UK BIM Framework: beyond BIM Level 2

UK BIM Framework: beyond BIM Level 2

The UK BIM Framework brings about an integrated approach to implementing BIM in the UK. If you work on BIM projects, this article will serve as a useful guide on what the UK BIM Framework is and how it can help you.

UK BIM Framework – a single source of truth

The world of BIM is a rapidly changing one. New standards, technologies and innovations are transforming BIM, particularly in the engineering and construction arenas. Staying up-to-date with all those changes can sometimes become understandably challenging, and even daunting. Luckily for all of us, there is a single source of truth to know which are the latest BIM standards in the UK – the UK BIM Framework.

A Framework by the industry, for the industry

This Framework is there to support individuals, teams and organisations in the UK with the correct implementation of BIM. Three of the main bodies leading BIM in the UK are responsible for the development of the UK BIM Framework. These are the UK BIM Alliance, the British Standards Institute (BSI), and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB).

The work included in the Framework is the result of a collaborative effort. And surprisingly as it may sound, most of the contributors work on a voluntary basis. This illustrates an exemplary case of intrinsic motivation driving the construction industry to a better future. The UK BIM Framework is not just a resourceful site with standards and guidance, but rather it represents a vital foundation for future developments. In words of the Framework itself:

‘We are committed to a co-ordinated approach to creating and communicating an international wrapper for UK BIM and ensuring a smooth transition in the integration of BS EN ISO 19650 series within our suite. Collectively we will develop and champion one single set of guidance in a clear and concise manner to support industry understanding of BIM standards and their implementation.’

The origin of the UK BIM Framework

The UK BIM Framework launched just over a year ago, in October 2019. It was seen by BIM champions as a necessary union in order to address the integration of the recently published ISO 19650. The Framework included the full 1192 suite together with ISO 19650 Parts 1 and 2 superseding BS 1192:2007 and PAS 1192-2, respectively. As each further ISO 19650 standard is released it supersedes its 1192 counterpart, as has happened with Parts 3 and 5, which are currently included in the Framework. It also includes other British Standards, such as BS1192-4:2014 (COBie code of practice) and BS 8536-1:2015 (Code of practice for facilities management), and PAS 1192-6:2018, the specification for collaborative sharing and use of structured Health and Safety information using BIM.

But one of the main value propositions of the Framework is not just to endorse the latest BIM standards in the UK, but also to provide guidance on their implementation and additional resources, such as links to the Government Soft Landings. In particular, the framework updates its guidance on ISO 19650 Part 1 and Part 2 quarterly to improve and ratify content.

Key changes introduced by the UK BIM Framework

One key aspect that the Framework aims to champion and clarify is the definition of BIM itself.  According to the ISO 19650 series, ‘Building information modelling (BIM) is about getting benefit through better specification and delivery of just the right amount of information concerning the design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings and infrastructure, using appropriate technologies.’ This will help deliver the efficiencies sought by the UK Government.

Another essential change is that we say goodbye to ‘BIM Level 2’, replacing it with the ‘UK BIM Framework’. This is a necessary change to align with the ISO 19650 series, as the standard has removed the reliance on BIM levels. The UK BIM Framework, therefore, discourages the levels of maturity. This is an effort to enforce Appointing Parties to specify information management requirements on an appointment by appointment basis. Previously, asset owners used to just specify ‘BIM Level 2’ requirements. This was a rather subjective term and resulted in vague requirements leading to abortive work.

The future of BIM

This new Framework approach also means that BIM Level 3 – previously regarded as the future of BIM – will no longer become a reality, at least under such terminology. Instead, the future of BIM is now aligned with Digital Built Britain and the National Digital Twin Programme. This Programme aims to enable an ecosystem of connected digital twins to foster better outcomes from our built environment.

The future of BIM changes rapidly through constant innovation. However, one thing is clear – whatever that future is, it will be driven to a large extent through the ongoing work and guidance of the UK BIM Framework so we encourage you to keep an eye on their work!

How are you finding the transition from BIM Level 2 to the new UK BIM Framework? Let us know in the comments below!

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