Building Information Modelling

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a collaborative way of working through the life cycle of a built environment asset.

BIM involves the production and exchange of structured intelligent data using common standards. It is a manifestation of the digitisation of the construction industry.



The BESA activity relating to BIM is centred on how contractors can use the process to remove non value adding activity and how they can apply the principles of BIM without incurring high additional hardware and software costs.

The focus is on practical solutions that provide immediate benefit.

The UK Government mandated level 2 fully collaborative BIM for centrally procured Government projects from April 2016.  In response to this the BESA developed First Steps to BIM Competence - A Guide to Specialist Contractors first published in 2014.  This was revised in 2015 and is currently going through its 3rd revision to keep it up to date.  The guide is designed to help specialist contractors with no knowledge of BIM to get started and be in a position to work on projects requiring level 2 competence.

A BIM4BuildingServices group, consisting of contractors with experience and expertise in BIM meets twice a year to discuss the issues relating to BIM implementation.  This is fed back to the Government’s UK BIM task group, the UKBIM Alliance and other stakeholders such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) National Building Specification (NBS), British Standards Institution (BSI) and Building Research Establishment (BRE).

The BESA is involved in the production of Product Data Templates (PDTs) that will provide structured product data for BIM.  This will allow contractors to use data such as “as installed” manuals in a more consistent way across multiple sites so reducing their costs.

A number of Innovate UK BIM projects are underway in conjunction with the University of Northumbria and others.  Looking at how tendering processes and data exchange can be made easier and more robust.  The BID4Free project in particular is developing a free viewer that can be used on any laptop or PC and will allow a contractor to view and manipulate any model without having to purchase the software.

First Steps to BIM Competence - A Guide to Specialist Contractors

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The BESA will launch a series of regional workshops on The Essential Guide to BIM in association with Constructing Excellence in early 2017.  This will be supplemented by the new version of the First Steps to Competence.



One of the fears of contractors is that everyone is an expert and they are the only company that is not already using BIM.  This is not the case, we are all learning.  The most common request of main contractors is that specialist contractors have an open mind.

Make sure you don’t inadvertently tick the “don’t send me BIM projects to tender” box on PQQs.  If you say you are not interested why would anyone ask you?  Perhaps that’s why you customers are not asking you for BIM!

BIM has a language of its own so download the First Steps to Competence and get familiar with the terms.  Sign up for one of the workshops and join in.

For further details contact David Frise by emailing