How can Australia ensure BIM is part of our future?


There is no doubt that building information modelling (BIM) is becoming an important part of many industries, including construction, project management and engineering. However, the issue with any trend in its infancy is that if enough parties don't have the interest or skills to adopt it, the concept can soon fall by the wayside.

While the BIM industry in Australia is a long way away from this issue, it does illustrate the importance of business leaders, stakeholders and governments ensuring that BIM is a part of this nation's future.

In this article, we will discuss a number of the key global issues around BIM and how Australia can ensure this process is accepted, respected and adopted moving forward.

BIM skill gaps

As BIM takes a more technological approach to core planning, designing and construction principles, it is critical that many industries have professionals who are confident in interacting with innovation.

In fact, according to a recently released survey of 300 industry professionals from the UK severe skill shortages in the BIM field. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents noted that the UK needs to do more to "promote construction's hi-tech and digital aspects."

BRE Academy Director Pauline Traetto explained that improving the scope of BIM and wider technology skills in the construction industry is vital.

"Only by grappling with the skills shortage highlighted in this report in areas like sustainability and digital design will the industry be able to deliver a low carbon, high-performance future," she said.

In Australia, this issue is also worth consideration. Based on the McGraw Hill Construction report titled How Building Information Modeling is Transforming the Design and Construction Industry, Australia and New Zealand had one of the highest amount (26 per cent) of contractors deemed to be at the beginner level - more than the United States, Canada, Brazil and Japan.

Additionally, apart from France, Australia and New Zealand had the lowest percentage of contractors with expert BIM knowledge.
Of course, one of the only ways that BIM will grow in prominence in this region is through training and development. At Redstack, we pride ourselves in providing various BIM training and BIM courses to improve individual skill sets.

Government mandates

For a concept such as BIM to have a significant impact on industries such as construction, government intervention is sometimes required. Singapore is a great example of a country which government mandated BIM projects. As a result, adoption rates are among the highest around the world.

Singapore is well-known across the globe for its infrastructure. In a short space of time, the country's standard of living has soared, thanks in part to government mandated BIM projects.

According to a 2010 document from The Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the government planned to have 80 per cent of the construction industry using BIM by 2015. By all accounts, Singapore was on track to beat this mark.

In fact, Singapore is using government-led BIM projects to improve productivity in the construction industry by as much as 25 per cent.

Down under, mandating BIM on government projects is still at the discussion point. Importantly, the conversation is progressing, thanks to the efforts of bodies such as the Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors' Association.

As reported in a September 24 article from Sourceable, the association made a submission in response to Victoria's Future Industries Construction Technologies Discussion Paper.

"Government is uniquely placed to facilitate the creation of industry standards by providing funding, endorsement, coordination services and industry leadership," the report read, as cited by Sourceable.

"Agreed industry standards will lower the costs of transition to BIM-enabled project delivery and promote more efficient and competitive markets."

As the government can influence the behaviour of the construction industry, Australia's BIM future could be enhanced if a mandate is established.

Lack of client demand for BIM

Of course, as well as skills and government mandates, another issue that the BIM community will need to overcome is a lack of client demand. According to a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors survey, close to half (46 per cent) of respondents noted poor client demand as a major barrier to adopting BIM.

Director of Built Environment Professional groups at the RICS Alan Muse explained that BIM-able companies and clients sharing BIM information is key.

"It is particularly important that we look to address the cultural shift identified by almost a quarter of respondents as being fundamental to creating a BIM future," he said.

"Education will be critical to initiating the cyclical change needed here - leading to increased practical implementation of BIM, greater recognition of the benefits it can bring, and ultimately heightened demand for its usage."

Working with Redstack

As a supporter of BIM, we at Redstack have the tools, knowledge and insight to ensure BIM implementation goes off without a hitch.
Learn more about Building Information Modeling at our BIM website:

Contact us today for further assistance with implementing BIM at your organisation.

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