Cost no longer an excuse for avoiding BIM

Universities shying away from the benefits of Business Information Modelling (BIM) are being advised to take a similar approach to Cambridge University, one of many in the UK using BIM to plan refurbishments in a cost-effective manner.

The advice comes from 3D measurement expert Severn Partnership, which has recently been working with Cambridge University to help the organisation gain greater transparency of its facilities for renovation purposes.

Many London universities have revealed they are hesitant to use BIM because they are cautious of how much money needs to be invested in order to ensure it is a worthwhile exercise. Yet according to Severn Partnership, which cites Cambridge University as an example, BIM is one of the most useful methods of reducing facilities management costs and offers a lower long term cost option for universities. This information is even more pertinent following the recent Government announcement that all UK construction companies tendering for public sector work should achieve level two BIM by 2016.

Cambridge University appointed Severn Partnership to laser scan a large area of campus for use in site wide refurbishment and construction work. Two-dimensional CAD elevations along with accurate 3D models were developed and used within the Universities BIM project. This collaborative BIM approach ensures that reworks are reduced, stakeholders can be engaged in a full project at the early stages, and insurance costs are typically lowered, saving further investment from the university.

Mark King, Project Manager at Severn Partnership explained how a BIM model has made it much easier for the university to plan any building developments.

“The great thing about BIM is that you have access to all the relevant information for an entire campus, which universities can refer to at any time in the future when planning additional redevelopment work. This not only saves money when it comes to any future building work but it also allows universities to form closer collaborations with contractors, lower risk premiums, and dramatically reduce the number of variations required on any development work. It also means that universities make more efficient use of space and experience minimum disruption during any development process.”

Universities pointing towards the cost of hiring an internal BIM manager to access and manipulate BIM data are also being reassured by Severn Partnership. The company’s sister company SEEABLE provides complimentary deliverables to re-purpose BIM into easy, non-technical bespoke apps for facilities, safety and marketing teams. This makes BIM accessible to anyone within an organisation and removes the costly expense of hiring an internal BIM manager.

Mark Combes, Partner of SEEABLE explained:

“We have made BIM accessible to everyone through the launch of our sister company, SEEABLE. Once 3D data goes into SEEABLE, we can reuse it for architectural and engineering design. And because it can be viewed in an intuitive app environment, or through games-based learning, there is no need for complex software in order to make it possible to analyse and view 3D data. There is now no reason for not investing in BIM technology and this is why 75% of BIM users do experience a positive return on investment.”