UKBIM Alliance – and about time too!

You may not feel it, but our lives have changed. You experience it everyday. Walking down the street you bump into people because they’re peering down into their phone or tablet. On the train (if you can get one!) most are again engaged in another world, games, email, video, and web. It’s all happening out there and in here.

The digital dimension is taking over and shaping our lives whether we like it or not. And it applies just as much to our construction industry for the built environment. In fact users outside our industry need our data for their enterprise platforms including financial, lifestyle, manufacturing, retail, travel, and many more aspects.

So whilst moving into BIM world is still for many largely unknown and a step too far, this transformation, which will affect everything we do and the way we work is both inevitable and in the end irresistible.

The mandate

The UK BIM programme or movement if you like starts in 2011 with what we now call “the mandate” – The requirement driven by Government policy for collaborative 3D BIM and digital data exchange on public sector projects.

Time has passed. We have had the thought leadership of the UK BIM Task Group, the production of the Level 2 standards and framework, formation of various support and networking groups including the BIM 4 Groups/ Communities, Regions (Hubs), the UK BIM Crew and many more.

We are now at a delicate point, perhaps the tipping point. The Task Group are moving on to focus purely on Level 3 development, which will kick into mainstream use around 2020. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the rest of the industry, which in fact is still the vast majority of the industry, struggles to attain and understand Level 2.

On a journey

Let’s be clear, if “industry” as a whole does not achieve widespread Level 2 adoption then any talk of Level 3 becomes a pipe dream.

Just remember – Level 2 is and was ever only a staging post, a stop on the journey. A school teacher to put us on the right path, in using collaborative 3D BIM, and digital common data environments, structuring information consistently and correctly, founded on rigorous process and procedures.

We are treading a well-worn path here. Other industries such as aerospace, petro-chem, automotive, manufacturing and others made this migration many years ago. We are the last major bastion of analogue thinking and practice in a digital world that is fast leaving us behind.

For as long as I’ve been an architect, and longer the industry has been talking about improvement. We remember the reports that surface every few years. Latham, Egan, Woolstenholme and the many others before. Laudable messages falling for the large part on a deaf industry. Pockets of excellence and best practice – yes. Widespread change, revolution and improvement? – No.

Until now.

Whilst BIM isn’t the answer to everything it is a catalyst for change that now cannot be avoided. It leads us into other areas. We are in a perfect storm where the need and will for change, is converging with technology, economics and generational transformation. Post-Brexit, for the UK this is even more important. Our ability to become a global leader in digital information management and use is critical for our economy. And consequently so is the digitization of the built environment industry.

The UK BIM Alliance

So here we are. Level 2 or bust is the target. Industry needs leadership and focus – the “go-to”.

Even now after 5 years on this journey , it is not clear where to go, who to talk to.

So now we’re talking to each other, finally…..and about time! Moving forward, together, gathering momentum. From conversations around the BIM 4 Groups and Regions and other aligned industry organisations, the concept of the UK BIM Alliance has emerged. We will launch officially in October at the ICE BIM Conference and Digital Construction Week. But word is on the street and we’re gearing up, reaching out and getting the support of industry leaders.

We are here for the long haul, to provide the focus and leadership to achieve Level 2 widespread adoption – “business as usual” – by 2020.

Not to take over, but simply to connect, communicate, network, promote, support, mentor, nourish, encourage, cajole, provoke and grow all the good work that is happening around the UK.

The Alliance is independent. Not for profit. Manned by the people who’ve been doing this stuff on the ground over the last decade.

Come and work with us. Contact us though the ICE or at our new website

And remember – theres nothing at stake here other than the future of our industry, our businesses and organisations and also our individual careers and the futures of the generations that follow on from us. So no pressure then! Join us!

JOHNEYNON. Is a journeyman architect and design manager, BIM Champ, writer, blogger – joint chair of the SE BIM Region and the national BIM Regions network, and a member of the UK BIM Alliance transition team.


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