07 March 2013 #Construction
There was talk of a new revolution at Clarkslegal and Kier Construction’s recent seminar, where a panel of top industry experts gave delegates a detailed insight into the impact that Building Information Modelling (BIM) is expected to have across the construction and housing sectors from here on.
Leading the panel discussion was Clarkslegal’s Construction Partner Jessica Taylor and Kier’s Processing & Engineering Managing Director Graeme Forbes, alongside Professor Jennifer Whyte of the University of Reading, Graham Clarkson of The Clarkson Alliance and Elliott Wingfield of Ridge and Partners.
Professor Jennifer Whyte kicked off the seminar by exploring the positive impact BIM will have as a controlled process in relation to client needs, concluding that “the value to the client is crucial”. Professor Whyte leads inter-disciplinary research to develop new tools and processes for the design of buildings and infrastructure and so the concept of BIM and developing collectively shared sets of information to improve the design process is central to her work.
This take on BIM envisages the huge opportunities to improve significantly the service provided by the industry to clients. This is a key theme that was threaded throughout the seminar.
According to Graeme Forbes, Managing Director of Kier Construction Process & Engineering, "The use of BIM is not an ideal but an essential. With BIM there is no double-handling information with manual processes and fragmented systems. Instead the information is streamlined so that everyone has the ability to access one central system.” Graeme concluded: “BIM doesn’t just change the workflow – it changes the process.”
Elliott Wingfield specialises in BIM implementation at Ridge whilst also tutoring in Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, and so was more than prepared to give the audience a full explanation into the misconceptions regarding the tools, referring to the process as “Better Information Management”.
Jessica Taylor, whose work includes the drafting and negotiation of major strategic and operational commercial and construction contracts emphasised that in the BIM contractual process “clarity is the watchword”. She focused on the legal implications of BIM procurement including professional liability and insurance issues, and the protocols that must be incorporated into all project contracts for BIM to be implemented and operate effectively.
An expert in his field at delivering construction projects that benefit public and third sector organisations, Graham Clarkson presented to the audience new, more efficient and collaborative ways of working with BIM to achieve a reduction in construction costs and waste.
Comparing the current UK construction industry to World War One, the fall of aristocracy and the rise of democracy, Graham spoke of the strong hold that traditional professions have had over the construction sector and how these professions need to serve clients better: “For a change to be brought about there often has to be a catalyst. This catalyst is BIM and has the potential to revolutionalise our industry.”