The relevance of BIM

James Austin

Written by James Austin, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Consulting

The UK construction industry represents over £100bn of output into a very bleak national economy, 30% of which is directly consumed by the public sector. It is intrinsic to our opportunities for national and international growth, and central to our ability to meet global climate targets. Technology, and BIM in particular, has been earmarked in the Industrial Strategy of our own government as one of the key components of this opportunity. Last week, the UK Government and the UK BIM initiative specifically was recognised by Fiatech with the James B Porter Jr. award for Technology Leadership in the United States. It is certainly a very relevant topic right now.

In the judging of proposals for this years BIM Show Live, the panel had to review and choose from over 100 proposals for just 32 places. The technology forum was similarly oversubscribed, in just its first year of running. When I put together the speaker programme for the first BIM Show Live, I ran through my twitter followers and begged them all to get together 16 speakers willing to participate and share their real-life experience.

BIM has become many things to many different people. When something becomes relevant, people sharpen their focus on it – it becomes important. When we set up BIM Show Live 3 years ago, it was a response to more wordy formats that focussed on discussion and debate. The whole point was to illustrate what was happening out there in the real world, and create a forum that showcased the best of BIM. The growth in interest is a tangible demonstration of that increased focus on BIM, and a measure of the change that has happened in that time.

We have moved through the stages of “Why BIM”, through “What it means to me”, and we are swiftly arriving in a place where a lot more of us are doing it for real. This coincides directly with the focus of the government, bringing BIM and the construction industry in the UK into a unique position globally. The opportunity that the government are positioning, is for the UK to become a global exemplar and use that to lift the economy out of recession.

To realise that opportunity it is important to retain the focus that has driven BIM from its beginnings to where it currently sits. Events like BIM Show Live provide us with an opportunity to reflect on progress, to learn new skills, techniques and processes, and to be inspired by other people’s solutions to common problems. BIM at its core is about collaboration, integration, and breaking down silo’s and I feel this is why it has succeeded in becoming so relevant for the industry today. As the computer savvy GenY ‘kids’ enter the workplace, and social media weaves its way into the fabric of working life, there is a certain inevitability to what is happening in construction today.

I’m excited about those 32 classes this year. For me, they represent the most relevant aspects of activity in BIM that we could find. I’m excited about walking around the technology forum and reading tweets about all of the things I will inevitably miss. Most of all, I’m excited about where BIM is headed and I cant wait to see what’s coming. I wont be worried about the challenges ahead, that’s pretty irrelevant to me.


One thought on “The relevance of BIM

  1. James
    Great blog and hope this years event is as good as previous BSL’s. Having spoken at previous events I would reccomend attendance. Lets hope the increased BIM marketing budgets of the majors doesn’t squeeze out the SME’s and the non construction side of the industry.
    Worth highlighting that over half the £100bn spend you mention is actually on “repair and maintenance” and this is typically in the FM space as opposed to shiny new build.
    The whole BIM to FM piece is key to the strategy. Lets not forget that end of the BIM journey.

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