In 2011 the UK Government Construction Strategy set targets for reducing capital costs in the public sector by 20% and meeting the UK carbon reduction commitments, which include reducing emissions by 50% by 2019.

The report highlighted a number of aspects to achieving these targets and the use of BIM was mandated as one of the key components in the strategy. This set in motion the BIM Task Group, producing several reports, initiatives, working groups and pilot projects.

Meanwhile the construction industry has continued to grapple with adopting BIM on projects, with varying degrees of success, and also numerous conferences have taken place and groups have been developed, recently including the Regional BIM Hubs, now known as the BIM Regions founded in 2012, founded in partnership with the BIM Task Group and the CIC.

However the frequent cry that has been made is that we need guidance and standards and whilst those leading the initiative have openly acknowledged this, there have been a number of working groups beavering away in the background over the last few years to deliver exactly this information the industry needs. These are now the Level 2 documents.

The following documents represent “the 8 pillars of BIM Level 2” and unfortunately are required reading and understanding. There is no short cut. All of us need to at least have some knowledge of these standards and processes, at a minimum level relative to our own role, but beyond that to understand the context within which project teams will be working from now on.

We’ve also added a few other documents, which will inform these 8 documents and I hope will prove useful.

I can only re-emphasis that there is no shortcut here. Whatever your role and position in the foodchain and supply chain you will need to review all the documents and understand the requirements from your perspective.

These documents provide the framework for BIM Level 2 in terms of processes, conventions, contractual arrangements and roles. It is worth remembering that whilst the standards define various roles, these aren’t necessarily or intended to be extra people in the team or on the payroll. However they represent activities that must be carried out for the BIM CDE environment to be effective. So think along the lines of “WHAT needs to be done?” and then “WHO is best placed to do it”.

All the documents are freely available at the Government BIM website.
And also on the new BSI website here – http://shop.bsigroup.com/Browse-by-Sector/Building–Construction/BIM-/

The Task Group welcomes feedback on the documents as they are being used by industry.
Just register and log in at http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/task-group-labs/

What is UK BIM Level 2?

At BIM level 2, in a way this works just as we do now but in a digital environment. Each discipline still produces its’ own digital discipline specific information and models. These are shared through a collaboration platform such as 4Projects or Basestone, and can be aggregated using a software tool such as Navisworks or Solibri. Operations can then be carried out on the aggregated model using BIM tools for timelining, clash detection, quantity take off, simulations, and so on.

For this reason Level 2 is known as a composite or federated environment.

It has been said that perhaps BIM Level 2 just makes us do the process the way we should have always been doing it. Over the years, generations even, we have learned how to cut corners and buck systems to achieve results. Those results usually came at the cost of time, quality and cost of the project. BIM is unforgiving – it demands that we follow process properly and the required standards; that we use information consistently and coherently and that we work together properly with the end in mind. I’m sure we could all agree this is no bad thing, even if getting there is a little painful at times. But, it will soon get easier and the benefits will soon outweigh the apparent cost involved.

Level 3 offers the prospect of working together in a digitally integrated environment. This is way beyond the scope of this guide and it is debatable whether current technology can support this yet. Certainly the standards do not exist for this and the UK BIM Task Group anticipates releasing Level 3 information by 2020, to ensure industry transition by 2025.

However the main challenge that confronts us now is to ensure industry wide adoption of Level 2 as quickly as possible. This extends to supply chain, suppliers, sub-contractors, consultants, clients, end users, FM/operations and anyone else connected with the brief/design/construct/operate/process.

The documents are:

BS1192:2007 – Collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information – Code of Practice
This document introduces the concept of the Common Data Environment, and collaborative working in a digital format. It is perhaps the “grandfather” of the 8 Level 2 documents as we know them.
(Available through BSI).

1 – PAS 1192 Part 2:2013

Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modeling
Available free here: http://shop.bsigroup.com/Navigate-by/PAS/PAS-1192-22013/

“The purpose of the PAS is to support the objective to achieve BIM maturity Level 2 by specifying requirements for this level, setting set out the framework for collaborative working on BIM enabled projects and providing specific guidance for the information management requirements associated with projects delivered using BIM.”Task Group Website

The PAS is the key overarching document that builds upon BS 1192:2007, defining the BIM processes for the Common Data Environment on a project for delivery from the start at definition of need through to handover, and detailing required management processes in a multi-disciplinary BIM environment.

2 – PAS1192 Part 3:2014

Specification for information management for the operational phase of assets using building information modeling.

Available free here: http://shop.bsigroup.com/forms/PASs/PAS-1192-3/

This takes the process from handover into the full asset lifecycle and details information management for an operational asset to support maintenance and portfolio management activities. It considers the various interventions that might occur over the lifecycle such as refurbishment, change of owner and recycling.

3 – BS 1192 Part 4:2014

Collaborative production of information – Part 4 Fulfilling employers information requirements using COBie – Code of Practice

Available free here: http://shop.bsigroup.com/forms/PASs/BS-1192-4-2014/

Guidance on COBie UK 2012 has been available for sometime but in this update an example project is modelled at various stages with corresponding COBie outputs. In addition COBie testing and extraction tools are examined.

