The Construction Playbook was published by the UK Government in 2020 and was "focused on getting projects and programs right from the start”vi. It is a document that supports the sourcing and contracting of public works projects and programs. There are fourteen policies that support the aim of delivering public works and projects better, with BIM specified as one of the policies for Contracting Authorities (more on who they are later) to use. The Construction Playbook confirms that the UK BIM Framework will support the Information Management Framework (IMM) - a common framework of standards and protocols, based on ISO 19650. The UK BIM Framework is also required to support the standardised approach required for "generating and classifying data, data security and data exchange, and to support the adoption of the Information Management Framework and the creation of the National Digital Twin.”vii
The aim behind the Playbook’s use of BIM is to create secure and resilient data sharing between organisations and sectors. That this document states that the UK BIM Framework should be applied for all design and construction projects, is a great leap forward from the GCS report and for the UK construction industry in general. It widens the number of client bodies, or Contracting Authoritiesviii, that need to use BIM in the UK for their projects. This document provides further detail on key concepts such as BIM adoption;
“UK BIM Framework: sets out the overarching approach to implementing Information Management using BIM and provides tools and resources. Adopting the UK BIM Framework will be compatible with the Information Management Framework” P.32
It is important to note that Contracting Authorities are "All public sector bodies procuring public works (excludes devolved administrations)."ix This suggests that English Local Authorities are now included in the new IMM named in the Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP): Roadmap to 2030x. The IPA is the UK Government’s centre of expertise for infrastructure and major projects. The UK Government has adopted the UK BIM Framework requirements and clearly states that the framework is to be used on Infrastructure and Major Projects by Contracting Authorities. In addition to this the IMM is clear on BIM requirements for the UK Contracting Authorities:
“Set out in Annex B is a refreshed Information Management Mandate that will be delivered through the application of the UK BIM Framework, which builds on the 2016 BIM mandate. This new mandate, which is applicable immediately, sets out a range of requirements for clients, including the definition of information concerning assets and projects. Public sector clients should comply with the Mandate as part of their implementation of the Construction Playbook.” xi
To gauge the scale of public sector investment in the construction industry, the Southern Construction Framework which is run jointly by Hampshire County Council and Devon County Council has recently announced investment of £4.5 billion in its latest roundxii. This is a significant amount of money that represents a large proportion of Local Authority construction across the southern region of England. If BIM can save money on a project of say 5% (6% for design stage was identified in the PWC report), this would represent a £225m saving across projects of this value. Even if there is a 1% saving this would represent a £45m saving, and this does not take into account the value across the lifecycle – which the PWC report suggests could be 73% in use. These extraordinary numbers suggests that BIM should be within the framework tenders for all projects, not least as the Government is requesting this, and to achieve value for money for the taxpayer at an especially difficult economic period of time.
The limitation of the GCS requiring only ‘centrally procured’ projects to use BIM Level 2 has had a long-term impact. Those organisations that have the resources, will or were required specifically to use BIM Level 2 have done so. Unfortunately, many Local Authorities have not adopted the requirements as they were not mandated to do so and/or may not have had the skills internally to develop this. From discussion with one Local Authority representative they have suggested that the Playbook is used as best practice which is welcome news. However, with the wider IMM mandate and central government requirements they have said that in their view these initiatives only impact central government departments and without legislation, like the public contract regulations being updated, this will not change. The implication of this in context with the new UK BIM Framework and ISO 19650 standards has always meant that there was, and still is, an opportunity to increase adoption within the public sector but this appears to be a significant challenge. That a requirement for public sector clients is now set out within the document should be welcomed and seen as an exciting moment in the adoption of BIM. However, more work is required to educate and provide evidence of the benefits of BIM; financially and programmatically for the public sector.
v BIM Level 2 Benefits Measurement - Summary Guide https://www.cdbb.cam.ac.uk/files/1._pwc_summary_guidance_to_bbm.pdf (accessed 25.07.22), p. 3
vi THE CONSTRUCTION PLAYBOOK - Government Guidance on sourcing and contracting public works projects and programmes https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/941536/The_Construction_Playbook.pdf (accessed 25.07.22), p. 29
vii Ibid., p. 10
viii “contracting authorities” means the State, regional or local authorities, bodies governed by public law or associations formed by one or more such authorities or one or more such bodies governed by public law, and includes central government authorities, but does not include Her Majesty in her private capacity; https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/102/regulation/2/made (accessed 25.07.22)
ix THE CONSTRUCTION PLAYBOOK - Government Guidance on sourcing and contracting public works projects and programmes https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/941536/The_Construction_Playbook.pdf (accessed 25.07.22), p.72
x Information Management Mandate (Annex B: Information Management Mandate in IPA TIP document (published in 2021 by the Infrastructure & Projects Authority (IPA)) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transforming-infrastructure-performance-roadmap-to-2030 (accessed 25.07.22), p. 56
xi THE CONSTRUCTION PLAYBOOK - Government Guidance on sourcing and contracting public works projects and programmes https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/941536/The_Construction_Playbook.pdf (accessed 25.07.22), p. 33
xii Firms on standby for £4.5bn Southern Construction Framework from Construction Enquirer https://www.constructionenquirer.com/2022/03/17/firms-on-standby-for-4-5bn-southern-construct-framework/
We are experts in digital transformation, BIM implementation, and Information Management. We can help you to transform digital workflows across your supply chain. We are experts in data management and can help you leverage BIM and Operations datasets.
If you like what you’ve read or have a point you would like to discuss in more detail, we’d love to hear from you. Also, if you think there might be an interesting opportunity for us, or someone you know, to work together, then please share this with them, or get in touch using the details on our Contact Us page.