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The Cabinet Office BIM team answers the industry’s questions
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construction manager | april 2012 | www.construction-manager.co.uk bim briefing
Denise Chevin kicks off our BIM briefing by talking to the man in charge of getting the industry ready for its adoption across all government contracts by 2016. Photos by Ed Tyler Mark Bew, the Man responsible for making
government clients “Bim-enabled”, clearly likes to keep busy. early last year, Bew masterminded the Bim report that fed into last may’s government construction Strategy. this essentially said that all public sector contracts would be procured using building information modelling by 2016. At the same time he was still doing the day job as director of business information systems for engineering consultant urS Scott Wilson. meanwhile, Bew also started a phD at Salford university — in Bim, naturally, and also found time to chair Building Smart, the organisation developing much-needed universal Bim protocols and standards. “last year went by in a bit of a blur to be honest,” recalls Bew. “But lots of good things have come out of it and we’ve had much positive feedback on the strategy.” chairing the government’s Bim Work Stream Steering group has become his day job and he’s now based in the Department for Business, innovation and Skills, reporting to chief construction adviser paul morrell. But getting around 20 government departments and the supply-side industry to adopt Bim technology to bring about a more seamless, more efficient, and therefore less costly way of working requires an endless reserve of energy,
patience and a head for technical detail. that’s on display in abundance as he unfurls a giant chart jam-packed with boxes, critical paths and codes to illustrate the complicated world under the bonnet of Bim, whereby all the data needs to be formatted in the right way and available at the right time. BiS has been key to the delivery of the Bim agenda and has collaborated with the cabinet office and ministry of Justice to ensure a joined up effective government construction Strategy which is now starting to deliver more than the sum of its parts. things are already moving fast: the first contract using Bim — a new buildhouse block at cookham Wood prison in Kent — is out to tender from the moJ. Bim has been mandated as part of the government’s drive to shave 20% from construction costs. But it’s widely acknowledged that the barriers to its adoption are as much cultural as technical. “the big challenge really is changing the culture and bringing people on side,” says Bew. “We’re talking about bringing about change across a programme which has a multi-billion pound capital and operations budget. it’s a massive exercise.” Bew, no one will be surprised to hear, was an early adopter of Bim, using it on rebuilding of the Baltic exchange in 1994 after it was destroyed by an irA bomb.
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(Before Scott Wilson, he was business systems director at costain, and he has also chalked up spells with John laing and trafalgar House, which later became part of Skanska). if it was saving money and helping streamline projects nearly two decades back, why has it been so slow to take off? “the technology has matured; people have learnt how to use the tools and we’re at a point in time where we couldn’t carry on as we were,“ explains Bew. “We’ve just got to reduce costs.” a recent survey from national Building Specification shows the message is getting through: almost a third of professionals are now using Bim, compared with just 13% in 2010, and three quarters of those who are aware of it predict they will be using...