I had the opportunity to travel to Denmark and London to participate in two separate BIM conferences last month. In Denmark I spoke at a regional conference, sharing information on leveraging PDF to facilitate digital workflows downstream. Then I traveled onto London to attend BIM Show Live 2013 . Both shows focused on the “I” in BIM and were aimed at sharing best practices for leveraging BIM information in the most collaborative ways possible.
In London I was able to get a good feel for the success and challenges our British counterparts are experiencing in their migration to BIM. Since the UK Government has mandated Level 2 BIM on every public project by 2016, there is a concerted effort to get as many players as possible up to speed on technology and best practices. There’s a definite sense of, “we’re in this together” which creates the ideal environment to share ideas and discuss challenges openly. The UK Government is requiring fully collaborative 3D BIM with not only project but asset data and documentation in electronic format. This has been defined as the minimum requirement by the Government Construction Strategy . According to the 2013 National BIM Report  by the National Building Specification, a recent survey shows that the percentage of those within the UK AEC industry actually using BIM has grown to 39%, up from just 13% in 2010. Also, the number of those who’ve not heard of BIM is down from 43% to just 6% during the same period.
David Philip, Head of BIM, Mace Group and Head of BIM Implementation, Cabinet Office gave the opening address. He opened the event by stepping out of the DeLorean from Back to the Future saying he said he had just come back from 2015 and there was good news to report from the future, on Level 2 delivery. This elicited a few chuckles throughout the auditorium. Amidst many Star Wars references throughout the conference and displays of old retro arcade games were conversations about how to successfully meet the government’s mandate three years from now. One area of growth our British counterparts admitted was in the standardized approach to defining an information manager to execute the BIM plan as well as protocols for technology interoperability.
This is one area where the US seems to be a step ahead. None the less, themes common to us here in the US were discussed during many of the educational sessions focusing on the “I” in BIM. Each one asked the question of how to maximize, share and control access to the information stored within BIM models and in order to best extract it into various workflows. Some practical applications were given noting emerging trends in technology implementation, but no clear path has yet been defined.
What is clear, though, is that the world is moving towards finding and implementing better ways to approach building projects, with collaboration being the main goal to ultimately provide a better project deliverable to the owner.