The BIG BIM Launch…

The BIM “Big Launch” – 28th February 2013 – Guidance and links

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has become a hot topic in the industry. Whilst the technology and jargon can make BIM confusing, fundamentally it is about construction and information management in a digital environment that encompasses the whole built asset lifecycle.

In 2011 the UK Government Construction Strategy set targets for reducing capital costs in the public sector by 20% and meeting the UK carbon reduction commitments, which include reducing emissions by 50% by 2019.

The report highlighted a number of aspects to achieving these targets and the use of BIM was mandated as one of the key components in the strategy. This set in motion the BIM Task Group, producing several reports, initiatives, working groups and pilot projects.

Meanwhile the construction industry has continued to grapple with adopting BIM on projects, with varying degrees of success, and also numerous conferences have taken place and groups have been developed, recently including the CIC regional BIM Hubs.

However the frequent cry that has been is we need guidance and standards and whilst those leading the initiative have openly acknowledged this, there have been a number of working groups beavering away in the background over the last year to deliver exactly the information the industry needs. The 28th February 2013 heralded “The Big BIM Launch”.

A number of documents have been issued and all are freely available at the Government BIM website. The Task Group welcomes feedback on the documents in use by industry practitioners.

Just register and log in at

So, the documents are:

Government Soft Landings

 “To champion better outcomes for our built assets during the design & construction stages through Government Soft Landings (GSL) powered by a Building Information Model (BIM) to ensure value is achieved in the operational lifecycle of an asset.” – Task Group website

“BIM + GSL = Better outcomes”

Based on the BSRIA Soft Landings process, GSL encourages the engagement of the project end users right from the start of design for any built asset. This improves the built asset design, construction and operation process.

The Golden Thread of GSL runs from the start of a project, linking, clients, end users, designers and constructors, focusing on outcomes and operational performance.


Digital Plan of Work

A working group has looked at the plethora of industry plans of work and produced the dPoW. This provides a harmonised stage structure which will provide an overarching framework for all other plans of work produced by the Institutes such as the RIBA Plan of Work update due later this year.

Included in the dPoW are activities required for each stage and links with COBie requirements and the Employers Information Requirements.

Data Hierarchy

Linking with the dPoW, the Data Hierarchy defines the information requirements for each stage from general to detailed, including the Coordinated Work Stages, the Plain Language Questions which set out what information is required and also the Demand Matrix which sets out the information to be included in the COBie file that forms part of each of the information exchanges in line with the dPow.

Uniclass 2

For a digital information environment like BIM, we need a digital classification system, which is Uniclass 2. This is still effectively a Beta version but development is ongoing, and the classification will continue to evolve with our increasing use of BIM. The classification not only needs to be capable of developing with the growing data maturity of a model, but must also accommodate changes over the asset lifecycle and be capable of use by all stakeholders in the process.

COBie tools and testing

Guidance on COBie UK 2012 has been available for sometime but in this update an example project is modelled at various stages with corresponding COBie outputs. In addition COBie testing and extraction tools are examined.

CIC BIM Protocol

The CIC BIM Protocol is a supplementary contract agreement for appointments by Construction Clients and Contractor Clients. It covers BIM model production and delivery requirements and also sets out information requirements. The protocol can be included in a contract or appointment by a simple amendment.

Employers Information Requirements

The EIRs are included in tender and appointment documents, defining model requirements and outputs at each stage. The EIRs cover Technical, Management and Commercial aspects of the requirements and are detailed on the website.

Scope of Services for Information Management

These documents detail the Information Management role that is fundamental to BIM delivery on a project, managing the Common Data Environment, project information and facilitating collaborative working, information exchange and project team management. The role does not involve design responsibility. However it could be carried out by a consultant with design responsibility, or the Main Contractor.


 “The purpose of the PAS is to support the objective to achieve BIM maturity Level 2 by specifying requirements for this level, setting set out the framework for collaborative working on BIM enabled projects and providing specific guidance for the information management requirements associated with projects delivered using BIM.” – Task Group Website

The PAS is the key overarching document that builds upon BS 1192:2007, defining the BIM processes for the Common Data Environment on a project for delivery from the start at definition of need through to handover, and detailing required management processes in a multi-disciplinary BIM environment. PAS 1192/Part 3 to be developed later this year will detail information management for an operational asset to support maintenance and portfolio management activities.

Insurance Guidance Note


The CIC has carried out extensive consultation with the Professional Indemnity insurance market, and developed some simple guidance for all those involved in design in a BIM environment. Guidance documents are provided on the website.

Video resources (under resources tab)

Various leading members of the Task Group have produced videos that give an overview of the Government BIM programme covering aspects such as Education and Training, Commercial, Technical and Government Soft Landings.


This is a defining moment in the Government BIM initiative.

At a time when the UK has recently moved into second place in the world in terms of BIM adoption, outranked only by Finland, this comprehensive issue of documents provides much needed guidance and standards for all stakeholders involved in implementing and using BIM on their projects. As these documents become embedded in industry practice, they will provide a platform to move forward in BIM adoption and could well prove to be a landmark in the transformation of our industry.

Web resources:

BIM Task Group –

Construction Industry Council –

BIM Regional Hubs –

John Eynon FCIOB is a consultant and director of Open Water Consulting Ltd.


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