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Strengthening our position – Construction Manager’s Annual BIM Survey

Strengthening our position – Construction Manager’s Annual BIM Survey image

Following the publication of the Construction Manager’s Annual BIM Survey - 2017, we provide an assessment of BIM, and its wider impact on the UK construction industry, over the last 12 months:

Link to Survey Overview: http://www.constructionmanager... year has breezed passed since Construction Manager’s last Annual Building Information Modelling (BIM) Survey. In that time, the construction sector has undergone significant change. While enjoying a period of sustained growth, the uncertainty of Brexit, and the sudden departure of big-name players from the field, poses questions for the entire industry.

Nevertheless, GRAHAM has continued to strengthen its position as a leader in construction throughout 2017 - exemplified in its receipt of the ‘Major Contractor of the Year’ at the UK Building Awards.

Key to this success has been our utilisation, and promotion, of BIM.

Pushing the boundaries of innovation, we received the ultimate seal of approval after becoming the first UK wide company to achieve the prestigious British Standards Institute (BSI) Kitemark™ certification for both BIM Design and Construction (PAS 1192-2) and Asset Management (PAS 1192-3).

GRAHAM’s Head of BIM and Digital Construction, Melanie Dawson, has been the driving force behind our “digital by default” approach. Here she provides an invaluable insight into BIM and its wider impact on GRAHAM’s award-winning operations.

“At GRAHAM, BIM is all about doing the right thing,” said Melanie, who has been instrumental in establishing GRAHAM to the forefront of BIM since 2008.

“It’s not just smart and effective, it’s providing a digital revolution for the construction industry. We’re implementing BIM on 100% of our projects and focussing on 3D, 4D and 5D BIM across all of our business regions and divisions. We’re doing this, not because we have to, but because we’re convinced of its benefits - for us and our partners and clients. While we’re firm advocates, overall I don’t think adoption of BIM has been fast enough within the industry as a whole. There remains a nervousness for a variety of reasons including perceptions around cost, the suitability of software and a general suspicion of its capabilities.”

Capitalising on BIM’s intelligent functionality can only be achieved if user’s, and also clients, understand its mechanics and capabilities. Having the appropriate in-house expertise is therefore imperative to extrapolate the tangible benefits throughout the concept, build, handover and lifecycle phases of individual projects.

“BIM is only as good as the people who are using it on a daily basis. For that reason, we’re committed to investing in the skills and development of our team. We’re also focussed on expanding too, and this growth is facilitated through our BIM Academy,” said Melanie.

“The colleagues within our team don’t realise just how good and talented they are. Graduates are coming out of university now with so many skills. They don’t have any negative baggage either, which creates the perfect mix of innovation and dynamism. With this knowledge our team is seamlessly engaging with clients and informing and upskilling them in terms of BIM’s capability.”

GRAHAM’s pioneering approach to BIM and digital technology was formally recognised by BSI in December 2017 following its dual Kitemark certification. This incredible achievement, a UK first, is formal recognition of our adherence to world-leading standards. Indeed, zero non-conformities were identified during the BSI Kitemark auditing process.

“We went for the two Kitemarks to continue to drive efficiency and reap the well reported benefits of BIM,” continued Melanie.

“The third party accreditation gives our clients and the supply chain we work with confidence that GRAHAM is a partner of choice when it comes to working smarter. BSI Kitemarks are only awarded when you are actually delivering BIM to the standard, it’s not about theory, it requires substantial demonstrable examples of excellent BIM delivery, which is why we are delighted to have both our Construction and Asset Management businesses at this level and to be the first in the UK and Ireland to get there.”

Some of our current exemplar BIM projects include the Baird & Anchor Hospitals on behalf of NHS Grampian, Scotland, a 383-unit build-to-rent development on Liverpool’s iconic waterfront and a Framework for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in Richmond, London. It’s evident that our BIM portfolio continues to expand within an evolving landscape.

“Over the past 12 months we’ve noticed that there has been an increase in demand from clients requesting BIM as part of the tender process and as a condition of contract,” added Melanie.

“More and more of them are inquisitive about its functionality. Some require BIM Level 2 while others look to take parts from it that they believe will add value. In response to this we’ve kicked up a gear and continued to challenge ourselves, which is reflected in our dual BSI Kitemark certification. We’re using the growing volume of information to make smarter decisions, control costs and deliver excellent projects. Furthermore, having the Asset Management certification helps us and our clients to realise the full benefits of BIM throughout the asset lifecycle while providing assurance and trust to asset owners.”

Although we continue to set the pace, and embrace change positively, there is still plenty of scope for BIM to leave a broader footprint in the wider industry.

“I have noticed some positive changes, specific to BIM, over the last 12 months. This is to be welcomed,” concluded Melanie.

“But there remains much to be done. I still think there needs to be a step-change in perception, particularly with clients. There also needs to be a broader understanding of the benefits of BIM across the industry. Construction is often viewed as a traditional industry with an inherent scepticism of new ideas and innovative ways of working. Ultimately, I’d like to see that culture change as embracing BIM and digital technology will only enhance the service offering to clients.”