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New Information Manager Appointed

9 January 2012

Costain has signalled its recognition of the growing importance of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the construction industry with the appointment of a Group BIM Manager.

Matt Blackwell takes up the role of overseeing the system within the Company. BIM allows planners, designers and the construction team to progressively add information about a project as it progresses to an electronic database.

By the time of handover, the body of knowledge that has been built up effectively amounts to an asset manual. It details the structure and informs the new owner or operator about its life cycle management, including plant, resource and materials required to undertake a particular repair or piece of maintenance, for example, and the equipment needed to effect that repair. 

BIM is becoming increasingly prevalent in the construction industry, after having been used in the hydrocarbons, automotive and aerospace sectors for many years.

“It’s a ‘must have’ for a number of reasons,” says Costain’s Technical Director, Bill Hewlett. “The most obvious reason is that the Government is mandating Level 2 BIM as a minimum compliance standard by 2016 for all its suppliers. That’s the ‘stick’.

“The ‘carrot’ is that industry has reached a tipping point where the benefits are being appreciated by clients. They appreciate that the job will work better in terms of its delivery, but also because they end up with a proper asset record that they can then use for asset management through its life.

“There is a whole set of benefits. The benefit to us is that we’re delivering a better service to customers. It allows us to plan the job better, so it can be safer and allows us to deliver a better job.”

Matt agrees that “There are numerous benefits, although these depend on the individual project.

“Different people have different perceptions and have different definitions of BIM. Some people think that if you just do a 3D model of a building and link it to the construction programme, it’s BIM - but it's not.

“The definition we’ve been giving to our supply chain and customers is that it’s a 3D model linked to a database of information that allows you to provide the right information to the right people at the right time and in the right format. This ensures a higher quality product delivered safely, to time and budget. It reduces re-work because people are sufficiently well-informed that they don’t have to go back and re-do something.

“As part of the process we capture evidence throughout, and advise our customers on the benefits of applying BIM. We use this in our bids and prequalifictions so we provide information that we’ve done this type of work before and demonstrate the value we can add to the customer."