Attended by nearly 100 professionals from across the construction industry, the Tata Steel webinar – ‘The construction supply chain cannot realistically deliver BIM Level 2: Discuss’- posed a number of questions to the audience, which produced insightful and honest results.
Here, Alex Small, BIM and Digital Platforms Manager at Tata Steel explores the poll findings.
The construction industry consists mainly of SME’s that are facing an ever-changing landscape of legislation, technology and initiatives. Bringing together professionals from throughout the supply chain, the #TalkBIM webinar considered the cost, barriers and potential solutions that will allow the UK construction sector to deliver BIM Level 2.
The first question asked to the panel and attendees was ‘What is the main issue for the construction supply chain in delivering BIM Level 2?’ Topping the poll with 68% of respondents’ votes was a ‘lack of clear client requirements’. An expected and unsurprising result, a lack of clear requirements within the supply chain has been acknowledged as one of the main barriers to BIM adoption, resulting in either too much or not enough data being supplied.
Strongly agreeing with the poll, Martin Simpson, Director at Centre for the Digital Built Environment at the University of Liverpool said that the issue begins at the start of the BIM process where BIM requirements are not being articulated to consultants or designers. Consequently, the information is not cascaded through the supply chain to contractors and operators.
David Jellings, Managing Director of BIMobject interestingly highlighted that the poll result was the same as a similar poll from 2012. Surveying more than 400 SMEs from tier one manufacturing supply chains, the 2012 survey found that the biggest barrier to BIM was a ‘lack of clear direction from the top’ – reinforcing that the barrier is yet to be overcome.
Supporting this result, the second poll found that 62% of respondents felt they ‘don’t know what to deliver’ when considering the biggest hurdle facing manufacturers in delivering BIM Level 2.
Acknowledging that the lack of standards has not aided the delivery of BIM, Paul Surin, Head of Built Environment at Weinerberger suggested that firstly, manufacturers should look internally to digitalise and structure their data. Building on Paul’s comments, Steve Thompson, Associate Director and Head of Digital Manufacturing at PCSG emphasised that before embarking on their BIM journey, companies need to consider the long-term use and value of data to their business. This can then help guide and shape a BIM journey.
The final question asked, ‘What is the main contributory factor to the complexity of BIM?’ Splitting the audience, 38% voted for ‘lack of guidance’ while 38% voted for ‘too many platforms/options’.
How product information is defined throughout the lifecycle is currently being determined. This will result in the introduction of PAS 1192 Part 7, which Steve Thompson advised would create a more consistent “BIM language”, simplifying the process for manufacturers.
Addressing the issue surrounding too many options, David Jellings suggested that the consistency in the poll shows that the top end of the supply chain can help by having clear content management systems built upon industry standards, to help control and manage the application of the data. This would provide direction and requirements from the top of the supply chain that can drive the industry forward.
From the discussions and comments received from the audience, there is a noticeable lack of direction and guidance throughout the supply chain for those beginning a BIM journey or delivering information required for BIM Level 2. This is something that BIM4M2, the task group formed to support manufacturers in BIM data/object delivery, is now focused on resolving.
Following the success of the Tata Steel webinar, for upcoming events the company will join efforts with BIM4M2, encouraging the supply chain to come together, to define the barriers that need to be overcome and offer solutions to help those starting out on their BIM journey.
To watch the webinar in full, please visit: https://www.tatasteelconstruction.com/en_GB/services-and-downloads/bim/Tata-Steel-now-have-BIM-objects-available-for-their-construction-products