The BIM4SME group was launched yesterday at The Building Centre in London to a packed auditorium containing a broad cross section of built environment SMEs including consultants, contractors, specialists, suppliers and manufacturers. A very full programme of presentations was delivered with the aim of showing in clear and straightforward terms how BIM can benefit SMEs, dispelling misconceptions and encouraging engagement.
Tim Platts, Chair of the new BIM4SME group started proceedings by welcoming delegates to the group and speaking passionately about his conviction that BIM is not only necessary but essential, both to ensure the continued health of the industry, and to deliver the value that has been talked about since Latham and Egan. His introduction was followed by David Philp, Head of BIM Implementation at the Cabinet Office, on the need for industry to prepare, and by Mark Stodgell, Head of IT & BIM, Pozzoni Architects on the purpose of BIM4SME and the many and various resources available to help facilitate BIM adoption.
The morning moved on with presentations by a range of SMEs including architect David Miller, who offered a consultant’s perspective and showed how BIM has given his practice competitive advantage and provided growth through efficiencies and consistency of output; main contractors Gemma Lennon of NU Construction (micro SME) and Richard Heaton of Alex Read Construction (medium SME) who spoke about lessons learnt and the need to commit to BIM and to start talking to supply chains and working collaboratively; Janet Becket of Carbon Saver UK and a member of CIBSE, talked about understanding the role of SMEs in the process and the importance of starting ‘the journey’; Karen Dawes , National Federation of Builders Training (NFBT), presented research data and spoke of the need for the industry to embrace training, current and future availability and where to go to get it; and finally Craig Sewell of Cubicle Centre representing manufacturers, highlighted what to consider as a supplier and how BIM has transformed Cubicle Centre’s sales and marketing operations.
Tim Cole of Building Technologies Alliance addressed the emotive question of cost, while Adrian Shilliday, CIC BIM Champion for Scotland, spoke about how BIM4SME and BIM Regional Hubs will help, support and guide the SME community and deliver a route map leading to BIM compliance.
Following the event Cabinet Office Minster Chloë Smith said: “The BIM4SME group provides an important voice for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are looking to develop and use digital technologies. We know BIM is a great leveller and can help SMEs compete with much bigger organisations. It’s proving a catalyst for growth for the SME community, helping them to move into new and bigger markets by unlocking new, more efficient ways of working. The UK is fast becoming a world leader in BIM, and as every central government construction project will be BIM-enabled by 2016, innovative SMEs will be amongst the trailblazers to help the industry to maintain its position and stimulate growth, both here and abroad.”