BIM beyond the 2016 Mandate?


In May 2011, The UK Government released the Construction Strategy aimed at reducing the cost of public sector assets by 20% before 2016. To achieve these savings the government outlined that they will require fully collaborative 3D BIM as a minimum by 2016.

It is now 2016 and the mandate is imminent, meaning all organisations looking to be involved in government funded projects should be using Level 2 BIM.

BIM Binoculars

Using the findings from the NBS National BIM Survey it is possible to gain an understanding of where the UK is currently at in terms of BIM usage and maturity levels. Which should help to identify the direction the UK needs to move as we move past the 2016 mandate!

The post will break down into 7 headings to cater for the varying levels of BIM understanding of readers.

Where is the industry at now?

BIM Usage and Awareness

The NBS National BIM Report 2016 demonstrated that 54% of survey participants were using BIM and 42% were aware of it.


BIM Usage and Awareness
Figure 1 – NBS, National BIM Report 2016

Yes, 94% of participants stated that they were aware of BIM – but this still leave’s us unclear on the amount of participants who are actually using it…

Thankfully NBS followed up on this question by asking participants if they were actually using BIM. Here you can see the response: –

Projection of BIM Usage
Figure 2 – NBS, National BIM Report 2016

The findings show that the majority (58%) of participants are using BIM, although this still leave’s 42% who are not.

There is, however, projections of a considerable increase in BIM usage. In one year’s time BIM usage is set to increase to 86%, three years 95% and up to 97% over the next 5 years.

This demonstrates that BIM usage throughout the UK requires further development as we move past the government mandate, although BIM will soon become the routine way of designing and constructing buildings in the UK.

BIM Maturity

The bottom line here is that BIM usage is continuing to grow throughout the UK! Although it is clear that many organisations are at varying levels of BIM Maturity.

The survey participants who were aware of BIM were also asked what they thought the highest level of BIM maturity they reached on a project was, you can see the results here:-

BIM Levels
Figure 3 – NBS, National BIM Report 2016

As you can see the majority (65%) said they have completed a BIM Level 2 project, meaning that these organisations have technically met the government mandate on time. This still leaves us with 31% not reaching the deadline.

Only 4% said that they had reached BIM Level 3, this is most likely due to the lack of definition yet given to this level.

It is clear that there are varying levels of understanding as well as varying levels of BIM maturity in the UK at the minute and therefore it is important at this stage to continue to educate the industry on all levels of BIM.

The Basics…

For those who are still unclear on what BIM is this Infographic covers the very basics in 8 short points. The full content can be found here.

What is BIM 1
Figure 4 – Construct Digital, What is BIM? (2016)

What is BIM Level 2?

In 2011 HM Government set the mandate for BIM Level 2 for government funded projects by 4th April 2016.

The mandate is now imminent and all organisations wishing to work on government funded projects should be completing projects to a Level 2 standard…

There are lots of definitions of BIM Level 2 out there, so instead of re-creating another, here is the definition from

‘BIM Level 2 maturity is a series of domain and collaborative federated models. The models, consisting of both 3D geometrical and non-graphical data, are prepared by different parties during the project life-cycle within the context of a common data environment. Using proprietary information exchanges between various systems, project participants will have the means necessary to provide defined and validated outputs via digital transactions in a structured and reusable form.’

The BIM Level 2 standard can also be demonstrated in the widely use Bew-Richards BIM maturity model as seen below:-

BIM Maturity Levels
Figure 5 – Bew-Richards BIM Maturity Model

The benefits of BIM are vast and vary for each organisation, although here is a short list to give you and ideas of just some of the key benefits::

  • Better Collaboration
  • Better and easier access to project information
  • This allows designers to integrate models from different disciplines more effectively,
  • Reduced health and safety risks
  • Reduced waste
  • Reduced risk of finding issues on site.
  • BIM data can be used as a Facilitates Management tool.

There is lots of freely available standards and guidance when It comes to adopting BIM, these resources are available for download through this download link.

The NBS National BIM Survey released the most favoured standards/ publications, as listed below:-

Standards and Publications
Figure 6 – NBS, National BIM Report 2016

A Refresh of PAS1192-2

PAS 1192:2 defines the way of working at BIM level 2! Bearing this in mind, it is important to go over briefly remind ourselves of what this document covers!

