How BIM is changing the Built Environment sector

Building Information Modelling (BIM) can be seen as one of the cornerstones of the ‘digital revolution’ of the built environment sector. The basic idea behind BIM is that by working collaboratively using digital technology, all elements of the supply chain can drive efficiency, reduce mistakes and ultimately save money.

In the UK, the government has prioritized BIM as a method to drive productivity.  The potential rewards of this strategy are huge with BIM contributing to  15-20% cost savings at the CapEx stage according to a recent government report, with greater savings anticipated further down the line from handover and beyond. If construction companies in UK can embrace BIM and become more efficient and sustainable, this should also allow them to win a larger share of the global construction market- which is expected to grow by more than 70% by 2025.

BIM creates a common language for the entire supply and production chain. It brings together the components of a project, shares knowledge and increases transparency between all parties. This allows it to provide frameworks to manage costs, timescales and material quantities, ultimately driving efficiency.

Matt Crunden, Training and BIM Manager at Legrand, a global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures, says “From manufacturers to consultants and architects, and everyone in between, it is essential for us to understand how the built environment sector recognises and exchanges digital information. It is all about being able to work smarter and build more relationships across the industry to encourage collaboration.”

The UK Government is driving the pace of digital transformation. Since April 2016, it has been a condition of contract that organizations use BIM on all public projects. More recently, in July 2018, it revealed a new deal for construction, a £420m partnership between government and industry to transform the sector’s productivity through innovative technology and a more skilled workforce.

This deal commits to using digital technologies, including BIM and offsite construction techniques, across the sector. Particularly important is the decision to develop digital building designs for use in procurement for all projects and to work with the product and manufacturing sector to allow accurate, repeatable, machine-readable product information to be used across the sector.

It is not just the Government who are pushing for BIM, many others within the built environment have identified the benefits BIM can bring; it is increasingly being used by a wide range of organizations across the industry to deliver private projects.

Whilst the UK can be seen as one of the leaders in the BIM industry, it is a global phenomenon. Digital transformation is taking place throughout global markets including the US, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Australasia.

One particular sector of the built environment undergoing its own specific BIM journey is construction product manufacturing. We have seen a number of early adopters recognising that how their customers were asking for product data was changing, and seizing this opportunity to drive differentiation and respond to the UK Government condition of contract. This ability to horizon scan is important for any organization looking to build long-term resilience by identifying and responding to market opportunities, combining digital solutions with client needs.

Many manufacturers are now starting to interact with their specifiers in a different way - they are producing digital copies of their products. With these ‘digital twins’, specifiers are able to select accurate rather than generic product data early on, giving manufacturers the best opportunity to supply into the project when it gets underway and to secure long-term contracts for resupply, depending on the nature of the product.


BIM is enabling the supply chain to collaborate more and receive mutual benefits. Anyone from architects to manufacturers can benefit if they embrace BIM and use it to its full potential.


To find out more, read our whitepaper ‘BIM: a ‘must’ for Manufacturers’: