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BIM… The Impact on regional SMEs   

Over 50 construction professionals gathered at the Rose Bowl in Leeds last week for the second thinkBIM events this year, held in close partnership with Construction Yorkshire who are funded by Employment Leeds.

Chaired by Richard Town from Construction Yorkshire, a cross section of professionals presented their journeys and experiences of BIM offering perspectives from a consultant, an architect, a leading contractor, a software designer and a regional law firm .

Briefly, Steve Batson shared Bowman Rileys BIM journey including lessons learnt and tips for BIM newbies. Richard Beaumont from BAM delivered an excellent detailed presentation on the use of BIM on the Leeds Arena project and an insight into the savings made through clash detection alone. Graham Howarth, the owner of Sarcophagus, shared his experience of over 20 years in BIM working as an Application Service Provider. Ajon Malliki, a partner from Gordons  LLP  brought the event to a close by encouraging the delegates to focus on the practical legal issues relating to BIM.

Following a brief introduction, Tim Platts set the scene for BIM defining it as ‘A process of generating and managing information about a building during its entire lifecycle’ . For those new to the BIM process, this acted as an excellent overview of the benefits of BIM embracing early costs certaintly, reduced delivery costs,clash detenction and green performance improvements and productivity gains for all. An eloquent overview of government and business drivers, the government working group structures and a insight into the strength and relevance of the activity within the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Steve Batson started off his BIM journey with Bowmand Riley Architects bombarded by terminology,  not knowing lonely BIM from Integrated BIM . From international work, the practice was becoming more aware of the BIM agenda and the growing demand for BIM so they decided that their service needed evolving to keep up with the market . Steve talked through the practical steps through to implementing BIM . It all started with a University of Salford research paper how to implement BIM followed by joining the ‘Open Knowledge Exchange Network’  thinkBIM and then setting up an internal BIM steering group and a huge amount of researching and surfing the net for additional information on Building Information Modelling.

Their ‘bottom up’ approach to BIM enabled them to harness energy from their team. Steve expressed the importance of consultation at all levels and the need to identify hardware requirements and respond to these needs in a timely manner to try and avoid any slowing of the implementation process by softwares crashing. This could have a negative knock on effect to employee support for the new process and technology. Key message from Steve… when you are working at the coalface “remember you are not alone”.

Richard Beaumont from BAM then took the delegates through the detailed case study of the use of BIM on the £60 million Leeds Arena contract, no small feat.  He highlighted the benefits in design models and fabrication models and the benefits of improved scheduling and workpackage co-ordination and quanitity checking. When asked how many clashes had gone undetected within the Arena model and had made it to site, Richard gave a confident ‘zero’ as his response.

Next up was Graham of Sarcophagus, the owner of the Wakefield based privately funded Limited company providing established online project managment software which have been used by blue-chip clients such as Asda Wal-Mart since 1998 to aid business project collaboration. His vision of reducing construction industry communication costs, time and risk by allowing teams to partner and collaborate more effectively through the use of integrated project information and knowledge sharing sat perfectly within the context of BIM. 

Ajon Mallik‘s presentation on the practical legal issues of BIM broke down the key aspects of BIM into Legal bite sized chunks focussing on the practicalities of protocols , levels of accuracy of data , tresponsibilities of the BIM model manager and precendence . His closing slides brought to the fore issues of copyright and appropriate project insurances.

 A lively Q and A, chaired by Richard Town, covering cost savings relating to clash detection, issues of piracy of software , the relative size of a project which justifies the adoption of BIM, need for supply chain involvement and the continuing need for further sharing of best practice and lessons learnt amongst peers within the sector

Slides from the presentations can be found here Anjon Mallik Gordons LLP , Richard Beaumont BAM, Tim Platts