BIM Capability Audit of Contracting-Based Organisations

BIM Capability Audit of Contracting-Based Organisations

Graham Hayne (Glasgow Caledonian University, School of Engineering and Built Environment, Glasgow, United Kingdom) and Bimal Kumar (Glasgow Caledonian University, School of Engineering and Built Environment, Glasgow, United Kingdom)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJ3DIM.2016100102


The UK government set up a BIM Task Group in 2011 to provide guidance and support to the industry. This paper reports on BIM Capability audits that were undertaken on two contractor-based organisations to assess their level of readiness to implement BIM level 2 and to highlight training and upskilling needs. The audits were undertaken using a detailed set of 80 questions covering technology, workflows, processes and business strategies. Follow up interviews were undertaken to clarify any ambiguities in the responses received. A vertical cross section of each organisation was audited in order to provide a fully representative sample of the companies as the implementation of BIM will have an impact on the whole business model of the firms. The organisations had differing aspirations and timescales for the implementation of BIM and to some extent this was demonstrated by the outcome of the audits. The results were found to be consistent with the findings of another major similar HS2 upskilling study which the authors were also involved in.
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The UK Government Construction Strategy was published by the Cabinet office on 31 May 2011 (Cabinet Office, 2011). The report announced the UK Government’s intention to require collaborative Level 2 BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) on centrally procured Government projects by 2016.

BIM (Building Information Modelling) is an acronym that many people in the construction industry are becoming increasingly interested in. BIM is not a new concept, but the current frenzy within the United Kingdom construction industry is driven by the UK Government’s directive on using BIM in all public-sector projects from 2016. The construction industry in the UK (as well as most countries in the world) is a major contributor to the economy, accounting for almost 10% of the country’s gross national output (ONS, 2009). Despite this, this industry is not the most progressive and profitable sectors in most countries. Unpredictability and low profitability are both caused by the same underlying phenomenon in large part – the devastatingly low quality of most of the information used on modern construction projects’ (Crotty, 2012). These are some the reasons and drivers for the adoption of BIM in the construction industry. There have been several studies (Latham, 1994; Egan, 1998) carried out to establish the root causes of these issues and suggest solutions. Most of these studies have picked up on relatively low usage of IT (Information Technology) tools within the industry to communicate information. However, these studies have fallen short of addressing the challenge of how information was generated, stored and communicated. It is common knowledge that technologies are mere facilitators, but unless all stakeholders speak the same language, meaning that they all use the same standards and protocols and processes for information generation and communication, even the best state-of-the-art technologies will not be effective. So, it is now generally believed that for far too long in the construction industry, there has been an inordinate emphasis on information technology and not enough on information management. The adoption of so-called Level 2 BIM (Figure 1) is essentially an attempt to streamline digitised information management within the construction industry.

Level 2 BIM (as shown in the “wedge diagram” of Figure 1) has been defined as a series of domain specific models (e.g. architectural, structural, services, etc.) within the provision of a single environment (Common Data Environment) to store shared data and information using the standard data representation schema Construction Operations Buildings Information Exchange (COBie) (BSI, 2013).

Within the UK, the BIM task group has also defined the three kinds of information that constitute the deliverables of level 2 BIM as follows:

  • Native 3D parametric discipline models;

  • 2D PDF drawings cut from the model;

  • COBie data information.

Figure 1.

BIM maturity levels (“Wedge Diagram”)


To assist organisations in achieving the mandate, the government has released a series of documents that cover the processes required to achieve level 2 BIM. This is a major differentiator to other countries who have adopted BIM technologies such as the USA, many North European Countries, and Asian and other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The documents are provided to facilitate the increased benefits, such as reduced operation and maintenance costs over the life cycle of the project, for the client and facility owner/operator that are achievable if BIM level 2 based procurement management processes are adopted. The documents, with brief descriptions are as follows:

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