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BIM hubs will aim to ‘unify’ professions

The Construction Industry Council’s chief executive has insisted that architects and contractors will not squabble to be “BIM leaders” at 11 new regional hubs.

The council is leading the establishment of the hubs as a partner of the government’s BIM task group and plans to launch them by the autumn.

It will invite LEPs, BIS local offices, universities, and professional groups to form regional hubs, and will allow each group to set its own remit and focus on work packages.

A former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects was reported as saying last year that BIM provides an opportunity “to put architects in the driving seat”.

However, prominent construction industry figures have also highlighted the potential for contractors to take a significant role. CIC chief Graham Watts said arguments over which profession would “lead” on BIM were irrelevant.

He said: “It’s just not going to happen. There isn’t one group that because of their role will automatically become a leader of that BIM process.

“I don’t see anything in BIM that will eradicate any specialisms that industry needs; there will just be earlier engagement than under a traditional process. “My job is to bring together these disparate groups within industry.

“At [CIC’s] BIM forum there are members representing the widest spectrum of industry that you could possibly imagine and you just don’t hear architects, engineers, or anyone saying ‘we have to lead this process’.”

The CIC is working with the government’s BIM task group to establish regional hubs in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and eight in the English regions.

CIC has seconded two members of staff to hold discussions with construction industry bodies in each of the regions to ensure that each is properly represented alongside institutions, including local enterprise partnerships, universities and regional Department for Business Innovation and Skills offices.

Each group will then be fed information on government work packages around BIM, including law and contracts, data, training and technology, while deciding their own strategies under an elected ‘BIM champion’.

Cabinet Office head of implementation David Philp said: “This isn’t just about early contractor engagement; it’s about early facilitator engagement and all we can do now is start to unify people and make sure professions are working together.”

CIC is bidding for funding from the Innovation and Growth Fund, run by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and the Skills Funding Agency, to receive financial support to start a BIM training programme.

Mr Watts said: “The emphasis to begin with is on the government construction strategy, it’s about giving government the capability of being able to procure through BIM by 2016 but it’s also about linking to the private sector.

“Another piece of work is about equipping industry with the skills needed so the impetus is to roll out the government construction strategy and make sure there is a coordinated message but it has a much wider remit which is about improving the private sector’s capability.”

 

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