The information delivery cycle, seen below, demonstrates information exchange requirements throughout a project from inception to operation.

The information delivery cycle
Figure 7 – BSI, The Information Delivery Cycle, 2013

PAS1192:2 focuses specifically on project delivery, and specifies the requirements for each stage of information delivery.

As you can see, many documents need to created before the design and construction activities (Production phase) can begin. This is where the majority of graphical and non-graphical data (or the Project Information Model) is produced.

Below are brief explanations of common terms and documents that are listed in the information delivery cycle, you should expect to see these along the course of a BIM Level 2 project…

Capex / Start

  • Employers Information Requirements (EIR) – This document is to be created by the client and should set out what information is required from the project, the information should be tailored to the client organisations needs so that it can be used for the operation and maintenance of the building.


  • Pre-contract BIM Execution Plan (BEP) – The pre-contract BEP is prepared by prospective suppliers, setting out their proposed approach, capability, capacity and competence to meet the Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR).
  • Supply Chain Capability Assessment (SCCS) – a Supply Chain Capability Summary (SCCS) form should be submitted by prospective suppliers as part of their pre-contract BIM Execution Plan. This will form part of the tender documentation and should respond to the Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR).

Contract Award

  • Post-contract BIM execution Plan – After the contract is awarded, the supplier must set out how the information in the Employers Information Requirements will be provided. The Post-contract BEP can include items such as:
    • Software
    • Roles and responsibilities
    • Common Data Environment
    • Collaborative Working
    • Information Exchange: Data Drops
  • Master Information Delivery Plan. – The master information delivery plan is the primary plan for the preparation of the project information (from the supplier’s perspective) required by the employer’s information requirements. It lists information deliverables and sets out when project information is to be prepared, by whom, and using what protocols and procedures for each stage of the project.

Mobilisation / Production

  • Project information model (PIM) – The Project Information Model is developed during the design and construction phase of a project. The PIM should be delivered to the employer containing graphical and non-graphical information.
  • Common Data environment – The common data environment (CDE) is the single source of information for the project, used to collect, manage and disseminate all relevant documentation, the graphical model and non-graphical data for the whole project team.
  • Information exchange: data drops – Generally,data drops are carried out at a number of pre-defined project stages, and the information required reflects the level of development that the project should have reached by that stage.
  • Note – these stages align with the latest RIBA work stages and recognise that information increases as we move from stage to stage.
Figure 8 – BSI, The Information Delivery Cycle, 2013


This stage is covered fully by the document PAS1192:3…

  • Asset information model – AnAsset Information Model (AIM) is a maintained information model that compiles the data and information necessary to manage, maintain and operate the built asset.
  • Information exchange: data drops
  • COBie data – Construction Operations Building Information Exchange(COBie) is an internationally recognised data exchange standard for the publication of structured facility information. This information is often shared in a neutral format (MS Excel) and can be used to supply the employer for facilities and asset management systems.
  • Government Soft Landings – Government Soft Landings (GSL) aims to link the design and construction of a project with operational and asset management.  This link will allow the needs of the end-user to be considered and addressed throughout the design process.

No matter what stage of the BIM transformation you are it is important to understand:

  • How your current processes and procedures align with PAS119:2?
  • What your role is within the BIM Level 2 Process?
  • If you need to create or respond to the Employer Information Requirements (EIR)?
  • What your role is in the Supply Chain Assessment?
  • What your role is in creating the Project Information Model?
  • How will you work within the Common Data Environment?
  • What your role is in delivering or receiving the Asset Information Model and COBie?

Download the BIM Level 2 Suite of documents from this link

Technology and BIM!

Technology is the core of BIM!

Only by utilising BIM compatible technologies and software can a full BIM Level 2 BIM project be carried out.

BIM software platforms are used to create the 3D graphical information for the project, and as the project progresses increasing amount of non-graphical building information can be stored inside the model. And can be exported at a later stage.

The model will become a centralised electronic repository for the project information, often considered as a large collection of interconnected smart objects each with large amounts of information and with the same 3D representation as in real life. These smart objects include walls, doors, windows, boilers, structural steel etc.

BIM authoring tools are essential for exporting building information and data in a suitable format to align with data drops at various stages of the project.

