The UK government has embarked on a four year programme to reduce capital cost and the carbon burden in the construction and operation of the built environment. Central to these ambitions is the adoption of information rich Building Information Modelling (BIM) technologies that will unlock new more efficient ways of working at all stages of the project life-cycle. We had the chance to speak to David Philp, Head of BIM Implementation at the Cabinet Office, UK Government about innovative BIM approaches and further opportunities for workflow improvement.
How would you describe your role as head of implementation of BIM in government?
David Philp: As part of the HM Government “UK BIM Task Group” our role is to create a BIM push/pull strategy for the UK industry. We are driving adoption and ensure that UK organisations stay at the vanguard of BIM knowhow and exploitation. This is becoming an increasingly exportable commodity. We are creating a client pull by working with each government department to produce sustainable BIM pipelines of projects and ensure these departments can become great at procuring and using their asset data. We are equally working with industry partners through the Regional BIM Hubs and BIM4 communities of practices we have been instrumental in creating.
What are the benefits of your approach to BIM compared to others?
David Philp: Firstly we haven’t treated BIM in isolation, it is part of a wider Government Construction Strategy that includes other components such interventions as new models of procurement all of which involve early contractor engagement and Government Soft Landings (focused on getting better asset outcomes). All these initiatives support BIM. The central mandating of BIM – irrespective of project value – has really created a tipping point in the UK. We also think our programme is founded on collaborative working with industry, professional institutes and academia not just Government decreeing a want. We have also taken time to suitably mobilise and test our BIM hypothesis through early adopter projects.
Collaboration, adaption and evaluation processes for BIM projects are very complex. Are there any areas where you see room for workflow improvement for future projects?
David Philp: Whilst industry is becoming very good in dealing with 3D geometrical data sets there is room for better understanding on data transactions that include non-graphical data. Additionally better understanding is needed around BIM as part of the procurement process synchromeshing with the contract hierarchy.
What is the most outstanding BIM project you’ve seen so far? What makes it stand out from others?
David Philp: Our inaugural trail project, HMP Cookham Woods, a £20m prison project was outstanding and a great example of collaborative working and use of data drops from the models to inform early client decision making. This resulted in significant savings. The model environment was used to optimise both build and operation life-cycles. There were also 34 published lessons learned and corresponding actions. We have also seen some great small value BIM projects delivering great added value – BIM is definitely scalable.
You are giving a talk at the upcoming Informa BIM Summit. Who do you think will value most from your presentation?
Any “Bruce or Sheila” with an interest in a digitally integrated built environment should attend, we think we have got a great story with lots of BIM learning that can be taken away.