BIM Manager of consulting engineers BSD Ellie Hayes talks to the BRE team about the UK-wide company’s recently awarded BRE BIM Business Systems Certification which demonstrates a company’s compliance with the requirements of BIM Level 2. She explains how BSD and its clients stand to benefit.
1. How long have you been using BIM in your projects and what have been the main challenges so far?
We’ve been using BIM since 2010 and it’s made a real difference to our work. We found the implementation process to be a steep learning curve, but our team has risen to the challenge. Firstly, we were able to make significant investment in training and robust hardware to ensure that our staff are well supported. We also set up a BSD BIM steering team and mapped out the implementation plan for the business, sought good quality training in the Autodesk design suite software and coupled this with invaluable site experience. As the BIM workflow requires far more understanding and co-ordination of services, our approach was to always provide on-site exposure to all of our Revit technicians.
We found that recruitment of Revit technicians became increasingly difficult as the market for well trained individuals became very competitive. So we changed our strategy and trained our existing staff, while also hiring apprentices that we could train to become key BIM team members.
Any implementation of new technology comes with associated cost and the initial cost of software, hardware and training was a significant commitment for us. The first few projects were a challenge, while we discovered efficiencies and at the same time maintained quality and learning.
2. BIM Level 2 is government-driven, but are you embracing BIM as a business opportunity?
Absolutely, we see it as an opportunity to work in a collaborative manner with the project team – delivering a data rich model for use for future management of the building facilities. We recognise the benefits of being able to use BIM as a co-ordination tool in the early stages of a project. This helps us to identify pinch points within the building and develop solutions before the project gets on site.
In our view, BIM has revolutionised building design and we’ve been quick to invest in the appropriate skills and technology to make sure our clients gain maximum advantage. We’re always keen to deliver quality and the addition of BIM to our existing portfolio of services is a very positive one.
3. Why have you sought BIM certification?
We’re confident in our ability to meet BIM Level 2 requirements – and certification was a logical way for us to be able to demonstrate that ability and underline our commitment to the principles behind BIM.
4. What has BRE certificated? (summary of what the scheme looks at)
The BRE certification process looked at compliance to the PAS 1192 & PAS 91. We were also required to demonstrate our ability to complete a BIM capability assessment. In addition, our overall BIM skills and training processes were reviewed – at BSD, we undertake a combination of structured external training courses and in-house bespoke training to suit our users’ needs. The IT structures that we have in place were also assessed along with our strategies in the event of a disaster.
5. What was the approach to certification and how did you find the process?
Firstly, we reviewed the application form and our processes, ensuring that they were in line with the PAS 1192. We were confident in our abilities because we’ve been delivering BIM projects for quite some time, but we were also open to any opportunities to tweak our processes if there were benefits to be achieved.
As the audit process developed, it was clear that we were in a very good position and were pleased to achieve the certification at the end of the process. The BRE auditor was professional, knowledgeable and experienced, and we were able to build a good business relationship during the on-site audit.
6. In what way was the process especially valuable, for example, what did you learn from it?
The audit process not only looked at our BIM capabilities, but it also reviewed areas such as business continuity and back up procedure. Our IT and disaster recovery team were able to develop and test our disaster recovery strategy and make improvements to this process.
7. What other benefits do you see from being certified?
As our industry evolves and recognises BIM certification more widely, we expect to see an improvement in our tendering processes. As the certification is reviewed regularly, we’ll continue to ensure we’re achieving at a high level and will look for opportunities to improve the service that we deliver.
8. How have your existing clients responded to your certification and do you see it as an important aspect of winning new work?
Ultimately, we anticipate that certification will lead directly to increased business and give all our clients – new and existing – the confidence that we are working to the latest standards. We look forward to winning more work on leading BIM technology projects.
9. Would you recommend Certification through BRE?
Yes, I would recommend it. To those starting out on their BIM journeys, BRE certification is an excellent goal to aim for. The training courses that the BRE Academy offer will provide guidance on where and how to start, including the standard documents to follow.
We’re mechanical and electrical (M&E) engineers who work hard across a range of sectors to support architects, specifiers, designers and construction teams in bringing great projects to life. In essence, we’re the people who strive behind the scenes, making sure that the ideas and plans created by our clients come to fruition for their clients.
We live and breathe M&E, particularly how it contributes to sustainability and renewables, which are transforming our industry. That passion is what gets us out of bed in the mornings and drives the adrenaline that keeps us going through long days in the office or on site. We love the varied challenges of M&E and see every project as an opportunity to work that little bit smarter for our clients.
Without being immodest, our approach has helped us create a reputation for innovation with practicality. Over the years, we’ve proved our value to a wide spectrum of clients. Founded in 1991, we’ve grown rapidly to become one of the UK’s top 30 M&E consultancies and now employ more than 80 people in six strategically located offices.
BRE BIM Business Systems Certification: Helping you prove to your clients that you have the capability to deliver the Government’s BIM Level 2 requirements
The BRE BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification scheme assesses a business, based at a single location relating to the BIM policy and capability as defined within PAS 1192-2:2013 and PAS 91 as well as assessing the ability of the business to meet the requirements of an employer to carry out a BIM capability assessment.
The scheme has been designed to enable certificated businesses to demonstrate compliance with the PAS91-2013 section 4.2 so that as a BIM Certificated company you will not have to provide evidence of competence each time you undertake a tender. The benefit of the scheme means that as well as speeding up the tendering process, certification saves businesses the time and costs involved in responding to ever-varying tender questions, and for those issuing tenders, having a BRE BIM-certified business in the running removes the need to check replies or employ someone to do it for them.