Eating the #BIMelephant

Eating the #BIMelephant – BIM implementation for SME’s – the Doctor is in!

SME’s are the lifeblood and engine room of the construction industry in the UK. There probably isn’t a project anywhere that doesn’t have some involvement from SME’s, and for most projects could well make up the majority of the supply chain including design consultants.

So when it comes to BIM, what actually is all the fuss about?

Is it really that expensive, tricky or difficult to make the transition?

Well that depends…You could even be doing BIM already and you don’t know it…..that’s allowed!

I’m going to recommend a few resources which will help you work out where you are and then actually begin to take the first steps in making your own specific BIM plan and then beginning to move along.

Resource Number One – Take a look at the CPIc website and follow this link:

In brief this assessment form will help you assess your own capabilities and also those of other organisations or businesses that work with. This information can then input directly to the formation of the BIM Execution Plan. Another template on the CPIc website which when completed outlines how BIM is to be implemented on a project.

Don’t be put off by some of the terminology. BIM has its’ own language to some extent but once you get into it, it’s no problem. There are plenty of people who will help you out! See below…

Resource Number Two

Check out the UK BIM Task Group website:

Here you will find all the latest news on BIM in the UK. Including standards, guidance, case studies and much more.

Now please follow these steps:

1 -Paste this link into your browser:

2 – This will bring you to the Task Group Labs Log In. If you haven’t logged in here before, you’ll need to register, but it’s free, just email and a password.

3 – When you’ve logged in, repaste the link and this should bring you to the Investment Matrix/BIM Delivery Cube page.

4 – Download the 2 PDF documents. These are two matrix style documents that will help you work out your own BIM plan. They are the work of the Technology Alliance which is a group of the software vendors all working together.

So…to begin!

The matrix breaks down all the stakeholders as follows:

Client/Owner, Architect/Designer, Engineer/M+E, Cost Consultant, Planner, Programme Manager, Main Contractor, Specialist Contractor, Manufacturer/Supplier, and Asset/Facilities Manager.

It also breaks down the phases of a project into the main distinctive phases:

Preparation, Design, Pre-Construction, Construction, and Use.

Using the matrix, you can look at Activities, Toolsets, Training and Education, Benefits, Upgrade Costs, Summary.

1 – Activities – Use the sheet to identify your role and where you take part in the project process. This will tell you what BIM activities you need to do.

2 – Toolsets – Locating yourself on the sheet in the same way, this will tell you what BIM tools you need to do the activities you identified.

3 – Training and Education – Again, just locate yourself on the chart, and this will identify the training you need to use the tools to do activities.

4 – Benefits – In the same way, this sheet will help you to identify the kinds of benefits and efficiencies that you can expect to achieve from adopting BIM. Naturally it will take a while to become BIM proficient, perhaps over several projects.

5 – Upgrade Costs – Health warning here – This sheet will help you understand your level of usage, and the order of costs involved per seat on a yearly basis. However this is only an indicator of cost. If you’re a Power user, then you will be authoring models and data, which is the most intensive use. At the other end of the scale if you only need to view information, then some versions of the software needed are free.

6 – Summary – Summarising all the above into a sheet you will have the start of your own BIM plan. Knowing the activities, tools and training you need. With an idea of cost and the benefits created.

This summary could be the starter for discussions with a say software seller or advisor. It is important to understand what you want to get out of BIM, and why you want to use BIM. This all helps to make your business case.

Resource Number Three

There are plenty of people out there who will gladly talk with you about BIM:

BIM4SME – We hold local workshops, get in touch for more details.

Check out the other BIM 4 groups and Hubs on the BIM Task Group website. There is probably one for you! Look under BIM Partners.

If you use Twitter look out for the #UKBIMCREW hash tag. Anyone using the handle will be happy to give some advice.


If you’re thinking about BIM in your business or on your project, the tools we’ve discussed will help you focus and articulate your thinking. And remember – you are not alone! There are plenty of people out there willing to help!

Cheers! :o)





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