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What Next for BIM Level 2 in the UK?

THE UK GOVERNMENT’s mandate for all centrally procured projects to be delivered using building information modelling (BIM) Level 2 came into effect in April 2016. So what impact has it had? Are we seeing widespread uptake across the country? We caught up with some leading experts to discuss the next steps for BIM Level 2 in the UK and the role that the newly formed “UK BIM Alliance” could play.


Since the BIM mandate was first published in the UK Government’s 2011 Construction Strategy, considerable work has been undertaken by the UK BIM Task Group to develop a suite of guidance documents and standards. These are widely recognised and have led international thinking on BIM process development.

But the challenge clearly lies in converting that theory into mass uptake in an industry infamously resistant to change.

“A lot of work has been done to get the BIM Level 2 foundations in place, but we’re nowhere near getting that into business as usual” explains Dr Anne Kemp, Atkins Fellow and Chair of the UK BIM Alliance. Her view is echoed by John Eynon of Open Water Consulting: “90% of the industry are struggling to get their heads around it and really get going on it”.

(Watch an explanation of what the different levels of BIM maturity mean).

Above: Dr Anne Kemp explained that the UK industry was "nowhere near" embracing BIM as business-as-usual.

“I think we’re at a critical time” explains Dr Kemp. “We could realise all of the advantages and investment that has been put in over the last five years by UK Government, or we could throw it all away.”

“90% of the industry are struggling to get their heads around it”

The need to leverage this ‘critical’ moment and to take the theory into widespread practice has led to the creation of the “UK BIM Alliance” – an open, cross industry group that is working to make BIM ‘business-as-usual’ in the UK by 2020. The Alliance is currently in a transition phase, taking over leadership of BIM Level 2 from the BIM Task Group.

“The UK BIM Alliance actually came out of an early discussion with the Task Group asking what the BIM4 Groups and BIM Regions could do about implementing BIM across the whole of the industry” explains Dr Kemp. “There was a fair amount of soul searching in that. We realised that if it was just the BIM4s that would be very inward looking and actually we need to bring industry together”.

Skanska UK’s Anita Soni, part of the Alliance Transition Team, explained how she saw the initiative as a hub and support system for industry. John Eynon, also engaged with the transition, described it as a ‘coming together’: “The power of the whole will be much greater than any of the groups individually and it’s this we need to unlock; we need to leverage that influence”.

Above: John Eynon explained how the "power of the whole" would be greater than any of the groups individually.

The Alliance plan a number of activities to support the industry in reaching BIM Level 2, co-ordinating the efforts of numerous BIM groups, regional centres and initiatives.

“Industry needs to step up to show leadership in this” said Dr Kemp. “It needs to come together to develop a common understanding, a common voice and a determination that this is an important step towards digital transformation”

John Eynon closed by reiterating the rational for UK BIM adoption: “The potential for the UK industry – particularly with BREXIT in mind and our trading performance at stake – is for our position as global leaders in BIM and information management to put us right at the top, and I think that’s something really worth pushing for”

Find out more about the UK BIM Alliance and its work here and download their report "BIM in the UK: Past, Present + Future".


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