At this year's Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) BIM National Conference 2014, Martin Quinn, who is with Great Portland Estates (GPE) gave the perspective on BIM in practice from the perspective of a construction firm with predominantly private customers.
According to the UK Government's timetable, from 2016 on all public (vertical) construction projects are required to use BIM. But private owners are not coverred by this mandate so it is interesting to see how the BIM mandate for public projects is affecting private projects. According to Paul Morrell, former Chief Construction Adviser to the UK Government, an encouraging sign in the UK is many private sector clients are also engaging with the BIM agenda, and are seeking to do so in a way that is aligned with the principles established by the government.
Great Portland Estates's has about 2.3 million sq ft of private industry projects in its pipeline. Of these 51% are BIM enabled. One of these is a high profile building at 240 Blackfriars Road in London, scheduled for completion in March, 2014. When GPE started using BIM, the main operational benefit that was expected was clash detection, reducing risk by automatically detecting clashes during the design phase rather than during construction. But after using BIM on a number of projects they have found many more areas where BIM was able to improve the design and construction process. These include construction scheduling, resolving complex construction issues before construction, visualization of the project for the client during the design phase, and construction simulation. These projects typically involve laser scanning – to record existing conditions and during construction and at the end to compare what was actually constructed with what was designed.
Overall GPE has found that BIM cuts costs and reduces risk by more efficient construction and better allocation of financial risk which allows for reduction in risk allowances. As a rule of thumb, GPE has found that creating and maintaining a BIM model adds about 0.5% of construction value, but provides 1% reduction in risk. In other words, for every pound that creating and maintaining the BIM model adds to cost, two pounds of savings are realized.
GPE foresees an opportunity for BIM to reduce costs associated with facilities management (FM). GPE is currently exploring how BIM can be used to populate the FM database to support operations and maintenance.