The construction industry took the first step this month toward a US BIM standard during an executive roundtable discussion hosted by the National Institute of Building Sciences. The 40 roundtable participants included executives from Autodesk, Bentley, WSP and HDR, as well as leaders from federal agencies like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration.
NIBS has already developed a national standard through a volunteer effort, but it has not evolved yet into a comprehensive standard like the one used in the United Kingdom. The new goal through a National BIM Program, according to NIBS, is “a solution at a national scale to enable digital process standards that will streamline business, accelerate the effectiveness of the supply chain, provide predictable processes, improve project outcomes, drive efficiency and foster innovation.”
NIBS told Construction Dive that it has not yet scheduled another roundtable session but that the participants will review the items discussed at the first session and then decide on the next steps.
One of the roundtable participants, Adam Matthews, head of the International Stream of the Centre for Digital Built Britain, said that the UK’s national BIM standard was born out of a desire to save money, drive better procurement practices and construction, not “just for the sake of technology.” The standard, he said has led to a 33% reduction in costs and 50% faster project delivery.
The U.K. implemented a Level 2 BIM mandate in 2016. Architects, engineers and material vendors working on public projects are all required to communicate via common file formats like Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) or Industry Foundation Class (IFC).
Andrew Friendly, Autodesk’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, told Construction Dive that the U.K. wrote the playbook for a successful BIM standard and that the involvement of federal agencies in these discussions demonstrate the value of BIM and how important it is to digitize buildings and infrastructure. Congress and President Joe Biden’s administration, he said, could help the process along.
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