Across the pond, a revolution in construction procurement and supply chain logistics is happening with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and unlocking process efficiencies that can create better buildings and better-followed budgets.
Under the leadership of Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, the UK Government is implementing a construction strategy that states 3D Building Information Modeling will be a key part of the government’s procurement of public buildings and, by 2016 model-based BIM will be mandatory on all public sector projects, including delivery of all project and asset information, documentation and data.
The government of David Cameron has created a BIM Task Group to support and assist both government clients and supply chain members in transitioning their work practices to BIM and electronic delivery. The goal of the construction strategy is to reduce both capital costs and carbon dioxide creation from the construction and operation of buildings by 20%. The mandate is designed to allow BIM to unlock project efficiencies through processes such as early clash detection and building component prefabrication and allow for better sustainable design and building operation.
The BIM Task Group is halfway through a five-year rollout to bring all publicly funded projects up to what it defines as “Level 2 BIM.” Level 2 is defined as “file based collaboration and library management,” this includes a series of domain specific models —such as architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing services 3D models— all shared within a single environment where structured data can be stored and accessed. The information sharing environment being used by the BIM Task Group is a version of the Construction Operations Building Exchange.
The BSI (British Standards Institute) has created an information sharing standard called PAS 1192:2. PAS is not a standard that mandates design hardware or software, it rather, defines key exchange points between client and supply chain at different stages of a building project and how to exchange information when those points are reached.
It sets a clear framework for information management by identifying deliverables to be produced (such as a BIM Execution Plan, a 3D building information model, a schedule of quantities and others), when they are to be produced, and what information sources they draw from. PAS 1192:2 defines best practices for construction project deliverables. It lists more than 20 items that should form its Employers Information Requirement at a minimum. Design software, other tools and work-process decisions are left up to the individuals designing and building the project, but are required to be defined at a project’s outset in documents such as the BIM Execution Plan.
Here in the US, there are several initiatives underway but none are mandates that cover the whole construction supply chain as the UK mandate does. The General Services Administration, the agency that manages all federal buildings, requires BIM through its National 3D-4D-BIM program through the Office of the Chief Architect of its Public Buildings Service. The National BIM Standard (NBIMS) from the BuildingSMART Alliance is continuing to evolve and now in its third (3.0) version.
Neither of these programs, however, are mandates that require supply chain and procurement involvement from day one as the UK standard does. All eyes will be the British Isles when the standard goes into full effect in 2016. If they can deliver the cost savings and carbon emissions cuts the government requires expect other nations to set best practices for construction procurement as well.