Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building
  • 20 Dec 2012

BuildingSMART deal will hasten BIM adoption

The BRE’s takeover of the organisation aimed at making BIM systems talk to each other will speed the development and adoption of the collaboration technology, experts claim.

From 1 January 2013 the BRE will take over the running of BuildingSMART UK, a technical organisation set up to develop the open standards, protocols and tools required for the interoperable use of BIM software.

The revamped organisation will be chaired by Mark Bew, chairman of the government’s BIM implementation strategy, and under the BRE its technical remit will expand to cover work areas including Level 2 and Level 3 BIM, Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie), and infrastructure and building in use elements. It also aims to develop more tools and training for the industry.

In the first year, the BRE plans to expand its membership, from around 50 companies to several hundred.

“BuildingSMART UK needed a much larger organisation to take it forward to the next stage now that BIM use is exploding,” said Nick Tune, director of BRE Wales and South West and head of BuildingSmart UK. “The BRE is involved in many more BIM-related projects and has the marketing, administration and technical expertise to take it forward.”

The collaboration is expected to give BuildingSMART UK a more mainstream edge and help accelerate adoption of open standards, which enable design and contractor teams to communicate using BIM no matter what software platform they use.

“BuildingSMART was previously focused on the development of standards and was purely technical and academic minded, which perhaps meant it took longer for the wider industry to take notice,” said Benedict Wallbank, BIM consultant at SmartBIM Solutions. “The BRE’s involvement should bring a new focus to propagating the standard to industry, not just developing the standard itself.”

The BRE currently utilises BIM to help clients control energy use in their buildings, understand how products, materials and systems will perform and maximise their environmental performance. BIM also plays a major part in the BRE Trust’s recently-announced Future Cities programme and its Smart Grids project.

“Interoperability will enormously increase competition among software providers, improve innovation and ultimately bring down software prices,” said Wallbank. “There are hundreds of BIM products out there, and we don't want a situation where projects have to select the consultants because they use the same software, the development of open standards will prevent that.”

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