Levels of BIM implementation – UK perspective
Although many regions and countries follow the generic 3D BIM to 7D BIM standard, specific national Levels vary significantly from one state to another.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) Levels in the UK are defined based on the National Building Standards (McPartland, 2014) classification. This refers to BIM as Level 0, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3, translated as follows:
BIM Level 0 is referred to as ‘unmanaged computer-aided design (CAD)’, and takes the form of a 2D paper format or, where possible, an electronic PDF paper.
BIM Level 1 is ‘managed CAD’, presented in a 2D or 3D format. It is produced using the ‘BS1192:2007 standard with a collaboration tool providing a Common Data Environment (CDE), possibly some standard data structures and formats. Commercial data are managed by standalone finance and cost management packages with no integration’ (Dept of Business, Innovation and Skills, 2011).
BIM Level 2 is defined as a ‘managed 3D environment held in separate discipline BIM tools with attached data’.
Together those models create collaborative federated models shared within CDE. The commercial data are usually stored separately or integrated through a proprietary interfaces or bespoke middleware (BSI: PAS 1192-2, 2013) and (BSI: PAS 1192-3, 2014).
This approach may utilise 4D programme data and 5D cost elements, as well as feed operational systems. This is the mandatory level, recommended by the government, that all contractors must comply with when procuring public projects.
Level 3 is defined as ‘fully open process and data integration enabled by web services, compliant with emerging Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and International Framework for Dictionaries (IFD) standards, managed by a collaborative model server’ (Morledge & Smith, 2013). Level 3 could be regarded as ‘integrated BIM’ (iBIM), potentially employing concurrent engineering processes.
Currently, Level 2 is the mandated appropriate level for UK construction, but there are advocates for this to be raised to Level 3. However, there are some concerns that there isn’t enough data or the technical know-how to cater for the IFC, IFD and other data required to meet Level 3 and as a result most companies will hardly comply.
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Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (2011) A report for the Government Construction Client Group - Building Information Modelling (BIM) Working Party Strategy Paper. Published July 2011 RN 11/948. [online] Available from: https://www.cdbb.cam.ac.uk/Resources/ResoucePublications/BISBIMstrategyReport.pdf Accessed on [11 April 2019]
British Standards Institution (2007) Specification for Information Management for the Operational Phase of Assets Using Building Information Modelling BS1192:2007, London: British Standards Institution
British Standards Institution (2013) Specification for Information Management for the Capital/Delivery Phase of Construction Projects Using Building Information Modelling PAS 1192-2:2013, London: British Standards Institution
British Standards Institution (2014) Specification for Information Management for the Operational Phase of Assets Using Building Information Modelling PAS 1192-3:2014, London: British Standards Institution
Morledge, R., and Smith, A.J. (2013) Building procurement. John Wiley & Sons.
McPartland, R. (2014) ‘BIM Levels explained’. National Building Standards [online] available from https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/bim-levels-explained [12 April 2019]
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