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By Grant Prior from the Construction Enquirer 03-11-15

More than half of small contractors are not ready for the introduction of BIM Level 2 and face being frozen out of Government contracts

A recent survey by the Electrical Contractors’ Association found that 54% of firms with a turnover of less than £1m are ‘not ready at all’ for Building Information Modelling.

Around 30% with earnings of between £1m and £20m were in the same position.

The picture for larger building services contractors is very different with the government deadline for the mandatory use of BIM Level 2 in all Whitehall-procured contracts looming.

The survey found that only 11% of the largest firms (turnover over £20 million) said they are not at all ready for BIM.

The survey also found –

  • Only 1 in 3 contractors (34%) with turnover below £1m have a ‘BIM champion’, compared to almost 3 out of 4 firms (72%) with turnover above £20m.
  • 8 out of 10 firms (80%) with turnover below £1m do not have a ‘BIM planning group’, compared to just 1 in 3 larger contractors (36%), with turnover above £20m.
  • Only 1 in 4 small firms said there is enough ‘practically useful and publically available’ information on BIM, compared to over half of larger companies (54%).
  • Almost 7 in 10 of all respondents (69%) said they do not have a suitable BIM management process in place yet.

ECA Director of Business Services Paul Reeve said: “Our survey shows that the majority of building services SMEs are not ready for BIM and could find themselves effectively frozen out from central government contracts.

“The ECA has developed a four-point action plan to help building services firms prepare for BIM Level 2, and we will be working with our industry partners to drive this plan forward.”

The ECA’s four-point action plan will see:

  • A ‘BIM readiness checklist’ will be released shortly, to help firms identify the necessary steps to ensure they are prepared for BIM Level 2.         
  • A ‘BIM jargon buster’ will also be made freely available, to help firms navigate through the maze of BIM terminology and acronyms and work out what BIM means.        
  • Case studies will be developed to broaden the understanding of what it takes to engage with a BIM project.      
  • Finally, the ECA will work with partners over a range of awareness, training and deployment issues, including efforts to develop a common approach towards the use of ‘BIM objects’.