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Cutting through the legalese: BIM Level 2

What is Building Information Modelling (“BIM”)?

The Government’s report, “Digital Build Britain: Level 3 BIM – Strategic Plan”, published in February 2015 by the BSI, uses the following definitions of BIM:

“BIM is a collaborative way of working, underpinned by the digital technologies which unlock more efficient methods of designing, delivering and maintaining physical build assets. BIM embeds key product and asset data in a 3D computer model that can be used for effective management of information throughout an assets lifecycle – from earliest concept through to operation”.

The levels of BIM range from 0 – 3 and are set out below:

  • Level 0 – This level effectively means no collaboration. This usually includes CAD spreadsheets and word information.
  • Level 1 – This level incorporates a mixture of 3D CAD and 2D. This is a level which many organisations are currently operating. There is no collaboration between the disciplines, each publishes and maintains its own data.
  • Level 2 – This level incorporates collaborative working, it uses the provision of 3D modelling and data produced by the parties. It is then combined in order to make a federated BIM model
  • Level 3 – This level is the most sophisticated level of BIM. It has yet to be defined but is thought to use a single shared project model which is held centrally. All parties access and modify the same model

As of 4th April 2016, it became mandatory that ALL centrally procured public sector projects will require the employment of BIM level 2. There is no trigger threshold for value, size or complexity of project and it applies even if the project is only partially funded by the Government.

This mandate has been set in the hope that the Government can reduce their waste in construction projects by 20%. The Government is optimistic that with more construction clients adopting BIM it will bring predictability throughout a project, thus in turn saving money by cutting out wasteful processes and making more informed decisions at the right time.

By setting this mandate, the Government is seeking to lead by example; there is an active push for BIM Level 2 to be used in privately funded projects as we move towards BIM becoming the “new normal” in UK construction. 

The processes necessary to achieve Level 2 BIM are set out in:

Level 2 BIM involves developing building information in a collaborative 3D environment with data attached. Design information is shared through a common file format, which enables any organisation to combine that data with their own in order to make a federated BIM model. Therefore, it is essential that all parties to a project adopt the BIM principles to enable the collaboration to work.

In conclusion, BIM is here to stay and flourish. It is currently unclear but with the launch of the new JCT 2016 suites, it is hoped that there will be an introduction of specific contract options and provisions in relation to BIM and its use in projects.

It is aiming to result in a more digital, data driven industry which will be collaborative and dynamic. BIM is an extensive topic and this article alone only covers the essentials: a new website has been set up by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills which includes a great detail of BIM level 2. It can be found here.

These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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