Britain - and Geordies in particular - are leading the way in BIM, says Sam Collard

I have just returned from presenting at the Technology Symposium in Sydney where the first McGraw Hill BIM 2014 report for New Zealand and Australia was launched and where I saw first hand the role UK BIM expertise is playing overseas.

Through well-prepared teamwork based around the adoption of BIM, a positive platform is created for the reduction in design and a construction waste. BIM is a truly democratic process which allows tier two designers and contractors to compete with their tier one peers on an equal level.

With an increasing portfolio of BIM management consultancy projects outside the UK, recent commissions for BIM Academy (a joint venture between Northumbria University and Ryder Architecture) also now include the BIM management services for the West Kowloon Museum Project, Hong Kong, and further bids for work in India, Thailand and Myanmar.

BIM Academy’s ethos is one where we support all the stakeholders in their understanding and interaction with the BIM process in a “top down-bottom up” way.  It’s about having more than one smart person in the room. BIM is truly universal – for the common practitioner as well as the “techies” and “tradies”. By involving all these team players through a teamwork approach we can get the best out of BIM adoption.

Significantly the BIM collateral for UK practitioners has never been higher across the globe as a result of the work that has been undertaken by private industry in BIM in partnership with the government and their directive to achieve Level 2 BIM on government projects by 2016.

BIM Academy has recently demonstrated its ability to combine technical excellence with industry experience to create a comprehensive technical specification for a bespoke BIM4FM systems solution for Sydney Opera House. Again teamwork has been crucial – as we know teamwork with the client is essential to the successful delivery of any project. Close collaboration with our client and industry partners enabled the team to understand the drivers behind the project, coordinated this information, and following a detailed methodology to define BIM and FM workflows to recommend a framework to enable the BIM4FM solution.

The United Kingdom is one of the first countries to truly tackle the “I” in BIM – information. The cradle-to-grave approach requires the collation of technical geometry and data which can be used to manage the asset through the adoption of BIM4FM. This will place the UK in good stead in the international arena as the importance of BIM grows. 

Geordie BIM, BIM in the Newcastle city region, is riding the crest of the wave at the moment and is a significant contributor to the UK’s BIM success story.  Geordies, be they contractors, manufacturers, designers or academics, can hold their heads high with their banked tacit skills and knowledge gained through the lean years.

Be they never humble, the Geordies do not forget the skills and contribution of their UK peers and international colleagues. In the quest for BIM’s multiple collaboration, this region is truly adopting a teamwork approach – but on a global level.

As I participate in the latter part of an international BIM Beer Symposium in the Five Swans in Newcastle it dawns on me – we have some great BIM technical expertise at the heart of this region but if you called us BIM thought leaders we’d just end up engulfed by ego-levelling rhetoric from our mates in the pub!

What’s that I hear? “Get the beers in soft lad and stop taking aboot BIM stuff!”


To find out more about the benefits and practical application of BIM visit the BIM Show Live, which is being held at Manchester Central 23 - 24 April. To find out more go to