4 – PAS 1192 Part 5:2015

Specification for security minded building information modeling, digital built environments and smart asset management

Available free here: http://shop.bsigroup.com/forms/PASs/PAS-1192-5/

We are increasingly reliant on cloud based digital services. This has implications for the world of BIM because we need to consider how safe and secure our digital information really is.
The standard discusses the related issues and provides a framework for considering digital security on a project.

5 – Government Soft Landings

Available here: http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/gsl/

“To champion better outcomes for our built assets during the design & construction stages through Government Soft Landings (GSL) powered by a Building Information Model (BIM) to ensure value is achieved in the operational lifecycle of an asset.”Task Group website
“BIM + GSL = Better outcomes”
Based on the BSRIA Soft Landings process, GSL encourages the engagement of the project end users right from the start of design for any built asset. This improves the built asset design, construction and operation process. Particular focus is on commissioning, handover, end user training, ongoing aftercare, and Post Occupancy Evaluations.
The Golden Thread of GSL runs from the start of a project, linking, clients, end users, designers and constructors, focusing on improved outcomes and operational performance.
GSL is also a 2016 target. For every Public Sector Project there will be a GSL Champion appointed from the start.

6 – Digital Plan of Work

Available here: http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/digital-plans-of-work/
(Accessed through the Task Group Lab Space)

A working group has looked at the plethora of industry plans of work and produced the dPoW.(See the BIM Toolkit below) This provides a harmonised stage structure that will provide an overarching framework for all other plans of work produced by the Institutes such as the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 update.
Included in the dPoW are activities required for each stage and links with COBie requirements and the Employers Information Requirements.

7 – Uniclass 2015

Available via the BIM Toolkit, see below.

For a digital information environment like BIM, we need a digital classification system, which was Uniclass 2. This was still effectively a Beta version but development is now ongoing as below (See the BIM Toolkit below), and the classification will continue to evolve with our increasing use of BIM. The classification not only needs to be capable of developing with the growing data maturity of a model, but must also accommodate changes over the asset lifecycle and be capable of use by all stakeholders in the process.

Uniclass has been updated and included as Uniclass 2015 in the BIM Toolkit, see below. Accessing products on the website automatically gives you the Uniclass reference code, and maps to other classifications, such as NBS, CESMM, and NRM1.

8 – CIC BIM Protocol

Available free here: http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/bim-protocol/

The CIC BIM Protocol is a supplementary contract agreement for appointments by Construction Clients and Contractor Clients. It covers BIM model production and delivery requirements and also sets out information requirements. The protocol can be included in a contract or appointment by a simple amendment as an appendix or supplement. This works with all main UK contract formats.

BIM Toolkit (For sections 6 and 7 above)

Other documents and information:

Data Hierarchy
(Accessed through the Task Group Lab Space)

http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/data-hierarchy-overview/

Linking with the dPoW, the Data Hierarchy defines the information requirements for each stage from general to detailed, including the Coordinated Work Stages, the Plain Language Questions which set out what information is required and also the Demand Matrix which sets out the information to be included in the COBie file that forms part of each of the information exchanges in line with the dPow.

Employers Information Requirements
http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/bim-eirs/

The EIRs are included in tender and appointment documents, defining model requirements and outputs at each stage. The EIRs cover Technical, Management and Commercial aspects of the requirements and are detailed on the website. The Plain Language Questions are used to help the produce the EIR and are available on the Task Group website.

Scope of Services for Information Management
http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/scope-of-services-for-information-management/

These documents detail the Information Management role that is fundamental to BIM delivery on a project, managing the Common Data Environment, project information and facilitating collaborative working, information exchange and project team management. The role does not involve design responsibility. However it could be carried out by a consultant with design responsibility, or the Main Contractor.

Insurance Guidance Note
http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/professional-service-indemnity-insurance-guidance/

The CIC has carried out extensive consultation with the Professional Indemnity insurance market, and developed some simple guidance for all those involved in design in a BIM environment. Guidance documents are provided on the website.

Video resources (under resources tab)
http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/video-resources/

Various leading members of the Task Group have produced videos that give an overview of the Government BIM programme covering aspects such as Education and Training, Commercial, Technical and Government Soft Landings.

Conclusion

This is a defining period in the UK Government BIM initiative.

At a time when the UK has recently moved into second place in the world in terms of BIM adoption, outranked only by Finland, this comprehensive set of documents provides much needed guidance and standards for all stakeholders involved in implementing and using BIM on their projects. As these documents become embedded in industry practice, they will provide a platform to move forward in BIM adoption and could well prove to be a landmark in the transformation of our industry. Also available for free here – http://bim-level2.org

The recent launch of the Level 3 strategy brings home that Level 2 is but a staging post on the journey. The current challenge is ensuring that our industry operates consistently at Level 2, delivering benefits from improved information delivery, organisation, and project performance. This will then provide a launch pad for BIM Level 3 and beyond.