BIM – Do they mean us?

Anne Kemp – BIM Strategy and Development

Has the industry ever been so divided?  On the one side are the BIM early adopters, possibly driven by the government mandate for public sector projects, but by now becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of the method and furrowing the path to its higher levels. Read some sectors of the AECO press and you would be forgiven for thinking these make up the majority of the sector.

However, on the other hand is the huge remainder of the industry – the 95% that mainly work for SMEs untouched by the demands of the mandate as they are too small to even consider bidding for large public sector projects. In an industry of around two million workers – we are talking here about a substantial 1.5 million. For many of these the BIM acronym simply means “something that happens to other people”.

It’s easy to see how this has come about – and indeed have sympathy with smaller building firms, for example, still struggling after recession. However, now the government has asked for BIM Level 2 to become ‘business as usual’ across the entire industry, it’s difficult to know how this situation can continue for these companies if they want to stay in business.

After all, every other industry has seen its own digital revolution – and no doubt many of this 1.5 million use Facebook, subscribe to Spotify and Netflix and other consumer digital platforms.

Is it simply cost? Or culture, or reluctance to change that is holding these companies back?