A survey by Pinsent Masons has found that around two-thirds of construction businesses believe the government mandate of achieving Level 2 building information modelling on central government projects by 2016 is unachievable.
The survey respondents were primarily design consultants (48 per cent) and main contractors (22 per cent).
Almost all were aware of the Level 2 BIM mandate (98.4 per cent) but 64 per cent of respondents to the survey from 70 businesses in the infrastructure sector said the target was unachievable.
Asked about barriers to achieving Level 2, 27 per cent of respondents cited the absence of collaboration as the most significant barrier while 13 per cent cited a lack of willingness by clients to invest in BIM.
More than half (52 per cent) of respondents cited the integrity of information input into models as a key risk of BIM to their organisation.
The government has said it will use Level 2 BIM on all central government construction projects by 2016, with some departments such as the Ministry of Justice already bringing Level 2 BIM into procurement.
Chris Hallam, partner in Pinsent Masons’ projects, construction and engineering team, said: “The overriding message from our survey points to greater collaboration if BIM is to be a success.
“Collaboration is not, however, a new concept for the industry. For over a generation the government and industry stakeholders have strived to create a utopia of a more collaborative construction industry with some, albeit limited, success.
“The problem is that the majority of construction contracts are not very collaborative. Risk tends to be allocated in a binary manner, with each party incentivised to look after its own interests – rather than the wider interests of a project.
“Because the parties’ interests are rarely aligned, this tends not to create an environment where true collaboration is possible – at least not if things go wrong. BIM, however, by its very nature requires a more collaborative environment.”
Two-thirds of those surveyed said existing forms of contract used in the industry and the approaches taken to contracting are not fit for purpose when BIM was taken into account, while 69 per cent said that existing construction contracts fail to adequately address the means by which collaborative contracting can be achieved.
Mr Hallam said: “This may not make pleasant reading for the publishers of standard form contracts, particularly the NEC and PPC2000 forms which are generally considered to be at the more collaborative end of the spectrum.
“We believe this is evidence of an industry crying out for a different approach – for contractual arrangements that work in a collaborative environment.
“Many believe that the ‘alliancing’ model – a ‘no-fault’-based procurement route where parties share in the success or failure of a project – is where the industry should be heading.
“Indeed, several sectors – including rail and utilities – have embraced alliancing, and we are starting to see other sectors dip their toes in the water.”
The top three benefits identified from the use of BIM were:
- Improvement in the design production process of a construction project (63 per cent);
- Risk mitigation in terms of better on-site clash detection and/or health & safety risk deduction (57 per cent);
- Greater clarity and transparency for clients (46 per cent).