WHO SHOULD READ THIS

  • Industry participants in the procurement and construction sector.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • The Parliamentary Committee for Infrastructure, Transport and Cities has recommended that all major government infrastructure projects (over the value of $50 million) to use BIM.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

  • The BIM revolution is intensifying in the Australian construction market and industry participants should (if not already) take active steps to ensure that they are BIM compatible.

In March 2016, the Federal Government’s Infrastructure, Transport and Cities Parliamentary Committee recommended that all government projects that receive Australian Government funding (and which are over $50 million in value) to use BIM.

Background
The ‘Smart ICT Report on the inquiry into the role of smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure’ was released by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities in March 2016 (Report).  The Report was a result of the Federal Government inquiry into examining the development of smart infrastructure using new technologies and systems, and possible responses by government.

The Report makes 10 recommendations and states that the core of the Report is the notion that new technologies are transformational, with the capacity to increase the productivity of the Australian economy.  The Report states that Australian Governments and industry must be aware of the potential of smart ICT, and must invest in the technologies, skills and systems to make the transformation a reality.

The full Report is available at: http://apo.org.au/sites/all/modules/pubdlcnt/pubdlcnt.php?nid=62234&file=http://apo.org.au/files/Resource/smartict_report.pdf 

BIM related recommendations of the Report
Recommendation 7 of the Report is as follows:

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, as part of its infrastructure procurement processes, require BIM to LOD500 on all major infrastructure projects, exceeding $50 million in cost, receiving Australian Government funding, including projects partially funded by Federal Government in partnership with state, territory and local governments, and that it focus on tendering mechanisms that will facilitate this outcome, on a project-by-project basis, with a view to ultimately establishing BIM as a procurement standard.

Various submissions to the inquiry made by industry participants provided that Federal and State Governments are missing out on commercial benefits including significant improvements in cost, value and carbon performance that comes from using BIM.  It was submitted that the Australian Government must be a driving force for change within the industry on BIM issues.

On the other hand, while there was strong agreement for government leadership in smart ICT, there was less agreement on the issue of whether the use of BIM should be mandated in Australia.  Submissions varied with some arguing that a mandatory BIM process would ‘increase clients’ confidence in delivery’ and that there would be a ‘clearer line of sight over the project’s performance during planning, design and construction into its operation.’  Other submissions provided that mandating BIM in the 3D modelling sense is not sensible due to the government’s inability to keep up with required legislation amendments and that a one size fits all modelling approach would not adequately address specific project requirements.

Under Recommendation 6, the committee recommended that the Australian Government form a smart infrastructure task force led by Infrastructure Australia which is modelled on the UK BIM Task Group.The task force would act as a coordinator and a conduit for the development and implementation of policy nationally including the development of industry and product standards and training and education.  The success of the UK’s BIM program was noted including that the UK BIM Task Group is recognised for ‘playing a pivotal role in the success of the UK BIM strategy’.  

The Report highlights that although the need for smart ICT is clearly evident, the question remains of ‘to what extent and in what form’ in the Australian market.  Despite the apparent disagreement between industry participants as to the effectiveness of a mandatory BIM model in Australia, the Parliamentary Committee recognised the mutual agreement that ‘there needs to be a greater coordination between levels of government, and between government and industry, on the design, planning, procurement, construction and management of smart infrastructure in Australia’.  On this basis, the Parliamentary Committee recommended that the UK model should be adapted and replicated in Australia.

Impact on you
Due to the Federal Government’s clear push towards the implementation of BIM for major government infrastructure projects, industry participants should (if not already) be taking active steps to ensure that they are BIM compatible.  This will mean updating contracting and procurement processes to ensure that they properly address BIM requirements.