UK Construction Media

UK BIM Alliance: Exclusive interview with the transition team

News   •   Oct 27, 2016 10:43 BST

UK Construction Online’s Matt Brown talks to Adrien Guillemet and Raj Chawla to discuss the role of the newly launched UK BIM Alliance.

Raj is the CTO & Projects Director at NUNELAH, Transition Team Member of UK BIM Alliance, Vice Chair of BIM4SMEs & an Executive of digital2all. Raj advises World Bank on disruptive engineering technologies and is the chair of DART (Disruption Assessment & Risk Targeting Group).

He has 35 years experience in specialised construction management & construction engineering consultancy to companies world-wide acquired in the Aerospace, Defence, Telecommunications, Nuclear and Petro-Chemical sectors.

Adrien Guillemet is the BIM and Information Manager at Henry Riley LLP. He joined the company in 2014 as the KTP Associate attached to the University of Reading with a goal to implement BIM Level 2 as business-as-usual practice in the company’s processes. He is responsible for all BIM projects the company delivers, in terms of both information management and technological delivery. As well as being responsible for the BIM development of the business, he is also leading the Digital Strategy stream of Henry Riley LLP.

Adrien is part of the Transition Team currently leading the UK BIM Alliance and his primary focus is the long-term strategy of the organisation. He developed the Strategy Plan of the Alliance that was unveiled at ICE BIM Conference 2016 and will continue to ensure its implementation in the future.

Can you tell us about the role of the UK BIM Alliance?

The UK BIM Alliance is a cross-industry alliance formed to lead BIM Level 2 and the digital formation of the construction and infrastructure sectors. The UK Government has called for the wider industry to adopt BIM Level 2 from spring 2016. In response we have formed an industry alliance to fulfil this role.

At its core, it is an alliance of industry, professional institutes, communities & academia all coming together to found the digitisation of the construction and infrastructure sectors.

Following the success of the last five years in defining BIM Level 2, the Government has stated that it should now be the responsibility of industry to lead the adoption and implementation of BIM Level 2 to be ‘business as usual’ – not just for centrally procured public sector projects.

The video is a brief synopsis.

What are its objectives?

Upon its launch in October 2016, the UK BIM Alliance will start to provide clear guidance for the industry. This includes identifying and realising the actual benefits: cost and waste reductions, increased productivity and competitiveness – and making sure that these are easily understandable and obtainable for all.

Our focus will be the implementation of BIM Level 2 across the wider industry over the next 4 years to 2020, which will establish the essential digital foundations for BIM Level 3 as we move to 2025 and beyond.

Who will be involved in the UK BIM Alliance?

The UK BIM Alliance is formed from the BIM4 Communities and Regions originally set up by the UK BIM Task Group. There is an elected transition team who have shaped the strategy and objectives of the Alliance. There is a strategy document which is a published document, that is available on the UK BIM Alliances website.

A further process will lead to the longer term structure and governance of the Alliance once formally launched. Coordination, common messaging and understanding are key across a growing coalition of organisations represented by industry, communities, academia and professional institutes.

Will the UK BIM Alliance have a presence at any upcoming events to raise awareness of its launch?

There was an official launch at the ICE BIM Conference and this will continue to a wider audience at Digital Construction Week (DCW). The formal handover from the BIM Task Group to the UK BIM Alliance will take place at the DCW’s Westminster Reception at the Irish Embassy on 25th October.

Over the next few months, the Alliance will start to build a calendar to be present at key events and may also support other similar events. It is indeed the awareness; and we are here to entice and enrol new entrants to BIM Level 2 as well as support those who have already embarked on their journey.

What will be the main differences between the UK BIM Alliance and the BIM Task group?

The BIM Task Group isn’t going away this October when the UK BIM Alliance launches, it will transform to the leading the Digital Built Britain agenda and start the leadership on BIM Level 3. The mission of the UK BIM Alliance is wholly different from the BIM Task Group with regards to BIM Level 2.

The BIM Task Group was in charge of writing the standards that regulate BIM Level 2, this task now completed the UK BIM Alliance takes over to help make BIM Level 2 business as usual in the industry by 2020. The Alliance’s role is to ensure that the industry takes up the new ways of working established by the BIM Level 2 mandate, so that the industry stands ready for the next milestone.

Has the BIM Level 2 mandate thrown up any difficulties that hadn’t been considered previously?

There are challenges, but with clear vision and direction nothing is unsurmountable. The key is the awareness around BIM Level 2. By adopting BIM Level 2 it will start to create the digital formation of the sector. This is an important factor that is usually overlooked. The outcomes being cost and waste reductions, increased productivity and competitiveness.

A further challenge is around explaining the value proposition to business and industry. In order for mass in the industry to buy-in, requires clear messages and guidance. This something that at the forefront of the Alliance’s strategy.

Do you think there is now more awareness of BIM six months on from April’s Level 2 mandate across the industry?

There is more awareness since the mandate, but a lot more needs to be done to get critical mass. The awareness strategy is high on the agenda for the Alliance. As seen in the video the estimates are that some 90% of the industry still need reaching.

For industry to take up BIM Level 2 process, the value proposition has to be explained. There are early adopters who have understood the value proposition of implementing the processes within their businesses and case studies have shown success and how value is added to the businesses.

Do you get a sense of a momentum now building behind the adoption of BIM Level 2?

There is a sense of momentum, but it is now up to us at the Alliance to provide the final kick to make sure the industry passes the col de l’adoption and gets down the mountain smoothly on the other side.

The benefits of BIM Level 2 have been well documented. Is there still an issue of stubbornness holding up the industry’s transition?

One of the main missions of the UK BIM Alliance will be to celebrate successful BIM Level 2 projects and draw out lessons learned, as well as provide guidance from case studies and business cases for the adoption of BIM Level 2. We recognize that some good work as already been done to date to demonstrate the benefits of BIM Level 2.

However, we feel that there is plenty left to explore in this space, including highlighting tangible savings from design all the way into facility management and life cycle costing. We aim to demonstrate that every stakeholder stands to gain from adopting BIM Level 2, including the client.

If there is any stubbornness in adopting BIM Level 2, it is without a doubt, because we need to rationalize its impact on “the bottom line”. We need to speak the language that businesses speak and the bottom line is usually the final arbiter of change.

Does the UK BIM Alliance have a date in mind when it will transition to another body or will that be dependent on how the industry reacts?

There is absolutely no plan for the Alliance to be anything other than the Alliance. We are here to help the industry adopt BIM Level 2 because we wholeheartedly believe that it is the best chance the industry has to revolutionise itself and become leaner and more efficient whilst attracting young talents the industry desperately needs.

The governance of the Alliance will be on our radar very quickly after the launch, after which there is no ulterior motives, we simply believe in the future of the industry as a new foyer of innovation.

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