The Cabinet Office BIM Group is being urged to set up a working group to examine how BIM models could help ease the burden of regulation surrounding construction projects.
The group – if established – would examine the feasibility of project teams satisfying development control, Building Regulations approval, and CDM legislation through information held in the BIM model.
The possibilities of using BIM models and checking software as an alternative to multiple regulatory submissions has been discussed at the Construction Industry Council’s BIM Forum, whose members are pressing government BIM Group chair Mark Bew to add the issue to the government’s BIM agenda.
Scott Brownrigg technical director Peter Caplehorn, who represents the RIBA on the BIM Forum, told CM: “It’s early days on BIM and regulation – so far the emphasis [from the Cabinet Office] has been getting everyone into the BIM arena. But using BIM for regulatory purposes could be a fortuitous additional benefit that’s come along, so let’s see how far we get.”
Paul Everall, chief executive of Local Authority Building Control, which represents local authority building control departments, said: “Planning and building control are currently outside the BIM model, but it would be good if all the regulatory processes could be integrated into it. The government is putting quite a lot of money into the development of BIM, so we need to look at what the issues are.
“Building Control [being] integrated into the BIM process is certainly something we want to encourage. There’s no point in staff wasting time checking applications if it can be done automatically, it’s far better to be checking what’s happening on site.”
However, he added that checking software, which would compare BIM models with allowable values under Building Regulations, would have to be up to the job.
Commenting on the proposals, BIM and design management consultant John Eynon FCIOB pointed out that several other countries have mandated the use of BIM within their regulatory systems. “It’s already been done elsewhere in the world, it’s not like we’re breaking new ground,” he said. “We already have software, such as Solibri, that can be customised to check the model according to any rules you like, it might be clash detection or it could be Building Regulations or rights to light. The software does the mechanical stuff, it punches the numbers, then it frees staff up to do more of the clever stuff.”
However, Eynon also questioned whether the Cabinet Office would fully get behind the proposals. “Their emphasis is on outputs and improving the client’s process, the government isn’t so prescriptive about how you get there.”
For more on BIM and Building Regulations from CIC BIM Champion Richard Saxon, click here