BIM usage could soon become a required part of large-scale government-funded infrastructure initiatives following the release of a parliamentary committee report on smart ICT technology that advocates mandatory adoption.

A parliamentary committee has come out in favour of the adoption of BIM for all major infrastructure projects involving government funding with a view to making the technology an mandatory part of procurement standards in future.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities’ Smart ICT Report on the inquiry into the role of smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure contains strong recommendations on making BIM mandatory for large-scale government-funded infrastructure projects.

“The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, as part of its infrastructure procurement processes, require BIM to LOD500 on all major infrastructure projects, exceeding $50 million in cost, receiving Australian Government funding, including projects partially funded by Federal Government in partnership with state, territory and local governments.”

The Committee further advocates that the Australian Government “focus on tendering mechanisms that will facilitate this outcome, on a project-by-project basis, with a view to ultimately establishing BIM as a procurement standard.”

BIM adoption dominated the report’s chapter on promoting the use of smart ICT, with the Committee soliciting the opinion of various members of the engineering sector, including AECOM and Aurecon, as well as local government bodies.

Engineering firms were particularly strong advocates of BIM adoption, pointing to the operational and sustainability benefits that the technology can bring to infrastructure projects.

“As with some International Governments, including the UK, the Australian Federal/State Governments as a client can derive significant improvements in cost, value and carbon performance through the use of open shareable asset information that comes with adopting the BIM process as formal policy and embedded within procurement practices,” said Aurecon.

State government also backed government-led BIM adoption, with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) announcing that it was “committed to working with government and industry to fast-track BIM” and supporting the “coordinated implementation of BIM as a critical component of a smart ICT framework.”

“Australia needs to make considerable efforts to match the pace of international BIM adoption by aligning itself to the time schedules of leading nations such as the UK.”

Some members of the AEC industry have long called for Australian government follow the lead of the UK and Singapore in adoption more emphatic policies for encouraging BIM usage by industry.

While some skeptics remain dubious about the hype surrounding BIM usage, advocates note that the technology brings the greatest benefit when used across the full lifecycle of complex projects such as large-scale infrastructure initiatives.