Month: November 2016

Level 1 – the critical foundations to delivering on digital projects

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Here at thinkBIM we are very aware that there is still a great need to explain the fundamentals of working digitally to both new delegates as well as regular attendees. Despite surveys that suggest a huge and comprehensive uptake of BIM in the UK; the government mandate and numerous organisations proclaiming their ability to deliver Level 2 (or beyond – really??) we regularly meet lots of businesses still bewildered as to how and where they might need to start out on their ‘BIM journey’.

So cue thinkBIM’s November event; Level 1 – the critical foundations to delivering on digital projects. Hot on the heels of our fifth birthday party in September and our successful Government Mandate twilight event in October came a whole evening dedicated to a 40 page British Standard first published in 2007. But a geek-fest this was not, well not completely. BS1192:2007+A2:2016 Collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information – Code of practice to give the full title is absolutely fundamental to the concept of defining the rules of collaborative working and delivering projects digitally. You can download the standard here

The scope of the standard is well considered, and when read in conjunction with the preceding Introduction makes it clear why the processes outlined in this document are fundamental to collaborative working practices. It really is worth reproducing these words here before we move on –



So after all that what did we learn at the event. Well John Adams gave us a self-proclaimed wedge-free presentation. Three slides in we had the first obvious, but often over-looked requirement of Level 2 fundamentals – do Level 1 first! John walked us through the process of issuing documents around the process in the standard but reminded everyone of the following too

Buy CDE > Set Project Number > 4 Folders > WIP, Shared, Published, Archived does not equal a CDE!!

John’s final words about using the standard; don’t deviate – it ruins everything.

John’s slide deck: thinkbim-level-one-cde

After John’s presentation it was my turn to speak again at thinkBIM. In apparent wave of extreme geekiness I had decided to speak on Suitability Codes. Why – because in my opinion they are fundamental to the standard and the underlying collaborative working requirements that the standard advocates. Why you are issuing data, for what purpose, is as fundamental as actually issuing the data itself in my opinion and is important both contractually and practically. Even now I’m not sure that I’d got everything in my slides right, in fact the next presentation explained one specific part that I’d not grasped myself – a great example of where everyone learns at thinkBIM!

Duncan’s slide deck: suitability-codes

The third presentation of the evening came from Lee Chappelow from SES. After explaining how SES have set about creating and operating their own CDE Lee took us through 13 slides to explain how a document produced by the SES BIM team moves to published status. Now on the face of it this sounds horrendous; thirteen stages to just get a document approved but for me a lot of what Lee was saying is what good practice should look like and the thoroughness he was demonstrating is as much about an industry that has been so pressurised to deliver that corners are cut or risk just passed downstream rather than owned.

Lee showed us what good looks like, and what good as a digital workflow should be. Lots of food for thought and the feedback from the event certainly confirmed this too.

Lee’s slide deck: thinkbim-cde

Thanks to John and Lee for helping to deliver another great thinkBIM. In this case the slides seemed so important we have published them in full for you all to reference again as needed.

As a final post script I do accept that working in accordance with BS1192:2007 does look complicated and daunting but once you get to grips with the standard and start using it the processes do become easier. But it is still a bit of challenge – only a week after the event I had a 30 minute discussion with a contracting friend over the interpretation of just one of these suitability codes in the standard.

So as we said on the night – to use the standard effectively you must make sure the project team has a common understanding of the document – this may mean defining, explaining, agreeing and documenting how the standard is to be used in the BIM Execution Plan. But remember don’t alter it – otherwise then it’s not a standard.

thinkBIM –  2nd November 2016

#Duncan Reed, Chair thinkBIM

Delivering Digital Assets under the Level 2 Mandate

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October brought in the first event of our Autumn series and a return to The Rosebowl as the venue for our twilight seminar on how centrally procured departments are delivering Level 2 BIM Under the mandate.

The evening opened with a fantastic presentation from Cliff Jones, the Head of Construction Procurement, at the Department of Health. It was great to hear his measured, but equally challenging, view on how he see that BIM has – and more importantly should – be adopted in the NHS. Cliff made the very important point early on in his presentation that BIM isn’t an add-on; it has to be integral to the wider construction and business process of an organisation.


thinkbim-1He also noted that BIM = Lean but reminded the audience of what Lean really means – it’s not about cost cutting, it is about driving out waste.


