HS2 contractors may need to complete work in BIM as well as on the railway before being paid, a key figure has warned.
Beth West, commercial director at project promoter HS2, said building information modelling was at the heart of delivering the £43bn line.
Her comments came after research showed few sub-contractors regularly used Level 2 BIM, which relies on a common data environment being maintained by the supply chain.
“BIM is really critical to delivering this railway,” West told a suppliers day in London.
“We are in the process of procuring some support to help with upskilling. We want to get ourselves set up to be able to manage BIM so we can reach the aspirations the government has for being Level 2 BIM by 2016.
“Do we want to say: ‘We are not going to pay you until your information is in BIM,’ which would solve a whole host of problems?”
West said it would be “crazy” not to use BIM on the scheme to create a quicker rail line between London and the North.
“We should know where the assets are, how they’re based and what’s going on with them so when we get to maintenance we can use technology to assess conditions rather than always doing site visits,” she said.
“We did the upskilling study because we were concerned from the conference last year and anecdotal information about whether the supply chain was going to be ready [for Level 2 BIM].
“We found that most Tier One contractors were talking about it in some way but further down the supply chain it was a rather mixed bag.”
West added that the client was considering stepping in to pay sub-contractors directly where necessary.
“We are discussing how we can ensure fair payment to small and medium sized suppliers,” she said.
“We are considering the possibility of direct payments to subcontractors where main contractors are failing to do so in the times we require.”