10 Aug 2015

BIM levels explained     

Those who have, or are looking to embrace BIM as part of their processes, know that BIM is essentially value creating collaboration through the entire life-cycle of an asset, underpinned by the creation, collation and exchange of shared 3D models and intelligent, structured data attached to them.

But with all this talk about BIM levels, it can get pretty confusing for those not yet familiar with the environment. Some ask; is all BIM not the same? The short answer is: No. BIM has different levels (often described as ‘maturity levels’) of file based collaboration and library management, not to mention the CAD capabilities. In this blog we aim to explain the different levels of BIM without clogging it with jargon.

Level 0

The majority of the industry is already well ahead of this now. This, the simplest form of BIM, is an unmanaged CAD including 2D drawings, and text with paper-based or electronic exchange of information but without common standards and processes. Essentially this is a digital drawing board without the option to collaborate with other users.

Level 1

This version of BIM is a managed CAD, with the increasing introduction of spatial coordination, standardised structures and formats as it moves towards Level 2 BIM. Typically BIM Level 1 comprises a mixture of 3D CAD for concept work, and 2D for statutory approval documentation and production information. This may include 2D information and 3D information such as visualisations or concept development models. However, in Level 1, models are not shared between project team members.

Level 2

This is the level the Government is expecting the industry meet by 2016. This is distinguished by collaborative working – all parties use their own 3D CAD models, but are not necessarily working on a single, shared model. The collaboration comes in the form of how the information is exchanged between different parties. Design information is shared through a common file format, which enables any organisation to be able to combine the used data with their own in order to make a federated BIM model, and to carry out interrogative checks on it. Level 2 BIM is a managed 3D environment with data attached, but created in separate discipline-based models. Even though the separate models are assembled to form a federated model, but do not lose their identity or integrity. Data may include construction sequencing (4D) and cost (5D) information.

Level 3

The next level of BIM, not yet upon us, often described as the “Holy Grail” of BIM. Level 3 represents full collaboration between all disciplines by means of using a single, shared project model which is held in a centralized repository, and will be compliant with emerging Industry standards. BIM level 3 aims to be a single collaborative, online, project model with construction sequencing (4D), cost (5D) and project lifecycle information (6D).

More blogs on BIM:

Is BIM Level 2 achievable by 2016?

BIM for the Facilities Manager

BIM 2015: What does it mean for you…?

How SMEs can benefit from BIM

BIM for the future generations

03 Aug 2015

SMEs to benefit from EIB €8bn finance fund

A new €8bn (£5.7bn) European Investment Bank fund could result in a major finance boost for UK construction SMEs.

Domestic firms will hope to win a sizable chunk of the European Fund for Strategic Investment after chancellor George Osborne announced a partnership with the EIB.

While previous EIB funding has been targeted at major infrastructure projects, the new fund will also be used to leverage private finance for SMEs. The bank said it could help to mobilise up to €315bn in private investment across Europe.

The fund could address a longstanding financing problem for SMEs.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “This can only be good news; access to finance for SMEs is a massive issue.

“Anything that helps get finance moving into SMEs is great; finance is the oxygen of the sector.”

A survey carried out by the Federation of Master Builders found 56 per cent of its members said access to finance was one of the biggest issues they faced.

Mr Berry continued: “For years there have been problems with SMEs getting money from the banks and accessing overdraft facilities, much of this down to the fact that construction is considered a dangerous industry to invest in by banks.

“This is particularly felt in the housing sector. During the recession, the industry was deemed to be high-risk and despite having good credit records, we lost lots of good small-house builders.”

The EIB’s UK head James Whittall told Construction News: “Local construction firms are benefitting from a range of EIB-backed schemes, including new social housing, projects such as Crossrail, and new hospitals and schools being built around the country

“The new EFSI initiative will include dedicated support to improve access to finance by small businesses through a range of local partners.”

Construction SMEs will also be boosted by the news that the British Business Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the EIB, which will see the lenders collaborate to support SMEs.

Since it began in November 2014, the British Business Bank has already seen 1,057 smaller construction businesses benefit from nearly £102.9m worth of funding through its loan programmes.