While Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been around for some time, its application and uptake across the Australian construction sector is varied. At its core, BIM (also known as Digital Engineering, Asset Information Modelling), is an inert software package like any other software package. The intelligent use and application of BIM is what can truly transform not only the construction sector, but the entire way our urban environments are developed and managed. Some may call the development and application of new technologies such as BIM a disruptive technology. Rather, BIM reflects the continued progression toward a digital environment, which should facilitate a more efficient approach to asset development and management.
“At its core, BIM (also known as Digital Engineering, Asset Information Modelling), is an inert software package like any other software package. The intelligent use and application of BIM is what can truly transform not only the construction sector, but the entire way our urban environments are developed and managed.”
Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) CEO Grant Warner.
There are a plethora of BIM groups around Australia providing platforms for the dissemination of BIM related information, and with each sector of the construction market establishing its own framework for the adoption of BIM. To facilitate best practice nationally in the adoption and integration of digital engineering, governments will need to take a leading role and apply a consistent approach in building infrastructure and in its interaction with industry (National Digital Engineering Policy Principles). This is a goal which the Australasian BIM Advisory Board (ABAB), a body of principally government representatives jointly established by the APCC and ACIF, is tasked with addressing.
At the sub-sector level the AIQS, in conjunction with the NZIQS, is in the process of establishing a Best Practice Guide for the Quantity Surveying and Cost Estimating professions on the application of BIM, and setting a platform with a view to increasing communication and integration with others involved in a project (particularly the design team) to facilitate an optimal use of BIM at the early stage of project modelling.
The successful adoption and utilisation of BIM is creating a new asset class as we speak. The creation of a mirror digital urban environment (of which BIM is currently only a small component) with the integration of utilities, transport nodes and systems, health infrastructure, employment nodes, services, and open spaces, has the potential, not to disrupt, but to transform our entire approach to developing and managing all the assets within our urban environments, and how we as people, interact across those environments.
That said, the sheer volume and scale of information within a digital urban environment will require strict security and access controls to ensure the data and information are not inappropriately used. BIM is just the beginning. ■
Grant Warner – CEO, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS)