BIM for contractors

christiaan Resources

What is BIM?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a collaborative digital model holding all the information needed—geometry, time, cost, performance, scheduling, maintenance—to design, construct, maintain and demolish a building. BIM is also a process; a way of managing information in a team environment, enabling everyone to understand a building through the use of a digital model.

BIM is not just 3D CAD. Among other things it involves:

  • New forms of contracts.
  • A BIM execution plan BEP (BEP), which defines expected BIM deliverables and guides co-ordinatioon of the project teams, including roles, responsibilities, deliverables, how data will be exchanged, etc.
  • Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR), forming part of the appointment and tender documents on a BIM Project.

Government Road Map—are you prepared?

The Bew Richards Scale of BIM Maturity defines three levels of BIM, based not only on the level of technology used to design a building, but on the level of collaboration within the process.

The UK Government Road Map stipulates that all centrally-funded public procurement projects are to be delivered to these levels, with the following target dates in mind:

  • Level 2 = 2016
  • Level 3 = 2025

Diagram of Bew-Richards scale of BIM maturity

Here’s a modified version:


How BIM can benefit contractors

  • Better communication, the feedback we receive from contractors on 3D models is vastly superior to 2D drawings
  • Simplified and more accurate estimation
  • Enhanced value engineering
  • Few change orders
  • Potential to increase off-site manufacture, speeding up project and reducing waste
  • Virtual rehearsals of construction process to optimise procurement and delivery of materials
  • Virtual assessments of health and safety to avoid problems in the real world
  • Better provision of facility management information for clients

All potentially resulting in fewer delays, less waste and more profit or cost-savings past onto the client.

The MacLeamy Curve, below, has been used to illustrate the projected benefits of shifting design effort forward in a project in order to reduce the cost of design changes.

The MacLeamy Curve graph

Open BIM and Building Smart

open-BIM-building-smartOpen BIM is a universal approach to the collaborative design, realization and operation of buildings based on open standards and workflows.

We strongly recommend ensuring that the software and technologies you procure are fully capable of taking advantage of Open BIM, for the following reasons:

  • Open BIM makes use of non-proprietary file formats & workflows that allow project members to participate regardless of the software tools they wish to use, making for a far more efficient and competitive industry.
  • IFC is an open file format and will always accessible by future software. Anyone committing to software that doesn’t support an open file format is risking being unable to access files just a few years later.
  • Protection of Intellectual Property: sharing IFC files restricts information to simple 3D geometry and the building data you want to share, whereas sharing proprietary format files also shares intelligent objects that you may well have invested time and money into.

Going forward

Yurky Cross have been working towards BIM for a few years now. We now model all our projects in 3D and are on track to be Level 2 BIM-ready in 2016.

We’re able to help contractors understand, implement and secure the benefits of BIM, including:

  • Provision of full architects services for contractors using BIM from start to finish.
  • Provision of BIM enabled working drawing programmes.
  • Coordination of BIM models from other consultants and specialist suppliers in a ‘common data environment’.

Recommended reading