BIM for landscape – who’s ready?

“A metaphor for innovative change”

BIM for landscape who's ready?

– Mick Phelps on defining BIM, speaking at BIM Today: 2016 and Beyond

As an evangelist of BIM for landscape, collaborative data exchange and the road to compliance for landscape professionals, I attended the BIM Today conference in London last month. Whilst the industry readies itself to reach its’ BIM targets – sharing and exchanging landscape project data in the most effective way before 2016 – the speakers and focus of the conference sought to highlight the key factors the construction supply chain faces today and the opportunities that lie ahead for the future.

What do we already know about BIM?

The three levels of BIM are already defined – from Level 1 where project data is shared but not in common formats, to Level 2 where information is shared in common formats as federated models, to Level 3 where data sharing is fully collaborative, unified and robust.

We know why we are striving for BIM for landscape projects:

  • Save time: Standardised information and processes can reduce time by 80%
  • Reduce project costs: By 10% of the contract value
  • Increase efficiency: Reduced errors, reduced need for duplication
  • Improve data quality: More consistent accurate information
  • Collaborate! Closer working and compatibility across all project disciplines
  • Detect clashes: Identify clashes pre-contract, not on-site
  • Gain traceability: Track and trace plants and materials
  • Simplify management: Ease of handover to other disciplines
  • Reduce carbon footprint:  Reduce CO2 emissions through project efficiencies
  • Create Asset Information Model:  Inform and direct in-use asset management for facilities managers

Great opportunities for BIM for landscape

At the conference, the speakers reminded us that BIM isnot about transformation from 2D to 3D – it’s about getting all project partners excited about data, using it and exchanging it in its simplest format for the ultimate benefit of the project/asset itself.  In fact, BIM should mean the “Benefits of an Information Mindset”, rather than just Building Information Modelling.

There are great opportunities within the Landscape industry to explore the considerable benefits that BIM brings.  Think of the aeronautics industry – we no longer talk about “selling engines” but “selling hours of thrust”.  This is because their industry has embraced BIM and created systems and processes to record and analyse information – imagine this in landscape!

For BIM to drive forward in landscape, we also need INTELLIGENT CLIENTS – clients who know what information they actually want! Do your clients know?

What are the latest developments in BIM?

BIM Level 2 provides the framework to record structured information throughout the construction phases (where there has been considerable inefficiency historically). Beyond Level  2, this ‘Data Store’ will be put to fuller use and new applications (apps) will take advantage of this repository (e.g. smart bus timetables responding dynamically to live data). Level 3 has been announced recently with the launch of DIGITAL BUILT BRITAIN by Vince Cable.  Its focus shifts to the whole-life management of the project using structured project information recorded and measured throughout the build phases.

The overriding sentiment  when talking to the construction and BIM fraternity was that BIM NEEDS TO BE MUCH SIMPLER.  Simplicity could come from embracing social media and adopting new apps built for mobile devices, accessing asset information in new, yet to be discovered, interactive ways. In essence:

BIM means

BIM needs to be much simpler

Agreed. Whether it’s using apps on mobile phones to access asset information, simplifying the BIM jargon or sharing the knowledge between sectors within the built environment, for all 2 million individuals involved in construction in the UK industry, we need to get a grip with collaboration and sharing of project data.

Let’s think of BIM levels the same way as we do levels of Innovation:

  • Level 1 – do nothing new but do it properly
  • Level 2 – do the same as we’ve always done but do it differently
  • Level 3 – do things differently.

I’m for Level 3 – who’s with me?!

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