This essay is written in particular reference to the emerging use of BIM software solutions.
Sir John Egan made several remarks based on the findings of his original report in 1998 and the progress of the construction industry in the 10 years since in his 2008 address. The purpose of this essay is to look at some of the main points raised by Egan in his 2008 address and evaluate their relevance with regard to the structure and practices of the modern UK construction industry.
Egan made the suggestion that “you design the whole project on a computer versus a target that you are trying to achieve” (Egan, 2008). In stating this Egan was referring to his past experience in the car industry where new vehicles are designed on computer long before and tooling takes place for manufacture. His suggestion of applying this principle to the construction industry is in the main a valid hypothesis and has in many ways been acted upon to a certain degree.
The use of Building Information Modelling as a project management tool is already being implemented in many areas of construction and will continue to grow in the UK as the “government will require fully collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) as a minimum by 2016.” (Cabinet Office, 2011)
This enables full costing and process information to be predicted and calculated long before any construction work takes place on the project, which satisfies the requirement Egan placed on the industry for pre-planning the production processes as well as helping to reduce the supply chain costs by providing accurate information to tender against as opposed to the lowest cost tendering that was based on an idea rather than a design.
Egan (2008) suggests that the government are not trying to be a good client as they have been wasting resources by using lowest cost tendering. (Finch, 2011) says that “since preparation costs are included in their [tendering company’s] overheads, these will ultimately be passed on, in the form of higher prices.”.
It seems that since Egan’s last address the government are finally taking on some of his suggestions through the required use of BIM.
Feedback has long since been a problem for the construction industry as a whole and project tenders, historically, can only really be made through previous experience. “Site managers should report on the technical and financial progress of their projects so that the estimator can learn from the companies experience on site.” (Brook, 2004). BIM goes a long way to removing the problems associated with a lack of information being given back as procedures are put in place to ensure that the overall model of the building project is kept up to date throughout with current costs and progress.
BIM does a lot more than cover just one of the points Egan suggests needs addressing as it brings together the many disparate trades within the construction industry, such as the managers, architects, and engineers. In many cases it has been much more logical for the construction company to take over all of these responsibilities as opposed to the client taking responsibility for some and the construction company for others and separate third parties being involved at all different stages.
Standardisation within the construction industry is severely lacking. “I also think that the industry has no basic designs yet.” (Egan, 2008). With the introduction of BIM there will be more drive towards standard designs as it will become very straight forward to sell a previous project to a new client with the ability to show the full design in 3D. Even though standard designs may not necessarily be fully viable with BIM, the use of standard build components will become much more common place due to the speed improvements in the design process of using standard components. For example, it may be...