As with BIM-Wash, there are lots of descriptive labels knocking around in the industry such as ‘BIM Ready’, ‘BIM Compliant’ and ‘BIM Specialists’ however what does this actually mean in practice? In reality, as mentioned above, there are lots of different things the acronym BIM can actually mean and there are 4 distinct levels of BIM maturity against which Readiness can refer to:
- BIM Level 0 is the utilisation of 2D CAD information to develop drawings that are not managed or coordinated with other disciplines. Practitioners in the industry should now be beyond this level of working.
- BIM Level 1 is the utilisation of managed 2D and 3D CAD information across the project team using a Common Data Environment [shared workspace]. Whilst the information is managed at Level 1, there is no cross-discipline collaboration thus each discipline within the project independently produces and maintains their own data. The majority of the industry is [or should be] working at least at this level.
- BIM Level 2 is the utilisation of managed 2D and 3D CAD information along with attached & structured data which is produced in a collaborative Common Data Environment [CDE]. Marking this as an advancement beyond BIM Level 1, information across the project team is produced and exchanged using a common delivery plan [BIM Execution Plan (BEP)] and common file formats [e.g. IFC] which allow different disciplines to use each other’s information as reference whilst developing theirs. Facilitating collaboration across the team, BIM Level 2 [where implemented effectively] ensures individual designs are complimentary [clash-free] and enables enhanced analysis, management and efficiency throughout the activities involved in the design, construction and use of built assets. When you hear an individual or organisation refer to themselves as BIM Ready or BIM Compliant, BIM Level 2 is generally accepted as the standard to be measured against to be determined as such. BIM Level 2 is the mandatory level of project collaboration required for public sector works in the UK from April 4th 2016 and is also a steadily growing deliverable target within the private sector. As outlined above, there are a number of standards and protocols [often referred to as the ‘8 Pillars of BIM’] required to achieve a full BIM Level 2 workflow.
- BIM Level 3 is the holy grail for information management in the construction industry. Notionally this involves the use of a single all-inclusive model [shared simultaneously between all the project disciplines] to coordinate design and construction processes. BIM Level 3 is still very much a work in progress however the UK has put in place a Strategic Plan for development.