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Building Information Modelling (BIM) Standards
Level 1 & 2

We use BIM to “Promote Collaboration, Increase Productivity, Support Partnering and Gain Insight”

The Government Construction Strategy was published by the Cabinet Office on 31 May 2011.  The report announced the Government’s intention to require:  collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) on its projects by 2016.

Essentially the UK Government has embarked with industry on a four-year programme for sector modernisation with the key objective of:  reducing capital cost and the carbon burden from the construction and operation of the built environment by 20%.  Central to these ambitions is the adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technologies, process and collaborative behaviours that will unlock new more efficient ways of working at all stages of the project life-cycle.

We have been developing our knowledge of BIM and how this can be used to model integrated alongside procurement two stage tendering methods plans for designs such as structural, architectural and mechanical and electrical as well as planning work sequencing and the integration of the supply chain to manage risk and offer certainty over project objectives at an earlier stage within the process.

Please select to learn more about Building Information Modelling and our approach to delivering projects to a BIM Level 2 maturity.

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 do    journey    info


What is BIM anyway?

Using Efficient and Collaborative Processes to Share Information and Ultimately Delivery Value for Money

The answer to the question “What is BIM?” is an interesting one, and may change slightly depending on who you ask.  It is worth noting first of all that BIM is not something that comes out of a box, and is not a piece of software.

Simply put, BIM is a way of working that is both efficient and collaborative, not only at the construction phase, but right through inception to demolition.

By sharing an information rich model with all parties involved, and involving the supply chain at an early stage, BIM aims to draw on the information and experience from all parties involved to produce an asset that works for the end user, and that is value for money for the client.

There are different levels of BIM shown on the BIM maturity ramp (AKA, ‘the BIM wedge’) and it is BIM level 2 that we are all working towards at the moment.  PAS1192/2 defines BIM level 2 as ‘file based collaboration and library management’ and can be achieved by a series of processes and tools.

The BIM Task Group defines BIM as a series of domain specific models (e.g. architectural, structural, services etc.) with the provision of a single environment to store shared data and information, in our case COBie UK 2012.

Why is BIM important?

We need to change to improve the performance of the Construction Industry

The Government Construction Strategy was published by the Cabinet Office on 31 May 2011.  The report announced the Government’s intention to require collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) on its projects by 2016.

From 2016, all local authority schemes will be developed using BIM, and in order for us to procure new contracts through our frameworks and from the local authority, we must evidence that we have the ability to comply with the requirements of BIM.

We value the clients that we work with and we need to grow our BIM maturity to be seen as a leader in implementing BIM effectively on contracts.

BIM-enabled working allows this information to be shared by different project participants and also between different stages of design, construction and operation.

For us, during the construction phase of a project, BIM allows us to identify and fix any clashes that would otherwise only be discovered on site, it allows us to perform very fast quantity take off’s and product programming information.  It also means that all members of the construction team are working as a ‘team’ and not against each other ensuring that everyone has instant access to the most up-to-date information.

Most importantly, BIM has the potential to allow information about the use of the building to be collated and held in formats useable by the operators of facilities, enabling buildings and other assets to be used and maintained efficiently.

What are the benefits of BIM?

Can the construction industry improve?

There are many potential benefits of working in a collaborative and inclusive BIM manner, and this is something that is mostly agreed by all parties.  The benefits of using BIM change depending on who you are and what your position is within the supply chain, but there are benefits for everyone.

Estate Visibility

In the long term, BIM enables better decision making as all the necessary information required to make a decision is available at our fingertips.

Stakeholder Engagement

The 3D BIM model itself can be used to manage the client’s expectations and will allow the client to make better decisions earlier in the design stage.  The model offers a visual aid to clearly see what the end product will look like.

Health and Safety

BIM enables site specific hazards to be identified at an early stage and allows architects to design out the risks at the computer screen that than retrospectively on site.  We as a principal contractor will have a better understanding of the onsite problems and this in turn allows a fluid Robert Higgins regime to be created at an early stage.

Environmental Impact

The 3D BIM model can be used to perform thermal and energy modelling during the design stage.  Suitable energy and sustainability solutions can then be identified at the computer screen before the project even goes out to tender.  We can also use the model to order the right materials, in the right quantities at the right time, thus reducing waste, and reducing the risk of over-ordering or damaging materials on site.


