BIM it to win it: SMEs advised how to win government contracts

Posted on 26 Sep 2013

Yorkshire SMEs were told this week about a government initiative to help them secure public sector contracts and the advantages of Business Information Modelling compliance.

The merits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and the construction industry’s future requirements for BIM were explained by government, small companies and construction bodies this week, to educate SMEs about the effect BIM will have on the building sector.

About 120 Yorkshire-based manufacturers, engineers, contractors and architects converged on the Electric Works in Sheffield to learn from experts including David Philp, head of BIM implementation at the Cabinet Office and Peter Hansford, the Government’s chief construction advisor.

Government has mandated that products used in public sector building projects worth more than £5 million must have BIM level data by 2016 or they will not qualify for tender.

Beyond public procurement, BIM is being advocated by a joint industry-government project, the BIM Task Group, to educate how using a deeper level of information through the construction process can save waste, reduce carbon content and promote more efficient ‘offsite’ manufacture of buildings.

Peter Hansford, chief construction adviser to the Government, said: “Construction is at the heart of the economy because it is an enabler. BIM is crucial to the successful implementation of offsite manufacturing, delivering greater quality, safer and cleaner working conditions, and reducing barriers to offsite construction.”

Nabarro construction partner Martin McKervey, emphasised how BIM shares information across the entire supply chain to reduce project time and costs:

“The region’s manufacturers, whether steel companies, glaziers, road stone suppliers or whatever, must get on board now, to demonstrate their ability and commitment to playing a full part in the supply chain of the country’s largest projects in the most closely-managed way,” he said.

“If SMEs fail to get up to speed they can kiss goodbye to these major contracts as they will go to manufacturers and suppliers from outside the region who can show BIM compliance.

He added: “BIM is not red tape. It’s about making supply chains more efficient.”

Used as designed, this modelling of data should reduce waste in the sector by enabling the entire construction supply chain to conform to the same criteria and 3D plans, reducing errors in build and providing better traceability.

Currently only 4% of construction projects demand BIM compliance but research shows that will grow rapidly to around 50% by 2016, in projects with a total value of over £55 billion.

Mike Tynan, CEO of the nearby Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, spoke at the event. “SMEs must engage more quickly and more firmly if they are to become serious supply chain players in the larger infrastructure projects.

“So it is vital for SMEs to get onboard at the early stages of this project in order to understand – and benefit from – the new thinking in procurement and supply chain management.””

David Philp, head of UK BIM Implementation at the Cabinet Office, spoke about how BIM is also important for SMEs working globally: “We are seeing BIM front and centre around the globe. But SMEs learn quickly and BIM levels the playing field so SMEs can start to trade in the global environment by delivering projects better, faster, for less using data that has been verified.”

The meeting was set up by BIM4SMEs, a voluntary initiative comprising SMEs helping other businesses in their understanding and engagement of BIM which has its roots in the Government’s Construction 2025 initiative launched recently by Business Secretary Vince Cable.