September 19, 2013
The Cabinet Office has unveiled a new initiative which aims to promote the practice of Business Information Modelling (BIM) amongst smaller businesses in the UK construction industry. At the launch of the Construction Industry Council’s dreadfully named BIM4SME forum, Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith reiterated the Government’s commitment to use BIM on all Government construction projects by 2016. However new research from the Institution of Structural Engineers has revealed the problems facing small businesses in using BIM, including the fact that two thirds think the Government stance on BIM makes it harder for them to win work and three quarters believe it presents them with major cost challenges.
The key findings of the survey of 900 IST members include:
- 73% of all those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that BIM implementation presents serious cost and commercial challenges for small businesses
- 76% of respondents from businesses under 10 employees said they are just starting their BIM journey and have little understanding of the finer details.
- Only 9.6% of respondents from businesses under 10 employees said clients regularly ask about their company’s use of BIM, (Compared to almost 50% of respondents from businesses with over 50 employees).
- 66% of respondents from businesses under 10 employees agreed or strongly agreed that the government BIM initiative will make it harder for small businesses to compete for government contracts.
- 71% of all those questioned agreed or strongly agreed that BIM is here to stay and that in the future clients will expect it to be incorporated into their work.
- 58% of all those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that BIM implementation presents significant opportunity for new business and improved efficiency.
Martin Powell, Chief Executive of the Institution of Structural Engineers said: “What is certain is that working with BIM will mean a transformation in traditional working methods across the construction industry. What is also apparent is a clear divide between large and small consultancies, with larger organisations taking the lead on BIM. The question now is: what if any opportunities does BIM offer small and medium enterprises? Further, how can we improve education on the subject to identify positive steps which smaller businesses can take to make a success of BIM?”