BIM allows design and construction issues to be dealt with at an early stage, reducing the risk of retrospective decision making and allows us to build it right first time.  The client is also more likely to be satisfied with the end product as they will have already seen the end product in a virtual environment.

Value for Money

By ‘building it twice’, once on the computer screen, and once on site, means that RFI’s and Variations can be minimised.  A reduction in waste processes also means increased value.  Ask yourself, could the effectiveness of the construction process be improved?  The Government Construction Strategy sets a target of 33% lower costs from Inception to Handover.

Information Sharing

The information collated from the design team and the supply chain that results from a BIM process becomes shared knowledge during a construction project.  The BIM process supports design decisions and allows visualisation and discussions with the client and other members of the supply chain.  What’s more, all the information is stored in a single place meaning that relevant and up-to-date information is readily available.

Facilities Management

PAS 1192-3 deals very specifically with the organisation and management of the information relating to a building during its operational life.  This, along with Government Soft Landings (GSL) allows the facilities management team to operate a building effectively.  Furthermore, all the information required for operation, maintenance and servicing is organised and stored in structured manner.

Faster Project Delivery

The Government Construction Strategy has set a target of 50% faster delivery of construction projects from inception to handover.  This can be achieved by adopting the principals of ‘Lean’ to make processes and programming more efficient.

What do I need to do?

The time to start thinking about BIM is now!

Most professionals involved in the construction industry are now familiar, or have heard of BIM, but it not then the first step is to take some time to look at the Government’s BIM Task Group website.

Raising awareness of the BIM programme with our supply chain is one of our main objectives, and this webpage is just one tool we have used to spread the word.

Please complete supplier’s questionnaire assessment that we use to evaluate our supply chains willingness to change, understanding, capability and experiences.

BIM Journey so far

Software is only 20% of the story, we have adapted our processes to work in a lean and collaborative environment

This is where we are at on our BIM Journey

Since the beginning of 2013 and into 2014, we are working hard to establish ourselves as a BIM level 2 mature company.  Already we are engaging with our in-house team; clients; and supply chain to ensure our BIM targets are met well before the Government’s 2016 deadline.

Robert Higgins City Construction is to be accepted onto the CITB backed National Federation of Builders BIM Exemplar Programme, and this is something we are working on at the moment.

In January of this year we hosted a ‘demystifying BIM’ event where members of our Client Base and Supply Chain were invited to attend a Seminar and Networking event.  This was a huge success.

More recently we have changed the way we manage our tender enquiry interactions with our supply chain by using a bespoke common data environment that allows everyone to have instant access to relevant and up-to-date information.  See more about Robert Higgins Online Portal here.

The image featured on this page shows the process map produced by our management team to identify non-value adding and waste activities in our processes.  This will also be used to determine where and when our processes will interact with the BIM model and show where data drops will occur.

We will shortly be applying BIM processes on an upcoming contract that we intend to use as a pilot project, where we will get a hands-on experience of working within a BIM environment and more importantly, improve from lessons learnt.

Useful Information
Let us point you in the right direction

Useful Websites

BSRIA Services –

BRE Task Force –

The BIM Task Group –

National Association Construction Frameworks –

The IESE South East and London Framework –

Useful Literature

PAS 1192-2 – Specification for information management for the capital delivery phase of the construction projects using Building Information Modelling

PAS 1192-3 – Specification for information management for the operational phase of assets using Building Information Modelling

Construction 2025 – The Government Industry Strategy for Construction

Government Soft Landings – Champion better outcomes for built assets during the design and construction phase

Robert Higgins Information Modelling Online Enquiry Portal

Information Sharing Solutions

Information and Data is fundamental to the success of a buildings life-cycle, the information that is produced and collated through Building Information Modelling (BIM), must be easily accessible, open and available for those working on it through its life-cycles.

Since the beginning of this year we have introduced, and will be operating an online portal for sending and receiving tender enquiry information to our supply chain.  The enquiry system ‘Robert Higgins online’ is bespoke to Robert Higgins and has been created as part of our ‘BIM’ strategy to reduce waste process and promote collaboration.

The online portal has been designed to bring information together from diverse sources making information sharing as easy as possible.

The Project Team of Robert Higgins have been using this system since the beginning of this year for all tender enquiries and are now making steps to use this tool.  This allows the company to operate as a whole rather than two separate teams.

The online portal allows our supply chain to download documents, raise queries, upload quotations and view tender specific information.  A user name and password is required to allow users to log in, ensuring the site is secure.

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