Building Information Modeling has been the AEC industry’s answer to optimize the streaming of information through the various building process, leading to an overall increase in efficiency.

Majority of the stakeholders are now transforming themselves from BIM level 1 to BIM level 2. The constant drive for improvement in the process and standards is fuelling this transformation. Strong systems and processes are in place, still we have some way to go in order to achieve 100 percent maturity in level 2 implementation. So at this point if you believe BIM level 3 is a long shot, you are not being a pessimist is all I can say.

BIM level 3 as its name would suggest is one up Level 2. It was mentioned in the UK government’s 2016 Budget report that they are planning to make Level 3 a mandate for the construction industry by the year 2025. Here it is important to note that the UK government was among the very first governments who supported the BIM movement and has played a vital role in developing BIM from its conceptual stage to what it is right now.

So what is this BIM Level 3 and what are its possibilities?

BIM Level 3 is seen an improvement to Level 2, which would enable real time working on a shared model by all the participating stakeholders. This means that there will be only one model which would be stored on a cloud or a similar technology and every stakeholder will have access to it and can modify it accordingly. Right now level 2 systems doesn’t have an integrated system to take advantage of the available BIM information, the contractors are not fully involved in the modeling process and are often left to digest the cost of rework.

BIM Level 3 approach promises unhindered data flow from start to finish resulting in end to end     efficiencies. In a Level 3 system, BIM data is not converted into files and emailed or sent through various file sharing sites as it is done in the case of a level 2 system. One interoperable model is built, stored in a centralized repository on the cloud, and is made accessible to all the participating stakeholders through web services. This single model will possess the data necessary for construction, fabrication and also facility management. As the single model will be accessible to the maintenance team even after construction of the building, it will be easy to schedule maintenance and repair works which will result in improving the lifecycle of the building.

BIM level 3 is in a nurturing stage, so we are not yet fully aware of the array of avenues it may open for the construction industry. But one thing is for sure, when it’s implemented it will bring about a disruptive change in the AEC industry.

The Roadblocks...

One of the major roadblocks is the slow implementation of the level 2 program. Many countries are yet to form a BIM policy of their own and are still holding on to the old narrative. Support from the government is crucial in terms of achieving improved BIM literacy.  Another major roadblock are software and other related technologies as they have to catch up with the idea of level 3. Contracts between project stakeholders also will have to undergo significant changes with a greater understanding of cyber and model security, data ownership and design liabilities.

The optimist in me believes that we shall overcome all this and the BIM level 3 environment will become a reality. There will be an increase in the availability of data which will accelerate the generation of data capturing applications, data analytics and services which will ensure a cheaper and better model in the limited time frame.

One thing is for sure only companies with a strong level 2 system will be able to undergo a smooth transition to level 3 while the others might find it difficult. So the question is, is your company level 3 ready?

Arun Sabu

Arun is a senior employee of BIMEX and he is heading up the Business Development activities @BIMEX. He is a Mechanical Engineering graduate with interests in blogging, gaming and coaching.

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