BIM = Lean (NOT Cost Cutting – Improved Efficiency and Productivity)


  • The most efficient, effective and successful companies in other industries (and countries) have applied “lean” for decades;
    • Add value and remove waste;
    • Extensive use of developments in Technology supported by Digital Data.
    • Waste =  
  • Processes/procedures that do not add value;
  • Use of resources (labour/plant/materials in a non-productive and therefore non value adding way;
  • Defects;
  • Unnecessary transportation;



Whilst the benefits of the P21+ and P22 Frameworks provided ample evidence of how collaborative working can improve outcomes it was some of the more nuanced comments that caught my attention. The DoH hasn’t mandated the use of BIM by the NHS as such as it understands that forcing something on Trusts won’t work – from the very start they have to want to do it. This was a very powerful point for me.

Cliff rounded up his presentation with some very real and useful points on how to adopt BIM on projects.




Due to a last minute cancellation by our other speaker thinkBIM showed its agile credentials by organising Steering Group member Tom Oulton to review the recently published Ministry of Justice (MOJ) BIM documentation. These documents can be found here

The MoJ launched their Client Best Practice Guides in June this year but like many other things associated with BIM development not everyone in the audience was aware of their existence. They were developed by the client led BIM2AIM Special Interest Group, in a process led by Matthew Watchorn, MoJ Head of BIM. In an article in BIM+ recording the launch event of the documents Matthew is quoted saying –

“Dismantling, examining and jointly rebuilding the EIR suite of standards from the bottom up was a fundamental moment in the MoJ BIM story and will stand us and other government departments in good stead in making the next phase of BIM a reality for projects going forward”

It always strikes me as a bit strange that the industry seems to clamber for examples or Case Studies about BIM only to then complain about anything that is produced. Personally I feel that the industry shouldn’t keep shooting at those people or organisations that do stick their heads over the battlements. It might not be perfect but at least they have published something. But Tom is a good judge of BIM character and led a spirited, yet balanced, discussion over the merits of these documents.

With just a few days to review the SES, OIRs, PLQs, EIRs, and BEP template Tom chose to rate the documents overall using that tried and tested metric of the spaghetti western standard. So – were these documents Good, Bad or Ugly?


Tom gave his views of the following documents that have been publically shared by the MoJ;

    • Shared Estates Service (SES)
    • Organisational Information Requirements (OIR)
    • Plain Language Questions (PLQs)
    • Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR)
    • BIM Execution Plan (BEP) Verdict – GOOD.  Verdict – Good…but…Would like to see the Common Data Environment (CDE) addressedOIRs The OIR lays out the context but falls short of stating specific requirements. Verdict – BADThree fully populated EIRs should be provided, preferably with real examples for eachBEP The document is easy to follow
    • But Tom felt that the CDE should be owned by MoJ (and I agree)
    • Verdict – Good
    • The Shared Estates Services introduces the Gold, Silver and Bronze projects – but only one EIR
    • EIRs
    • Reads like a guidance document, not the actual document.
    • Verdict – good & bad…
    • Would like to see COST addressed prior to Stage 2 PLQ
    • PLQs
    • The guide nicely sets the scene for BIM
    • Shared Estates Services;
    • And the results from Tom’s review?

It was great to see the audience engage with the speakers in the Q and A sessions and reminded me of the importance of letting our delegates find out what is important to them around the themes discussed.

This format will be extended even further in our Autumn series conference, on December 7th, when we will be offering even more roundtable sessions all focussed around Case Studies – so just what the industry still seems to need.

But before then we are pleased to be hosting a Level 1 BIM event on November 2nd. We all (should) know of the importance of working in accordance with BS1192:2007+A2:2016 but how many of us really apply the standard correctly? Check out your knowledge at this great opportunity to understand one of the bedrock standards for UK BIM that is now expected to be rolled out across Europe and beyond.

thinkBIM blog, October 2016.

#Duncan Reed, Chair thinkBIM








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