Viewpoint - 08/05/2013

Building Information Modelling: A threat or boon to commercial property investors?

Find out more

Darron Barker, Head of our Newcastle office, discusses the growing interest and potential impact of Building Information Modelling (BIM) - the software launched by government in 2011 designed to reduce the capital cost and carbon burden from the construction and built environment.

The results of the UK’s most comprehensive BIM (Building Information Modelling) survey yet, undertaken by NBS and published in March, reveal that whilst the industry is now taking a growing interest in BIM over the last year, fewer than half of those surveyed were aware of the different levels of BIM despite Level 2 being mandatory on all government construction projects by the end of 2016.

Reducing capital cost

Launched by the Government on 31 May 2011, the rationale for implementation of BIM is sound:  ‘modernisation with the key objective of reducing capital cost and the carbon burden from the construction and built environment by 20%’.

But what does this mean for those with commercial property portfolios? The impact could be great.

It is widely agreed by those who are already using BIM that it can reduce waste, create greater cost efficiencies and increase coordination of construction documentation.  

Project delivery

Local authorities commissioning new build work are already citing project delivery in BIM format as a key deliverable in project tender documents.  

Private developers too, seeing the opportunity to save money, are increasingly stipulating the use of BIM in new projects.  For those who are looking to refurbish or extend an existing building, BIM can also be used to provide a retrofit solution.

In each large city therefore, particularly those where government spending is planned, soon there will be a growing number of properties developed using BIM, which will provide an open source of information to any potential investor or occupier. In turn, these new BIM-compliant buildings will be sitting alongside properties on adjacent sites which were completed a few years earlier.

Pro-active asset management

As an investor, which would you choose:  the new BIM-compliant building where the open source of information relating to every single aspect of its development from cradle to grave is perfect for pro-active asset management – particularly in the event of an insurance claim; or the older, pre-BIM building, which is (comparatively speaking) a closed book?

Peter Barker, managing director of BIM Academy, a centre of excellence, based at Northumbria University, combining industry experience and academic knowledge, is highly experienced in the practical application of BIM.  He agrees:

“The information derived from a well-executed BIM process will be valuable in helping to measure whether facilities meet their performance expectations. It also provides a readily accessible source of information for the teams involved in operating, maintaining and adapting completed facilities.”

With the potential impact of the Energy Act on the value of property portfolios, as well as the desire of occupiers for open plan office space, it is important that any property investor thinks ahead and takes professional advice now about how to maximise the value of their assets as the clock ticks down to 2016.


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