Project management feb

Public Sector building information modelling adoption timelines

Since January this year, the Public Sector Building Information Modelling Adoption Timeline has begun in earnest. Under the instruction of the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) and the Governments Contracts Committee (GCC); public sector projects with a value above €100 million now require Building Information Modelling (BIM) to be included in the Design Team scope of service. In January 2025, this requirement will extend to Design Teams on projects of €20 million or higher, and Contractors on projects with a value above €100 million. This stepped rollout will continue until January 2028, at which point there will be BIM requirements in every public sector construction project.

With the introduction of such an extensive roll-out plan by OGP and GCC, it raises some questions. What is Building Information Modelling? Why is it being pushed so intensely? What is required to get the most out of BIM?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process for creating and managing information on construction projects throughout their whole life cycle. Under the BIM process, all members of the design team work collaboratively to create 3D digital information on every aspect of the physical building. BIM is one of several systems which will progress the digitalisation of the construction industry. This technology, when harnessed correctly, grants significant benefits to projects.

Firstly, design coordination is facilitated from the beginning as all designers collaborate in the development of the BIM model. This reduces the silo-ised thinking which can create design clashes that are discovered late in the day. A further significant benefit is that clients are better able to ‘experience’ the building prior to construction. Any design revisions which may occur can happen earlier in the project, with less disruption and cost. This allows for greater efficiency in the designing and building of assets. A well-implemented BIM system reduces the challenges of drawing version control. It can facilitate other digital technologies which are improving the industry such as virtual reality and the use of drones for inspections. Overall, BIM is a tool which can improve quality and reduce safety risks.

With the obvious and significant benefits, it is seen by OGP and GCC as a priority to progress BIM uptake. However, there are barriers to entry in adopting BIM, not least the cost and training of staff. In the industry, it is seen as not feasible for consultants and contractors to upskill and bear the costs of adopting BIM until there is confidence that BIM will become widely used. Through harnessing the significant buying power of public sector clients in construction, which represents circa 25% of the industry in Ireland, firms can be confident in achieving the necessary return on investment needed to justify the adoption of BIM. OGP believes that once adopted, the use of BIM will filter into projects of all scales across both the public and private sectors.

The OGP and GCC will be eager to see the adoption of BIM across the industry over the coming years. To be considered a success, BIM must be adopted by all, and not just the largest firms working on the biggest projects. This will require significant investment in the training and upskilling of the workers across all sectors of the construction industry. New entrants to construction must be made familiar with the technology and those already working in the industry need access to training opportunities in the BIM process.

If you have any queries relating to the Public Sector BIM Adoption Timeline about your projects, feel free to reach out to our Project Management Team to discuss what is the best fit for you.

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