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Why have one single definition for BIM? Lack of agreement on a definition can mean working with new definitions of BIM for every new project undertaken, wasting time and resource. This project-level ‘drag factor’ can offset the productivity savings associated with BIM, and erode benefits at a national scale. 

Early in its programme, the UK created a common-sense definition of BIM in projects, which works at an organisational level and at a national scale across: 

  • Policy – legal and procurement; 
  • Technical – security in the exchange of information required in contracts; 
  • Process – definition of the collaborative process to deliver an information management mindset for construction; and 
  • Skills – build competences and capacity for skilled learning in academia and existing professionals in industry. 

Taking a national definition approach has provided a common language and a set of concepts for all of the industry, SMEs, and larger companies; and for product manufacturers to asset managers. This has brought clarity to BIM, an area that can be confusing. It has reduced misunderstandings arising from using differing sets of terms and standards during tender, procurement, contracting, and in delivering projects. Having a common definition enables all parties to convene at the starting point of a project, identify how BIM supports the project goals, and assign responsibilities among the project team in a seamless way. 

The UK recognised the need for an international view alongside the national definition, and is working with international standards bodies to create alignment to facilitate common understanding on BIM. This helps to grow the market by making trading globally easier. 

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