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Talking Point with Scott Bennison

Discussing what the geotechnics industry needs to do to get the BIM bandwagon on the road

Th e government’s construction strategy to strengthen the public sector’s capability in Building Information Modelling (BIM) implementation has seen many private sector businesses turning their attention to the technology - not least, to ensure their own operation is compatible with central government departments, which are adopting collaborative Level 2 BIM as a minimum by 2016.

While this has had a positive impact on the construction industry as a whole, the ground engineering sector still has a long road ahead before it has fully embraced BIM.

In order to be completely operational BIM requires buy in from everyone - resulting in stumbling blocks, while our sector plays catch up and we ourselves, our supply chains, contractors and subcontractors fully embrace the technology.

In the construction industry, especially in ground engineering, companies rub shoulders on a day-to-day basis - sharing data across a number of jobs.

“In order to be completely operational BIM requires buy in from everyone”

Th is is where, for many, the problems have arisen. Businesses embracing BIM are working with suppliers, contractors and other associates that have yet to introduce BIM to their operation and vice versa. This creates a chicken and egg scenario.

The companies embracing the new technology are unable to fully utilise it and as such can’t appreciate its full benefits and the remaining companies are left questioning the true relevance BIM holds for their operation.

Everyone understands that BIM is something that we should be working towards, however it’s also important that a same level understanding is achieved across the processes required to make BIM fully functional in our industry.

Add to this that many of the projects and sites currently being contracted were in planning before BIM was actively introduced, and companies are left with a scope of options, neither one of which delivers in unison with contractors, clients and subcontractors.

As a well-established industry, adapting to new technologies is not alien to any of us, however it is not an overnight job. In order to fully utilise BIM, it is essential we work as an industry and unite to integrate this technology, which, in short, is set to revolutionise and streamline the way we work - providing better communications, greater efficiency, more precise programmes and estimating, and reduced risk.

Th ere isn’t likely to be an alternative technology launched to the market, so we need to ensure we’re maximising this opportunity. It’s time to agree on a cause of action moving forward, and while the Federation of Piling Specialists has made headway in promoting the benefits of BIM, it is also essential that the government mandate Level 2 adoption of BIM implements a process to which we can all adhere.

Without such a process to structure the way our industry uses BIM, it will remain a rocky road ahead.

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