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Are you BIM ready?

The UK Government’s deadline for the construction sector to pre-qualify for participation in public sector construction programme has now come and gone. But what does ‘BIM Ready’ mean and how can the construction sector demonstrate that they are BIM Ready?

It could be argued that an Appointing Party or a Lead Appointed Party consultant  could demonstrate ‘BIM Readiness’ through effective BIM to Build to FM processes that are adhered to throughout his supply chain, which meets the client needs and are compliant with relevant standards.

But to whom can the BIM Provider demonstrate that level of compliance?

Independent third-party validation of BIM readiness through certification to BIM Business Systems is currently the most credible means of providing assurance to both the UK Government and the private sector.

Lloyd’s Register (LR) is the only third-party organisation offering BIM Business Systems Certification across the diverse supply chain, targeting the standards and competencies specific to the scope for which certification is sought, delivering the fine balance between rigour and pragmatism for which LR is known.

LR is a global brand and its certification represents international recognition of assurance and technical credibility.

Whilst there have been claims of UKAS certification for organisations providing BIM certification, no such certification currently exists. Should UKAS decide to develop such a certification, LR will be among the first to gain it in order to reinforce our status within the certification market.

At the core of BIM certification is compliance with ISO19650 but to evaluate an organisation exclusively against the ISO19650 series,  and  to provide for the added value that organisations looking beyond the ‘badge’ require. In recognition of the added value expectation, LR has introduced into the scope of the assessment, business best practice principles, drawn from other certification and certification services delivered in other sectors, which are principally risk-based approach to assessment. This more rounded and comprehensive BIM assessment process is particularly relevant for the supply chain scopes of certification and provide assurance to  both Appointing and Appointed Parties of BIM Project Providers of the durability of their supply chain as well as process compliance.

The LR BIM Certification Scheme was developed with the intent of achieving a balance between the rigour of assessment and pragmatism. We require no documentation to be provided in advance of the assessment, as we have found both the collation and the review in isolation, to be too time-consuming for both parties and not cost-effective.

The initial stage of the assessment is the Gap Analysis. During this phase, one to one interviews with key staff, with responsibilities across the full spectrum of the required BIM scope of certification, will be undertaken. We have found this to be the most effective and efficient means of understanding the BIM processes adopted by the BIM provider under assessment.

The benefit of this approach is that it provides the freedom of the auditee to explain their BIM management processes without concerning themselves with how the described system meets the ISO19650 scope, it is the responsibility of the auditor to map across the described processes to the applicable standards.

The objective of the Gap Analysis, which normally comprises one to a maximum of two days, is to identify at a high level, any major gaps against the applicable standards and scheme principles and report any such gaps /identified weaknesses.

The Gap Analysis concludes with a report which initially takes the form of verbal feedback and whilst the ensuing discussion may gravitate around issues requiring improvement, the principal focus will be on how the organisation can introduce changes which will take them closer to a BIM compliant system.

The Gap Analysis feedback is followed by a detailed report of the findings and the agreed measures to address the identified gaps.

When the BIM Provider under assessment is satisfied that they have closed the reported gaps/weaknesses in their BIM system, the next stage is the implementation assessment.

The implementation assessment will initially focus on the findings of the Gap Analysis and the associated closure of such identified gaps, but will additionally seek evidence that the BIM Management system fully conforms to scheme requirements, and this assessment is undertaken against a live BIM project. In the event that a live BIM project is not available to be assessed then, subject to confirmation of a compliant system, Partial Certification would be awarded, with Full Certification being awarded once the effective implementation of the assessed systems could be verified against the live BIM project.

An important area to be examined at this stage is the relationship of the BIM Provider with his supply chain. This is to ensure that the cultural shift from the traditional contractual adversarial relationship to one of collaboration has been achieved.

Provided that upon the conclusion of the implementation assessment against a live BIM project, no major deficiencies are outstanding and that an action plan has been established to address any outstanding minor deficiencies, then BIM Business Systems Certification can be awarded.

The validity of the awarded certification spans a three-year term during which a surveillance programme will be undertaken.

The surveillance programme serves not only to verify the maintenance of the standards, competencies and processes, against which certification was originally awarded, but also to verify management commitment to continuous improvement as measured against adherence to the action plan to close out the minor deficiencies agreed prior to award.

Failure to demonstrate such ongoing commitment may result in certification suspension or withdrawal, a preparedness to withdraw certification being a measure of the effectiveness of the scheme.

Lloyd’s Register BIM Business Systems Certification represents an independent confirmation of BIM Management systems conformity to recognised good practice leading to best practice through defined continuous improvement milestones, set over the three-year certification term. A confirmation delivered by a brand with global assurance credentials.

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