CIBSE BIM Survey 2014

The CIBSE BIM Working Group ran a survey aimed at both BIM users and non-users in the summer of 2014. The raw data from the survey is available here. (2013 Survey is summarised here)

The online survey attracted input from a wide range of industry participants but, as might be expected, in a CIBSE originated survey over half respondents categorised themselves as building services engineers/designers and the responses are likely to reflect that bias.

Of course any messages from such a survey should be viewed with caution as the group that completes the survey is self-selecting and may not be representative of ‘the industry’. All those who completed the survey made a subjective assessment of how ‘well’ informed’ they were of ‘BIM’. It has been clear following the discussions of ‘BIM’ over the last few years that the interpretation of the term BIM (building information modelling/model) wildly differs from person to person.

However the collected thinking appears to indicate that, however individuals interpret ‘BIM’, they believe that they are becoming better informed. This is good news for the Government BIM Task Group who have been working for the past 3 years to move forward understanding and implementation of 3D collaborative BIM as one of the key facets of the UK Government’s 2011 Construction Strategy. The perceived importance of BIM goes beyond the current users with almost three quarters of those do not currently employ the philosophy and technology of BIM considering that it will be at least a key requirement for their future work and over 40% seeing it as essential.

Just under three quarters of respondents had been involved in projects that have used BIM and the proportion of active BIM users that have been actively involved with BIM for between 2 and 3 years almost doubled compared last year.

The balance of vendors that were seen as providing the software for BIM activity was almost identical to last year

Despite the apparent increased awareness and take-up of BIM the source of the components (families/objects) by users has not shifted significantly in the last year – still nearly a quarter will produce their own components. This is somewhat surprising as there has been much PR activity by manufacturers promoting the increased availability of components suitable for BIM.

However when looking at the current BIM activity over a third of activity focuses around levels (of detail) 1 and 2 – neither of which require complex parametric information and often comprise of primitive geometric/wire-frame outlines. To feed the requirement for reliable non-proprietary BIM components over 3 quarters of all respondents continue to see a need for an independent library of generic building services objects.

The activity of the Government BIM Task Group is to move the ‘level of maturity’ so that by 2016 government projects are successfully delivered with collaborative 3D BIM complete with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic. Feedback in the survey indicates that there is progress towards this as there is a massive shift in 2014 with over a half of BIM active respondents considering that they are working to maturity level 2.

This year the question set was expanded beyond that of previous years to provide better resolution of the ‘client’ expectations of output from the BIM. This considered both the immediate output requirements and information that would provide intelligence for the operational stage of the buildings life.

Although only 39% of the BIM active respondents were currently outputting data explicitly for use in facilities management almost all users and non-users believed that BIM will help support the design and delivery of strategic facilities management. And when it came to the importance of the information delivered by BIM the operational and maintenance data were seen practically as important as design data.

The information output that is promoted to meet the 2016 UK Government requirements is COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange) and over half of the responses indicate that there is a reasonable awareness of COBie.

The actual output that is currently requested from the BIM users by clients, colleagues or the construction team was dominated by requests for ‘traditional’ drawings. This perhaps is indicative of supply chain data disconnect where traditional drawings are required not only for (understandable) site application but also, rather more frustratingly, to bridge the interoperability gaps between design and fabrication software.

Looking forward to the future the respondents saw CIBSE as leading the standardisation of BIM for Building Services Engineering next followed by a group of institutions and then by the BSI. Both CIBSE and BSI have been active in the development of methods and standards over the last year – BSI with PAS 1192 part 4 that considers the operational data requirements and CIBSE with the Product Data Templates (PDTs) used to readily provide manufacturers product data into the BIM.

A surprise from this survey (to those in the CIBSE BIM Working Group) was the advanced level of maturity that many were apparently working towards. However taken together with increasing levels of perceived competence in BIM and the confidence to progress to higher levels of detail indicates that BIM is taking hold and moving forward in this industry.