NBS National BIM Survey 2016 gathered information on the participants favourite software below:-

Software tools
Figure 9 – NBS, National BIM Report 2016

More information and price of the top 5 software programs can be found here –

Level 3 – Digital Built Britain

The next logical jump after successfully transitioning to BIM Level 2 is to move onto BIM Level 3 (Digital Built Britain).

At the time of writing, BIM Level 3 is not as clearly defined and standardised as BIM Level 2 although the Digital Built Britain strategy outlines what we should expect to see…

Digital Built Britain Cropped2

Digital Built Britain has split BIM Level 3 into logical delivery phases which outline the way that the industry will develop in the coming years. These delivery phases are seen as 4 logical steps:

  • Level 3A – Enabling improvements in the Level 2 model
  • Level 3B – Enabling new technologies and systems
  • Level 3C – Enabling the development of new business models
  • Level 3D – Capitalising on world leadership

In each of these steps, we see constant need for the development of digital technologies to enable the improved performance predicted in Construction 2025.

The Digital Built Britain Operational Model below helps to demonstrate how Digital Built Britain will evolve…

Digital Built Britain Operational Model
Figure 10 – Digital Built Britain Operational Model,  2015

The industrial strategy recognises that to achieve its goals the UK construction industry needs to be transformed by digital design, advanced materials and new technologies, which fully embrace the transition to a digital economy and the rise of smart construction!

In these predictions, multiple technologies will combine to provide better delivery of more intelligent buildings. The scope of Level 3 is vast, although some of the technologies which we can be foreseen today include:

  • More collaborative and integrated design packages
  • Use of 3D printing and other modern fabrication techniques such as Smart factory automation and DfMAData Analytic Laptop Screen
  • Use of embedded sensors to allow us to monitor the condition of our built assets and predict the need for maintenance interventions.
  • The availability of performance data sources to enable digital analytics.
  • Advances in the internet of things (IoT)
  • Connectivity improvements especially in 5G
  • Access to high-power computing (HPC)
  • Social Media interfaces and integration
  • Storage and high-speed data access

Combining these new and emerging technologies with construction is certainly an enticing concept, although the construction industry needs to continue to learn and adapt in order to capitalise on these opportunities.

Here is a video of an interview we carried out with Mark Bew, Chariman of the BIM Task Group, to gain a further understanding of what we are to expect of BIM Level 3:-

2016 Onwards!

The Industrial Strategy for the UK (Construction 2025) predicts multiple achievements by 2025:

  1. A 33% reduction in both the initial cost of construction and the whole life cost of assets
  2. A 50% reduction in the overall time from inception to completion for new build and refurbished assets
  3. A 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment
  4. A 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports of construction products and materials
Construction 2025 predictions
Figure 11 – Government Construction Strategy, Vision for 2025 (2013)

As we pass through 2016, a key milestone in our digital journey, we need to look at ways in which we, as an industry, can continue to grow.

Since the release of the Construction Strategy in 2011, technology has evolved in many ways. Software and technology providers are constantly developing products to capitalise on an evolving and changing construction industry.This evolution of digital products will continue enabling us to improve the ways we do construction in the UK!

As the industry continues to develop we may look towards the predictions of the BIM 2050 group who developed A Report for Our Digital Future, which outlines the predicted developments in Education and Skills, Technology and Process as well as Culture and Innovation.

One thing is for sure organisations who do not embrace the digital revolution of our industry could get left behind. This should be seen as an opportunity for the construction industry to thrive and should be capitalised on.


The built environment is currently mid-way through an industry-wide digital revolution. It is our job to embrace that!

By assessing the current performance in the UK it was made clear that many organisations are at different stages in their BIM journey – continuous efforts should be made to educate those at each different stage of the BIM journey.

This post covers the most important aspects of BIM at each level of the maturity model – key publications and standards are highlighted and should be further investigated by the reader.

For now, each individual and organisation in the industry must continue education themselves on BIM and Digital Construction as we move towards the digital age.

It is true, there has never been a more exciting time to be involved with construction and we can only look forward to what is to come!


NBS National BIM Survey 2016 – Download

BIM Level 2 Standards – Download 

Digital Built Britain (BIM Level 3) – Download

BIM 2050 Group – Download

Author: Martin Watson

Lead Editor at Construct Digital – As lead editor Martin reports on topics specifically relating to BIM, digital software and physical technologies which are revolutionising the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industry.

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