How closer unity can open up big opportunities for BIM
The BIM community took one step closer together this month with the launch of the Global BIM Network on 17th March. The Network will bring governments and industry together, promoting the use of BIM to help create better, more resilient infrastructure in a more sustainable and climate-friendly way.
For BIM professionals, a stronger global BIM network should result in more career opportunities as the adoption of BIM is pushed internationally, with increased prospects for working on projects outside of their geographical area, and gaining expertise on large, complex ventures. With remote working on the rise and the need for countries to collaborate to reach climate change goals, it absolutely makes sense for the BIM industry to increase networking and sharing opportunities.
Bringing international policy makers together
The new Network draws together more than 2,000 public sector representatives and funders from around 100 countries, and aims to “connect international public sector representatives, multi-lateral organisations and infrastructure funders to advance the digitalisation of the global built environment.” By bringing policy makers together and through the sharing of knowledge and best practice, the Network hopes to improve outcomes for all aspects of construction and infrastructure.
There has long been frustration at the siloed nature of the construction industry. This generally leads to inefficiencies as everyone develops individually what is essentially needed by all. The Global BIM Network aims to connect members working on similar developments in different parts of the world with similar challenges, so that they can share insights, resources, project outcomes and lessons learned.
Alongside the Network is the on-going programme to develop the Global BIM Platform, an online repository of resources to support the roll-out of BIM worldwide, openly available to the public sector and funders of infrastructure.
The rise of remote working
Even before the global Covid-19 pandemic, the practice of hosting BIM models in the cloud and collaboration between teams online was increasing. This way of working can bring many benefits, including reduced IT costs, flexibility, improved knowledge and reporting, and security. The biggest benefit for BIM professionals is that geographical location is no longer a barrier. You can be working on Dubai-based project from your home in Dorset.
The events of 2020 have only accelerated this existing trend, with companies suddenly requiring employees to work remotely. While it is unlikely that the pandemic will completely render office life obsolete, it looks as though increased levels of remote working are here to stay.
With countries seeking to stimulate their economies after the pandemic, infrastructure is being turned to by many as a solution. There is also the need to reach global climate goals, which cannot be achieved without a concerted push across construction and infrastructure – and the vital contribution that BIM makes towards smarter and more efficient processes.
We’ve already seen that the UK is pushing major investment in its infrastructure over the next few years; the same is true across the globe. Global strategic consulting and market research firm Lucintel is forecasting recovery and growth in the BIM market from 2021. According to its recent study, the major drivers for these opportunities are “rapid urbanisation, growth in infrastructure projects, and increased adoption of BIM to plan, design, and manage building projects efficiently”.
BIM has been widely adopted across North America, while the Middle East is also seeing an increase in its use. BIM-based submissions are now mandatory in some areas – for example, the Dubai Municipality has made it a condition to use BIM in large construction projects.
It all paints a promising picture of a period of real growth and development for the BIM industry, as its benefits are promoted more widely, and ideas of best practice and processes are shared globally.