Group.

We are also looking to work collaboratively with key industry bodies including the RIBA, the British Institute of Facilities Management, and the British Property Federation, to ensure BIM guidance is “joined up” across all sectors - thereby maximising its potential success.

We have welcomed the launch of BIM4SME by the CIC and government BIM Task Group and the vital support it will provide to SMEs in understanding and engaging with BIM. RICS’ recent UK Construction Market Survey showed that just under a third (28%) of the industry is currently using BIM, a figure that is likely to rise. It is therefore imperative that SMEs embrace BIM in order to remain competitive.

If fully embraced, BIM will be a positive force for change in the construction and property industry and beyond. We are trying to enable the realisation of this potential by providing the tools and influence the industry has identified are needed. However, further work is needed if the industry is fully to realise BIM’s potential.

Alan Muse is director of Built Environment Professionals Groups at RICS. To view the BIM survey results in full, visit www.rics.org/uk/tag/bim