39543717_sUK: A survey is to be conducted to discover how prepared the building services sector is to adopt Building Information Modelling (BIM).

The online survey, to be conducted by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), supported by CIBSE and BSRIA, is designed to reveal how prepared the sector is to adopt BIM Level 2 practice. BIM Level 2 allows for the sharing of digital building information between those involved in building and maintaining the structure.

The survey comes at a crucial time for the sector, because the UK Government will require BIM Level 2 engagement when they award contracts from 2016. Many other bodies, including those in the commercial and public sectors, have also committed to introduce BIM Level 2 as a requirement in bidding for contracts next year.

Hywel Davies, CIBSE technical director, said: “Government is committed to using BIM to improve its management and operation of buildings and infrastructure. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing services are all critical to the effective operation of buildings. Our sector is involved in the operational life and performance of built assets, not just the design and delivery.

“Getting the right information into the model and then ensuring that the model is still accurate on handover to the building managers and operators is key to the whole success of BIM. This survey is important for our sector to understand how well prepared we are for BIM.”

Paul Reeve, ECA’s Director of Business Services, added: “This sector-wide survey will provide much needed and very timely information on how ready the building services sector is to engage with BIM as we approach the 2016 government deadline. The survey will provide the sector with much needed information on how well the sector is prepared, and highlight any specific issues.

This is despite a recent European survey revealing that 64% of UK hvac contractors have never even heard of BIM (BIM a mystery to most installers, June 26, 2015). That report, by Dutch consultancy USP, revealed that while the UK was exhibiting better engagement with BIM than many of its European partners, only 6% of hvac installers are using it already.

Commenting on the Dutch survey, Hywel Davies said: “Although there have been surveys in the UK showing higher levels of BIM awareness and readiness, there has always been some doubt about the real levels of preparedness.”

Referring to the requirement for Level 2 BIM on all government contracts from next April, Davies said: “Many of these contracts will be let to the larger M&E installers, who may number as few as 20 or 30, in a sector of many smaller businesses which do not work on central government contracts. So the low percentage of aware firms is not entirely surprising.”

UK government and other leading exponents see the real gains with BIM coming from the operational phase. “Indeed, some experts working for government on the BIM programme describe the objective as ‘making government a better buyer of asset information’,” Davies added.

“In a market economy, as the survey says, this will ultimately come down to clients. If they realise the potential benefits of owning a good information model of their assets over the operational life, they will want it. At that point, ignorance of BIM could be a business threatening matter. But we are not there yet.

“In the meantime, we hope to get a better understanding of the current state of awareness from our survey.”

All building services companies are being urged to take part in the new survey. The resulting data will be shared with the industry, the Government and other stakeholders.

The BIM study will run until September 15, and can be accessed by visiting this link.

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BIM – a mystery to most installers – June 26, 2015
NETHERLANDS: Governments may seeBIM as the next big thing in building design, but a new report suggests it is a mystery to most hvac installers. Read more…