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The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) recently met with an exclusive list of leaders from public and private organizations to discuss the need for a coordinated program to advance collaboration and innovation in the building industry.
The Building Information Management (BIM) Executive Roundtable included partners from the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. General Services Administration and U.S. Federal Highway Administration, along with private sector partners from Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Autodesk, Bentley, Epic, ESRI, HDR, Kieran-Timberlake and WSP.
"Let's start working on our common challenges and opportunities," said Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, president and CEO of NIBS. "We seek your time and your talent to help us develop shared standards and processes to improve the built environment and help Build Back Better."
Phillip Bernstein, associate dean and professor adjunct with Yale School of Architecture, said there has been varied levels of adoption across delivery and management processes as well as education and training. The U.S. faces continued challenges with data interoperability.
While NIBS has created a U.S. National BIM Standard, it primarily has been developed through volunteer efforts with valuable content, but little coordination toward a comprehensive standard.
The Road to a National Building Information Management Program
To address this, NIBS is leading the creation of a National BIM Program. The goal is a solution at a national scale to enable digital process standards that will streamline business, accelerate the effectiveness of the supply chain, provide predictable processes, improve project outcomes, drive efficiency and foster innovation.
Adam Matthews, head of the International Stream of the Centre for Digital Built Britain, spoke to the UK's innovation-focused BIM program that is seen as a model for what can be done here. The program came at cost of about $5 million pounds. It has led to 33 percent lower costs through a reduction in the initial cost of construction and the whole life cost of built assets and 50 percent faster delivery.
"We started off looking at how we can drive savings," Matthews said, mentioning that part of the goal was to drive better procurement practices and construction. "This was not a program just for the sake of technology."
Taking the First Step
Construction comprises 13 percent of the global economy. And while the U.S. already plays a tremendous leadership role in delivering innovative technology and design and construction services to a global marketplace, we lack the same leadership to tackle industry productivity and efficiency problems to benefit asset owners.
"The first step is getting the right people to the table," said Van Woods, BIM program manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Chair of the NIBS BIM Council. "We already have an all-star team. I think we need to expand that. We must convene the stakeholders who will benefit from digital transformation."