BIM: Opportunity or requirement?

Building information modelling (BIM) is coming and it’s here to stay. The question on the lips of many people is ‘is this going to help my business or is this more red tape?’. BIM is a process that uses three-dimensional digital modelling and intelligent data with the intention of increasing collaboration between companies throughout different levels of the supply chain.


BIM Level 2: A requirement

Let’s get straight to the point; the UK Government’s condition of contract requires construction companies to demonstrate BIM Level 2 capability. This means anyone from a designer to a manufacturer to a large infrastructure builder must show they can work within BIM Level 2.

Whilst it’s a legal requirement also for manufacturers who supply public projects, you could also argue that forward thinking manufacturers see it as an essential strategy to avoid being left behind. Through BIM, specifiers are now interacting with their supply chain in a different way providing new digital routes to market. This offers manufacturers the potential for earlier client engagement and commercial opportunities.  

It does require collaboration between manufacturers/construction companies with their specifiers to make sure BIM is being used in the same way, otherwise the benefits from it won’t be as utilised which is where the BIM Level 2 standards play a key role in ensuring consistency across the supply chain.

BIM: An opportunity

BIM, whilst being required by the UK government along with some other Tier 1 contractors and organizations, should not be considered a negative.

There are several significant benefits that adopting BIM can bring to an organization. The purpose of BIM is that it provides a set of processes and standards for collaborative management and information flow. By allowing the entire supply chain to communicate and coordinate, problems can be avoided throughout the supply chain, which can ultimate increase efficiency.

This increased efficiency saves not only time, but also cost, whilst reducing waste and uncertainty. By having accurate information available instantly to those who require it, it reduces the likelihood of mistakes. With BIM, you can detect and correct errors before they happen as it acts as a form of live simulator.

Many manufacturers are now producing ‘digital twins’ of their products alongside the physical product to enable their products to be incorporated into BIM. With the Kitemark, manufacturers are now able to demonstrate the accuracy of their products and prove this to other organizations throughout the supply chain. Providing BIM content to specifiers in the right format can help manufacturers become the preferred supplier. Visibility of manufacturer content within BIM models can also help to raise brand awareness and future engagement with FM providers.

According to a recent Government construction strategy report, if implemented properly, BIM should represent a 15-20% cost saving. With the UK construction industry suffering a productivity problem, the UK Government clearly see BIM as an opportunity to improve in this regard, hence a recent £420 million partnership between government and industry.

BIM Objects provide a great number of opportunities for manufacturers and customers alike. Matt Crunden from Legrand (the first manufacturer in their industry sector to achieve the BSI Kitemark for BIM Objects) suggests that BIM objects provide reassurance to customers of the accuracy of the product before they use it. This not only improves the reliability of the design but also reduces costs and time involved with returning and replacing products.

Additionally, he highlights that having BIM objects has driven up sales through enabling high visibility as well as increased levels of trust between themselves and their customers.

The UK has been leading the way in the development of the BIM standards, and in so doing is helping to forge a route to market for those companies looking for a competitive edge internationally and in the UK. Both Legrand and Wavin mentioned earlier credit BIM for providing them with a competitive advantage.


Ultimately, whilst you can see BIM as something required by specifiers, but you would be naïve to ignore the benefits that BIM ultimately brings. What’s truly remarkable and game changing about using BIM is that it encourages collaborative working. Companies at any point along the supply chain can drive efficiency, save cost and reduce mistakes by incorporating BIM into their work processes.


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