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Path to BIM clearly charted

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Building Information Modelling Level 2 has been compulsory for use on all central government construction projects since 4 April. The government has thrown its weight strongly behind this move to promote more collaborative and efficient ways of working and has worked for four years to get the construction industry ready.

However it seems, if some of the surveys published on the eve of BIM’s introduction are to be believed, that about two thirds of those surveyed believe the industry is not ready and is unable to comply with BIM requirements. Just over half the industry is reported to be actually using BIM, which is the same as two years ago, so there is little sign of a last minute rush to become compliant.

In contrast and as is well known, the steel construction sector has been well placed to support its clients in their drive towards BIM.   Thanks to the early introduction of CNC equipment and the widespread use of 3D modelling software the sector is well on the way to BIM compliance. Benefits being reported from the new focus on BIM include better coordination of construction documentation, cost efficiencies, improved visualisation throughout the design and construction process, and happier clients.

Now, thanks to the launch of the BCSA’s Steel Construction BIM Charter, steelwork contractors can formally demonstrate compliance with Level 2 BIM requirements. The good news for clients is that using a BCSA member that has signed up to the Charter is a simple and assured way of ensuring that they are meeting the government’s BIM requirements.

The Steel Construction BIM Charter means BCSA Member companies can now be certified against the requirements of both PAS 91:2013 and PAS 1192-2:2013. So clients can be sure that, among other things, a BCSA member that has taken the steps to join the Charter is able to work on projects using a Common Data Environment.

They can take comfort from knowing that their constructional steelwork supplier has all the relevant documented policy, systems and procedures to achieve Level 2 BIM maturity, and complies with supply chain assessment requirements.  Such a company will also have arrangements in place for training employees in BIM related skills and for assessing their capabilities.

The BCSA’s BIM Charter certification process requires companies to carry out online assessments, which are followed up by onsite audits. The BCSA’s online directories mean clients and main contractors can see which companies have been assessed against the BIM Charter.

The introduction of BIM has been hailed as the UK showing global leadership in a drive to digitize the construction industry. It is fitting that steel construction, a sector that is acknowledged as the world leader in its field, is leading this drive.

Nick Barrett

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