I have started to think about how countries might develop national public sector BIM programmes.
Starting at the bottom of the diagram (right) and moving clockwise, my thesis is that successful BIM programmes require a strong foundation of public leadership and support. In the UK in 2011, for example, the UK Government make BIM a key part of its construction strategy, and set a target for the first phase of adoption of BIM.
This in turn led to the growth of various BIM interest groups. Existing industry stakeholders – professional institutions, trade organisations, industry confederations, and other groups representing both pan-industry interests and vertical industry sectors – began to build BIM-focused communities. Regional BIM groups also began to develop. These communities were encouraged to hold events and also to share their ideas, knowledge and skills via printed media, the web, social media, etc. From general introductions and explanations of BIM to detailed protocols for BIM implementation, core industry understanding was quickly developed and disseminated across an otherwise fragmented and geographically dispersed industry sector.
Talking about BIM is all very well, but “walking the talk” is vital. The UK’s BIM Task Group, in partnership with various central government departments and other leading industry clients, instigated pilot projects to test the processes and protocols, and to gauge if supply chain knowledge and skills in BIM were sufficiently developed – in short, to demonstrate the industry’s capabilities. Learning – good and bad – from these case studies was then shared via the trade press, industry conferences and via the internet.
As a result of these first three steps, what began to develop was a wider understanding of the required legal and regulatory framework, new data and process standards, and industry-proven guidance on all the key areas of BIM implementation and exploitation.
However, the process does not stop once the initial capabilities and collaborative frameworks are in place. Continuous performance improvement is very much the objective – and public leadership is again pivotal in providing a new vision of the industry’s future (in the UK, this was outlined in the February 2015 strategy, Digital Built Britain, and reinforced in the next five-year government construction strategy covering the years 2016 to 2020). And so the cycle continues….