What happens now that BIM’s gone global?


The first two significant international Building Information Modelling (BIM) Standards are being published in January 2019. In response, this blog post outlines what they cover and what they mean for the UK and global construction industry.

In 2011, a UK Government document [1] crystallized the benefits of building information modelling and pushed for the UK construction sector to adopt it widely. The belief was that BIM could reduce construction costs by up to 25 per cent.

To accelerate its adoption, the government then mandated the use of BIM Level 2 as a condition of future public sector contracts. It also asked BSI to produce standards to help. This resulted in a suite of UK BIM standards which formulated the process and enabled early adoption across the entire UK construction and asset management sector.

From the outset it was recognized that BIM is a game-changing way of working in construction and that BIM technologies and processes transcend national boundaries. The UK led the way in developing BIM. Now the move to internationalize is part of a strategy to share our experiences and knowledge globally.

Consequently BSI is about to publish the first two significant international standards for BIM. These are:

BS EN ISO 19650-1: Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling -- Information management using building information modelling: Concepts and principles

BS EN ISO 19650-2: Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling -- Information management using building information modelling: Delivery phase of the assets.

These two standards supersede the current BS 1192:2007+A2:2016 on principles, and PAS 1192-2:2013 on the capital delivery phrase.

Managing the transition

It’s worth noting that the ISO development process that produced these two new standards was led by UK experts and a UK Convenor. The ISO standards are a UK initiative and are based on the existing UK standards.

Part 1 – dealing with concepts and principles – recommends a framework for managing information which includes exchanging, recording, versioning and organizing it for all parties. It applies to the whole lifecycle of a built asset, including strategic planning, initial design, engineering, development, documentation and construction, day-to-day operation, maintenance, refurbishment, repair and end-of-life.

Part 2 details a management process for information exchange using BIM during the delivery phase of an asset. It applies to all types of assets and is for use by all types and sizes of organization.

The differences between the ISOs and the UK standards are not major. The ISOs follow a simpler and higher level structure. Also, roles are called “functions” – this should help avoid the often held view that new job titles and team members are required to implement BIM, which was never intended to be the case.

However the UK construction industry will have to adjust some processes. To help, we’ve prepared transitional guidance in PD 19650-0:2019. In addition, BS EN ISO 19650-1 includes a National Foreword which explains the new terminology and BS EN ISO 19650-2 includes a National Annex to align the ISO standard’s requirements with BIM Level 2 in the UK.

Taken together these publications will close the gap between the UK standards and the ISOs, providing a way to navigate and implement BIM Level 2 using the new suite of documents.

What does it mean for the UK construction industry?

BSI wishes to emphasize that these new ISO standards are good news for the UK construction sector. They help remove barriers to collaborative working and competitive tendering across borders, they lay the foundations for a level playing field for international markets, and they foster trade. Moreover, because they’re the result of a UK initiative and are based on UK practice, they should give UK practitioners a first-mover advantage.

In addition, the fact that the UK was a leading exponent in their development will be important to our international project design and delivery activities going forward as the UK enters new global trading arrangements. 

We saw that during the development process there was a great deal of interest in standards from Europe (the ISOs being adopted as a European standard) and also from Japan and Australia.

So, on the eve of the publication of these new international standards there’s every indication that BIM will be adopted widely, and that the UK construction industry will see benefits from having gotten in on the ground floor of BIM’s development.

BSI will be hosting an online webinar on Wednesday 23rd January at 12pm and a launch event at the ICE on 31st January, and a BIM event in Belfast on 13th February where there will be an emphasis on the new BS EN ISO 19650 standards. 

For more information on the new BIM standards, visit our website.

Learn more about BS EN ISO 19650 Parts 1 &2 and PD 19650-0:2019, or buy now

[1] the Report for the Government Construction Client Group