Industry support of BIM adoption, implementation and standardization
Several organizations support BIM Development adoption and implementation in Canada: the Canada BIM Council (CanBIM), the Institute for BIM in Canada (IBC) and buildingSMART Canada (the Canadian chapter of buildingSMART International).
Founded in December 2008, CANBIM is a consensus- and committee-driven organization for BIM in Canada developed by business leaders to standardize the use of models in architecture, engineering and construction. CanBIM has close to 100 architectural, engineering, contracting and trade firms, and is managed by industry volunteers, hosting events across Canada. Members fund and direct the priorities and activities through eight discipline focused committees.
The mission of the IBC is: “to lead and facilitate the coordinated use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the design, construction and management of the Canadian built environment.” Its founding partner organizations represent specific industry sectors with keen interest in seeing BIM implemented in a way, and at a pace, that enables the primary stakeholders to understand their roles and responsibilities and to assess their capacity to participate in this process.
buildingSMART Canada, the Canadian chapter of buildingSMART International, works in partnership with all Canadian Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner and Operator (AECOO) community stakeholders including Canadian associations of architects, engineers, specification writers, contractors as well as public and private owners, government and industry. It creates standards and supports programmes and tools to ensure that Canada will be successful in its movement towards a better built environment supported through open and internationally compatible standards for BIM.
In Canada, the efforts made in recent years are notable, not only to encourage the adoption of BIM in the AEC (Architecture Engineering Construction) sector, but also and above all to approve targeted national policies. There is increased activity and collaboration with respect to BIM by industry, government and the academic sectors. Promotion of BIM by various levels of government at the procurement level is starting to increase, albeit change has been a slow process. Progress has been evident among Quebec and Alberta’s provincial governments who have taken concrete steps with respect to BIM recognizing that it could help reduce the cost of designing, building, maintaining and operating public infrastructure. It’s been more common for public-private partnership RFPs to include BIM requirements. Early adopters of BIM and increasing uptake continue to fuel further adoption as the desire to remain competitive is a key motivator. Less fragmentation and greater collaboration exist among industry organizations invested in advocating for and driving BIM implementation, collaboration and standardization. The academic community has also been involved in actively working to digitalize construction, strengthening the framework for BIM adoption by instilling the next generation of industry professionals with the required knowledge and skills. This has been seen at institutions such as University of Alberta, l'École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) de Montréal and Carleton University. There is a strong consensus that BIM will play an important part in the future of the AECOO industry in Canada. How that happens and what it will look like is still to be determined.
In the United States, the Associated General Contractors of America and US contracting firms are also working to promote the BIM adoption and explore relevant processes. To date, the U.S. has not adopted a set of national BIM guidelines, allowing different and competitive systems to remain in place.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is a significant stakeholder in the future of BIM and the development of BIM standards. It has defined BIM as "a model-based technology linked with a database of project information", and this reflects the general reliance on database technology as the foundation.
The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) has also taken on a leadership role in BIM. NIBS is a non-profit organization that represents the collective interests of technical associations and construction companies. It is invested in addressing roadblocks and identifying solutions to drive the adoption of BIM in the USA.
NIBS had spearheaded the development of BIM standards, specifically The National BIM Standards – United States (NBIMS-US™) v3 in 2015, through its project committee Building Smart Alliance, a council of building professionals from academia, government, for-profit and construction-related associations. It aims to “provide consensus-based standards through referencing existing standards, documenting information exchanges and delivering best business practices for the entire built environment.” It states that “with open BIM standards, we can build detailed models then deliver accurate products that can be used during commissioning and operation to ensure facility functionality throughout the life of the facility and to deliver high performance, carbon neutral, and net zero energy based facilities”
The National BIM Standards – United States (NBIMS-US™) v3 points the following possibilities with BIM:
- a 5% reduction of the final construction costs
- a 5% increase of speed for project completion
- a 25% increase of AEC sector’s productivity
- a 25% decrease of manpower use
The document underlines how AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) companies are obtaining a remarkable increase in return on investment thanks to the adoption of BIM. Therefore, BIM is considered an indispensable methodology for achieving innovation in the constructions processes. The guide is available as a free PDF at nationalbimstandard.org.
A National BIM Guide for Owners was released in 2017 and can be downloaded upon request. Training resources are available through the Associated General Contractors of America’s BIM Education Program and BIM certification track. Learn more at agc.org
The US General Services Administration (GSA) through the Public Building Services (PBS) formulated the National 3D-4D-BIM Program way back in 2003, publishing some guidelines for the construction industry. This program established policy mandating BIM adoption for all Public Buildings Service projects.
The GSA is now exploring the adoption of BIM throughout the complete project life cycle, with the following guidelines available:
- series 1 – 3D/4D BIM overview
- series 2 – spatial program validation
- series 3 – 3D laser scanning
- series 4 – 4D phasing
- series 5 – energy performance and operations
- series 6 – circulation and security validation
- series 7 – building element
- series 8 – facility management
Overall, in North America, debate continues and there has yet to be clear consensus on how best to implement BIM, develop processes and standards as well as drive adoption. However, the digitalization of construction processes in the United States has evolved and will continue to evolve as the industry recognizes the need for and moves towards a collaborative approach to progress.