‘BIM’ has become a buzz word throughout the construction industry following the UK Government mandate of 2016. With so much hype and so little maturity, many believe BIM to be synonymous with ‘Digital Construction’. BIM itself is actually an optimised way of managing information on a project, whereas the digital transformation of the construction industry goes far beyond BIM alone.
Majenta has a strong relationship with BIMobject, as their UK partner and together we seek to tackle industry changes and challenges by supporting our customers and the wider construction network.
To dig deeper into this more extensive transformation towards Digital across the built environment, we took the opportunity to speak to Alex Lubbock, the Managing Director of BIMobject, about his thoughts on the shifts happening within the industry.
Are we still working towards BIM, or is it something more significant than that?
“In the UK, the language has moved, people are now talking about a far broader digital transformation of organisations, whether they are designing, constructing or operating assets.”
“I would say that BIM has been a catalyst for these discussions and continues to be exceptionally relevant in the global market where maturity is growing. It’s been a great brand, but actually, this is all about being leaner, more efficient and more productive. Enabling transformation is all about digital, platforms and people, especially right now.”
When we look at the 2010s we can see that BIM has been a huge driver of innovation throughout the construction industry, what do you think will be the primary driver throughout the 2020s?
“I don’t think it’s possible to point out a single primary driver for this decade, I think there are numerous drivers and burning platforms and many of them are macro drivers and outcomes beyond the industry.”
“If we look at the need to reduce carbon and achieve net-zero, in combination with the challenge of housing and the global sustainable development goals, there is still a lot of collaboration and work required to deliver these outcomes. These are real drivers and outcomes and the challenge is, how do we drive towards them, with productivity and efficiency, in a market that’s difficult to aggregate and how do we drive quality when we have a lessening skill base?”
“If I had to pick one, I think the question about skill base is the key point. Yes, the sustainability agenda is a hugely important outcome and agreeing performance criteria that we set is critical, but who will deliver this? The skill base is the common denominator. It’s not just about digital roles and manufacturing roles, though they are important, it’s about making sure that we can adopt and adapt to using different techniques.”
“We still need to restructure construction. We need to rethink the way we manage supply chains. We need to rethink what we offer to our customers. All of this will ensure that we continually improve and deliver a better performing, more efficient product. This means bringing new skills to the market whilst also retraining the existing workforce; that will be our biggest challenge, but also the biggest driver for innovation and improvement.”
BIM and the creation of BIM objects saw a closer relationship between construction and manufacturing, do you think we will continue to see closer collaboration between these industries as the construction industry continues to innovate?
“There is an inevitability about the relationship between content marketing and insight, and therefore about the relationship between manufacturing and construction. We have to have trusted content.”
“To achieve better carbon outcomes and better efficiencies in our buildings, we have to be able to look at things such as products and material selection. That’s the reason for having objects, essentially we’re collating information and opening the opportunity to start engaging with consumers differently.” said Alex. “Consumers could be novice’s to construction and we are providing these individuals trusted choice. Still, in terms of BIMobject’s user-base, it’s primarily people who are professional designers that specify products on projects. This helps the clients that want to understand and have an impact on social, economic and environmental outcomes. As well as this, consumers can leverage the variation and the opportunity to mass customise using the largest component base globally. It’s a fantastic opportunity for clients to increase their capability and for their advisors to support how they want to specify and procure for whole life performance.”
“The relationship between manufacturing and construction plays a huge part in the move towards design automation and how we can begin to simulate these outcomes in line with what people value. So, rather than looking at things from a cost perspective, we’re starting to simulate what people value, based on the different products and material criteria. To make these more informed processes, we need to get more content, more data and more information into the platform.”
Alex Lubbock has recently taken on the role of Managing Director at BIMobject, having previously worked as Head of Digital Construction at the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) for numerous years, playing a vital role in the Digital Construction agendas throughout the United Kingdom, as well as working to embed BIM Level 2 across the public sector.