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BWBLOG: John Frost Goes Behind the Scenes at BIM4SME

23 September 2014

I recently attended an event organised by BIM4SME at Manchester Town Hall, the event hosted by members of the BIM4SME core team, invited companies to attend a 'BIM Clinic' to come along and ask questions and seek help and advice around implementing BIM within their organisation.

The event itself was mainly dominated by discussions around how BIM would affect a small Building Services design and build contractor. With the contractor outlining their position and the BIM4SME members and other attendees offering advice and support. It was a very useful event for both people new to BIM to find out more and for others to build connections with peers and businesses.

Following the BIM Clinic the BIM4SME core team were kind enough to invite me to attend and contribute to their quarterly steering group meeting. This meeting was mainly an organisational meeting setting out where the group are going, future events, and generally outlining how they provide support to the growing number of SME businesses adopting BIM across the construction industry. What struck me following this meeting was that, although I like to think I keep my finger on the pulse with regards to activities in the BIM world, the good work being done by BIM4SME and other groups in the BIM4Communities seems to be going largely unnoticed (by me at least). 

What was refreshing about this event, and subsequent meeting, was that in a world dominated by software and service providers all trying to sell you their 'BOX of BIM' to satisfy all your BIM needs, here was a group of people drawn from different parts of the industry, giving up their time to help and support the industry in their adoption of BIM. All this on a voluntary basis, with no hidden agenda and no sales pitch for the latest and greatest BIM toy at the end.   

So Who are BIM4SME?

Following the release of the Government Construction strategy in 2011 which first mentioned the governments ambitions to have BIM implemented on their projects, the cabinet office formed the BIM Task Group. Together with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the Construction Industry Council set about a program of helping the construction industry achieve this goal. In their own words: 

'The Building Information Modelling (BIM) Task Group are supporting and helping deliver the objectives of the Government Construction Strategy and the requirement to strengthen the public sector’s capability in BIM implementation with the aim that all central government departments will be adopting, as a minimum, collaborative Level 2 BIM by 2016'

Part of the work done by the BIM Task group was to set up the BIM4Communities, these separate sub groups are tasked with guiding and supporting certain areas of the construction industry. There are many different BIM4 groups in this community and you will probably find at least one group that relates to your particular interest in the construction Industry, be it surveying, water, infrastructure etc.       

The BIM4SME group is chaired by Tim Plats and the core team is made up of representatives from many different sectors of the construction industry including Architects, Engineers, Manufacturers, QS and project management, contractors etc. All from Small and Medium enterprises working in the construction industry and all with practical experience implementing and delivering projects using BIM. Inspired by the Open and Collaborative ethos of BIM these people aim to provide assistance and guide the SME community as the wider construction industry embraces BIM. 

Their core goals are outlined on the BIM task group website:

 - Provide a clear understanding of BIM

 - Understanding the SME business requirements.

 - Impart the correct knowledge to the SME.

 - Provide a clear understanding of the requirements of BIM

 - Assist businesses with understanding of BIM procedures

 - Identify risks of not getting involved

 - Access to education and learning

 - Make guidance available in simple English

From seeing first-hand the hard work that goes into developing these communities and providing resource and a focal point, I would urge people within the industry to engage and interact with these groups to help further your own understanding and the understanding of the industry as a whole, around how BIM is affecting you and your sector.

The success of any project no matter how big or small relies on good communication. After meeting the guys and girls behind BIM4SME, if your project is implementing BIM the help is out there, all you need to do is ask. 


Useful websites:

BIM Task Group: