Local authorities are slowly embracing BIM and waking up to the many benefits it brings in helping to manage not only design and build more efficiently, but also to reduce the costs of managing their built assets in the longer term.
Level 2 BIM will become mandatory on centrally-funded projects soon, and it is becoming a recognised fact that it can deliver benefits on other local authority projects too. Local authorities are already acutely aware that they must do more with less funding, but with budgets stretched tighter every year, are they awake to every facet of using BIM to maximise returns and give greater clarity on costs?
As BIM becomes a core process for managing construction, BIM technology is developing very rapidly alongside it. Now, the focus has moved from simply using BIM to establish smoother information handover to creating more integrated views of the process throughout – and cost planning is being integrated too. That should be great news for local authorities moving forward.
Integrating the cost view in BIM allows LGOs managing new construction projects to keep a tighter control on costs, provide more accurate forecasts for all stakeholders and respond to any changes in prices much faster. David Chappell of Clarkson Alliance, one of our customers is clear on how this works: “We can advise at an earlier stage, help avoid discrepancies when structuring the model, and feed into the BIM Execution Plan.”
Costs change over time from the original planning and can impact the total cost of a single project. Integrating cost with other as-built information means that any changes can be quickly reflected in the project plan and adjusted accordingly.
By fully integrating costs, more informed decision-making is achieved. Incorporating cost management into the BIM process means that if price changes occur, quick cost comparisons can be made and the lowest costs selected. These changes can then be mapped quickly onto the BIM project plan for tighter cost management.
LGOs can also take lessons from the public and the private sector by purchasing materials just in time avoiding price hikes which help further to avoid going over budget. They can also link it to the eventual management of each asset, to manage costs over the buildings’ lifetime. Chappell adds: “Traditionally most cost planning involvement finishes on practical completion of the asset, but it could continue much further.”
To get the most out of BIM it is vital that all information be shared which will serve to make the future much brighter for all local authorities for whom cost is and will continue to be a prime concern. Now is the time to bring cost-integrated BIM into the fold.