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HS2 'confident' over BIM requirements despite mixed picture

Project promoter HS2 has declared its confidence that suppliers will be ready for the £43bn rail scheme’s data management requirements despite the mixed results of a poll.

The organisation said it would press on with plans to require Level 2 building information modelling (BIM) from suppliers, despite its research showing that few sub-contractors regularly used the technology.

Level 2 BIM – which is centred on the creation and use of a common data environment throughout the supply chain – is to be used on all government projects by the time of next year’s election.

Although more than half of suppliers surveyed by HS2 recently had experience of the system, many of these were only from work on major projects, and most were tier one contractors.

Jon Kerbey, head of management systems at HS2, said suppliers would be aided to reach the standards required.

“We will help suppliers upskill to the right level,” he said. “We have a BIM presence at conferences, and we are more than happy to speak to people about what they need to do.

“The feedback has been that we need to be clear about what is required and put guidance out, and that is what we are doing.”

Using Level 2 BIM will reduce the cost of building, operating and maintaining the rapid rail link from London to the North by ensuring data can be used by all parties in the process without conversion, said Kerbey.

His latest comments come after he said last week that it was important for engineers to maintain a digital focus while preparing in earnest for HS2.

HS2: BIM facts

The evidence captured, both quantitative and anecdotal, indicates that overall there is an ever increasing awareness and implementation of BIM within the UK supply chain. Key data from the study shows:

  • 94% of the supply chain already use BIM;
  • 60% have a BIM strategy with defined goals;
  • 71% make financial provision for BIM;
  • 60% work to a BIM standard as part of their QA process.

Positively the study found that over 50% of the supply-chain has some degree of experience within Level 2 BIM maturity, although further research found this applies to major projects as opposed to an overall organisational position.  Tier 1 organisations were the most evolved whereas tiers 2 and 3, with the exception of a few early adopters, were constrained within levels 0-1.  

Readers' comments (2)

  • As long as they are willing to pay for that "upskilling", there's no issue...

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  • stephen gibson

    Given the lack of choice in the matter, its a surprise that 6% of the supply chain owned up to the fact that they don't use BIM.

    The fundamental problem is that BIM is designed for complex and constrained buildings not railways across miles.

    One can have a "digital focus" and pioneer the latest IT techniques without BIM. The idea that BIM is always correct by default, is completely wrong.

    The greatest procurement failure with HS2, is the effective prevention of small and micro engineering consultants and contractors, especially those which are based in the locality of the actual route.

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