One of the aspirations the UK government has for the UK construction industry is that by 2025 construction should drive growth across the entire UK economy. This growth is not to be inefficient, however, and the UK government targets that the cost of projects should be reduced by 33% and delivered 50% faster. We, in this relatively small UK community, are in a great position to play a dominant part in the forecasted 70% growth and annual £200 billion global construction industry.
This figure raises a few questions – we all want a slice of the pie, but how can businesses in construction get their hands on it?
One thing is for sure: the developers need to get on board. Construction needs developers and with new technology and legislation, developers must drive innovation by demanding it in their projects. Sustainability is a major topic and closely linked to technology and process and it starts with the construction client.
We can’t reach £200 billion with just developers driving change, though. After all, the design and contractor sectors have had a significant amount of time to adopt BIM Level 2 and this adaptation looks fairly good on paper (70% in 2018). The reality remains that BIM efficiency has some way to go before it meets its real potential. Design team driven BIM being the main culprit for lagging behind. Another reason why the developer needs to take ownership of the project from day one, but a reality that doesn’t have to be if the contractors and design teams also take BIM responsibly.
Allowing developers to catch up by supporting them with the standards, processes and technologies that favour the intended business model would be the correct way forward.
The Design and Build contracts (predicted to surpass the traditional contract in 2019) allow for some of this support, if (and it is a big if) the contractors have implemented the required standards, processes and technologies in a way that are streamlined with the government’s aspirations mentioned above. Having a correctly implemented BIM Level 2 / ISO 19650 standard could be used to help convince the developer that BIM would benefit their own business objectives. For example:
- Planning the project – assessing risks, impact on neighbouring infrastructure and traffic and cost projections based on 3D and database simulations.
- Asset management and maintenance – access to vast amounts of different types of data through purposeful interfaces.
- Faster and precise decisions – conditional and associated information can be obtained and evaluated from different angles, remotely.
- A tried and tested system – BIM is a process that caters for the points above and structuring the planning and collaboration, using technology to develop and monitor the information the developer is paying for.
If we are looking at an international market, as we should judging from the predicted growth of 4.3% PA in emerging economies, it is even more important to be prepared to support the clients from a very early stage. With streamlined routines that are designed to meet growth and sustainability, contractors can set the standards for UK leadership. The UK has provided the foundation for the ISO 19650 to be utilised globally, we have the experience and we have reasonable support from our government to grow and develop. No other economy is as well prepared as the UK to lead on the infrastructure development in for example India and Africa to support a predicted doubling of their populations in the next decade.
Bluntly put, it is in the hands of the contractors to make this happen, but there is support available to implement and update new and existing standards, processes and technologies.
Here are the questions we at DDC put on to the contractors:
Do we, as a UK industry, want to take home the financial rewards and establish ourselves as the leading industry? We don’t have that much time, if we at all consider deadlines.
Ask yourself: is your BIM process adequate for the demands put on us to truly support your clients and for us to be a global leader in construction?