Let’s assume for this discussion you are aware of BIM (Building Information Modelling) and understand at a basic level its application and use within the construction industry.
This leads us to consider the lag in its uptake. Another article, To BIM or not to BIM, What a Question! by fellow Sourceable contributor Peter Barda addresses this well. He rightly suggests that industry has been pushing BIM adoption and application, yet this has been mainly in ‘vertical BIM’ (buildings,) whereas horizontal or ‘linear BIM’ (infrastructure,) for the most part, has been reluctant to adopt.
For infrastructure projects (and, inherently, the majority of its client base) one of the reasons for this reluctance is quite often the time to raise funds and procure via public bodies – local, state or federal. There are also hang-ups due to the current required contractual frameworks and the protracted delivery times of large infrastructure projects. Other challenges include a perceived lack of technical expertise; soft and hard implementation costs; a lack of industry standards. Ultimately, the reference made is that clients are unaware and industry has, thus far, done a poor job of communicating the benefits of the migration to BIM as a ‘better than current’ client outcome delivery method.
From an industry standpoint, it has not been for the lack of effort, mainly by industry professionals such as BuildingSMART and collaborate-anz offering their own time to introduce and promote BIM across all sectors. These groups and the myriad of BIM user groups and vendor specific user groups have been championing the push for adoption across the Asia Pacific region. The momentum they have built has prompted governments to provide a level of guidance and investment to realise a consistent asset focused BIM process.
The year 2015 sees the creation of the Global Infrastructure Hub based in Sydney as a result of the G20 meetings in 2014. There is the recognition that countries in the Asia Pacific region are forecast to spend $700 billion a year over the next three decades on infrastructure. Both Australia’s and New Zealand’s governments have broad programmes of infrastructure spending from aviation, roads, rail and other infrastructure projects ahead. Acknowledging these drivers, coupled with the lessons learned from the successful adoption of BIM in other parts of the world such as Scandinavia, the UK and Americas, as well as several rail projects in Australia, we now see ourselves at the foot of the BIM for infrastructure climb. It’s been a large wheel to get turning but it’s now gathering momentum and will see greater understanding by client organisations and, therefore, increased tangible savings based on productivity.
I see a bright future in BIM for infrastructure over the coming years and personally welcome the challenges we face as an industry in adopting common robust methodologies which provide both productivity gains for companies plus sustainable outcomes for infrastructure client organisations and their clients, the public.