The Digital Revolution is Underway!


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 (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) as a minimum by 2016. The release of PAS1192:2 and other guidance documents allowed for organisations to start making the change towards digitalisation before the 2016 mandate. Since then BIM usage has increased substantially in the UK, this can be demonstrated in the NBS Annual BIM survey findings. When NBS first monitored the use and adoption of BIM in 2010, lessBIM Maturity Levels than 15% of the design community engaged in BIM, although some were aware of it a significant number were totally unaware of BIM. Since then the UK construction industry has progressed massively with 48% of designers using BIM and only 5% not using BIM, demonstrated in the 2014 survey findings.

Back in 2011 when the Level 2 Initiative was announced the 2016 deadline seemed a long way off. It is now 2016 and the mandate is in here! The key question is how do we continue to build upon the digital success we made with Level 2 BIM!

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 for construction products and materials

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. The next logical jump from BIM Level 2 is Digital Built Brittan (or BIM Level 3) which was released by the government in February 2015 to help us reach the targets set by Construction 2025. This document covers the future of the construction industry from 2016 onwards and outlines a more digital future with integrated systems and real time data sets.

Since the release of the construction strategy in 2011 technology has evolved in many ways with software and technology providers constantly developing their 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!

What shall we expect?

Digital Built Brittan 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 development of digital technologies to enable the improved performance predicted in Construction 2025.

It is important to point out that UK Government is aiming to be the world leader in global construction. The industrial strategy recognises that to achieve these 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 DfMA
  • 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.Data Analytic Laptop Screen
  • 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 and enticing concept, although the construction industry needs to continue to learn and adapt in order to capitalise on these opportunities.

Construct Digital seeks to drive the Digital Revolution of the construction industry by providing in up to date information on new and emerging technologies which can be utilised by its readers for improving the way they design, construct and maintain the UK’s built assets.

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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