At Space Group we have been on the digital and 3D journey since 2000, which is when we bought our first copy of Revit. This was way back - even before Autodesk bought the platform. We were completely fascinated by the parametric capabilities and the benefits that it could bring.
Of course, this was not BIM. The term had not even been invented at this point.
In May 2011 Paul Morrell, who was then the government’s Chief Construction Advisor, announced that BIM would be mandated on all government projects by 2016. Like so many other construction initiatives, such as the Egan and Latham reports, many in the industry believed BIM would come and go. However, a Task Group was established which pushed the agenda fantastically well and developed the documentation and framework to operate within.
A group within the industry began promoting digital construction and BIM and the believers began to grow. There were still many sceptics who were fearful of change but Generation Y needed new tools to deliver their projects.
BIM has captured the imagination like nothing else in the industry. Over the past 5 years we have seen the explosion of national adoption. Now it is undeniable - BIM is here to stay and not only that, it will grow even further from where it is today. The biggest sceptics have reluctantly had to get on board.
In the early days it was the private sector who saw the value first. Many London property developers used the models to manage their risk, this was followed by a number of Universities across the UK. Many of the large construction companies also adopted the approach as it was being stipulated by their clients - they then could see the value and started to develop their own internal teams. In the last couple of years, we have seen adoption in the public sector develop and as we have approached the deadline, activity has grown.
Sometimes these initiatives can wither and die once the deadline has been passed, however this does not seem to be the case with BIM or digital construction. In fact, progress continues to develop and perhaps, even quicken.
When Level 2 became a familiar term, we were handed the term Level 3 which suggested there was even further to go. This has developed into ‘Digital Built Britain’ and the excellent work of the past 5 years will continue. There was a fear in the industry that funding would be cut however with a mention in the 2016 budget and allocated funds this means that work can continue.
Our construction industry has been critiqued many times in recent years (often by myself) however the adoption of BIM has been a huge success and provides huge opportunities for the future. With the elopement of Digital Built Britain our industry can really start to integrate design, construction and operation, and lead the world in the delivery and operation of buildings.
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