SEC briefing identifies software licence fees and poor practice as key problems in implementing BIM


Specialist contractors are struggling to adopt Building Information Modelling (BIM) because of rising software costs and poor practice by tier one contractors, an industry briefing to government has warned.

The briefing, which was prepared by the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group (SEC) and has been sent to the Cabinet Office, catalogues a series of problems faced by specialist firms due to the introduction of BIM across the industry.

The briefing, seen by Building, claims BIM software providers are increasing licence fees and that poor adaptability between software packages is leading to high conversion costs.

There’s a real danger that BIM development will be driven by software houses

SEC briefing

The briefing also criticises poor practices by tier one contractors, such as not bringing specialists into the design process early enough, dumping information management responsibility on specialists and offering “BIM seminars” that result in additional costs for supply chain firms.

Tier one contractors are offloading costs of up to £150,000-a-project to individual subcontractors by transferring responsibility for BIM data co-ordination, the briefing says.

It is also highly critical of inadaptable software. It gives an example of an M&E firm that was forced to spend £5,000 getting a BIM model converted into a usable format by an Australian technology company.

It says there is a “real danger that BIM development will be driven by software houses [rather than firms].”

The Cabinet Office, through its Government Construction Strategy, has mandated the use of BIM on all government projects by 2016.

David Frise, chair of the BIM group at SEC Group, said: “You’ve got to engage with the supply chain and with organisations that are… in survival mode.”