Setting the standard

Government BIM Toolkit award gives UK construction a digital leg up

BIM standardisation has moved a step closer with the announcement today of the £1m Technology Strategy Board’s contract for the BIM Digital Toolkit. The award, to the RIBA Journal’s sister company NBS, will deliver the final pieces of the Level 2 BIM jigsaw, as defined by the Government’s BIM Task Group.

Based on the RIBA 2013 Plan of Work, the free-to-use toolkit will enable a clear and standardised discussion on who is responsible for what level of detail on 5000 objects from very generic geometries in the first instance, right down to specification. Each of these levels is to be explicitly and robustly defined with drawings, notes and technical information to help derisk projects in a way that extensive Excel spreadsheets have never managed to. All the new work, with collaborators across industry (including the RIBA and BDP), will be underpinned by the tried and tested specification tools of NBS.

Estimates have put the market for UK BIM related export at £30bn annually by 2020, based on the UK maintaining its BIM lead. On the same day as the announcement NBS also shared its work to create an open standard for BIM objects. Drawing together the many UK and international BIM-object related standards, including those of the British Standards Institute and ISO, this forty page pdf should bring a new level of transparency to the creation of BIM objects.

Rail gauges, weights and measures and electrical sockets show how essential standardisation is to progress, to get the things working efficiently beyond proprietary standards. The toolkit will create a shared language and software for construction. So look forward to the future of BIM standardisation and the toolkit’s first phases being delivered as soon as spring 2015.