In the fourth instalment of our global examination of BIM adoption, Rebecca De Cicco, Director of Digital Node, turns the spotlight onto New Zealand
In our series of articles appraising how BIM is adopted and implemented throughout global regions, we’ve seen a trend suggesting that many countries are looking to the UK for support and guidance. The UK’s level of BIM maturity and the standards supporting BIM Level 2, such as the 1192 suite, are now either used by many government organisations or at least used as a basis to develop their own.
In a small yet agile market as that found in New Zealand, while the government hasn’t adopted BIM to the same level as the UK yet, both industry and the government are certainly keen to see accelerated adoption through various initiatives and programmes.
The interest in BIM adoption and a drive toward innovation began in earnest with The Building and Construction Productivity Partnership; a partnership between industry and government established from 2011-2014 to address the issue of low productivity in the construction sector.
The Productivity Partnership’s (PP) goal was to see a 20% lift in productivity gains by 2020, largely based on the realisation that by applying new technology and best practice, benefits could be realised to meet the target.
By 2014, the baton to progress the industry was taken up by The BIM Acceleration Committee (BAC): a nationwide alliance of industry and government aiming to coordinate efforts to increase the use of BIM in the country.
BAC, sponsored by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and BRANZ developed a website for the BIMinNZ group (biminnz.co.nz) to support a framework for adoption (maturity). The documents created for this initiative relied heavily on the UK, and there is a palpable push for BIM Maturity Level 2 as a framework for adoption.
One of the first documents was the NZ BIM Handbook — initially developed by NATSPEC in Australia in 2013 — suggesting that NZ was looking to Australia for support in this area at that time. However, following an industry review in NZ it was completely re-written by industry and published in 2014, and again updated in 2016 to highlight the BIM benefits to all industry.
The website now hosts a plethora of information including case studies, BIM Tools, education, training and opinion pieces to promote BIM, all with the aim “to grow New Zealand for all through safer, healthier and more affordable homes and buildings”.
The relationship between New Zealand and the UK is strong, not least due to its Commonwealth status, shared language and shared values of democracy. It’s therefore not that surprising to see similarities within industry, such as the levels of confusion when it comes to the definition of BIM, and the need for adequate training.
Rebecca De Cicco is the director and founder of Digital Node, a BIM-based consultancy working with clients all over the world to educate, manage and support the implementation of a clearly defined process, underpinned by technology.
As in the UK, NZ is keen to measure BIM progress and maturity through a national BIM survey. The 2017 BIM in New Zealand report — the fourth year of a five-year programme that follows progress in accelerating the introduction of BIM into NZ — saw the overall proportion of industry projects which use some form of BIM rise slightly from 55% to 57% of projects. However, the survey did indicate that there was still a level of confusion across industry, highlighting that: “There is also a perceived lack of clarity among industry stakeholders around processes required for BIM to be efficient and what BIM is and is not.”
In addition, one response in the survey also said: “Lack of industry experience is the biggest issue, along with clients’ reluctance to forward load spending on good BIM foundations. National BIM standards would help reduce these entry costs and lubricate the BIM process in NZ.”
Adequate BIM training and knowledge is the backbone of any BIM adoption plan, but with the use of standards and terminology being fairly inconsistent across the globe, this could prove detrimental to progress. However, as NZ is heavily reliant on the UK BIM Framework, I think the future here looks bright, especially considering the international standard being created to support industry: ISO19650. In addition to this, NZ formed a BIM industry training group in 2016 that has rolled out introductory training across the county, supported by the BAC and BRANZ.
In writing this article, I spoke with Glenn Jowett, Senior Associate BIM Delivery Lead at Beca, who said:
“As a relatively small market in comparison to other parts of the world, New Zealand is certainly punching above its weight with its BIM implementation efforts.
“New Zealand is very much a ‘fast follower’. Our small size and relatively tight knit market and the relationships within it allow innovation to thrive, especially if people see the demonstrable benefits to them and their projects. This has been the case in the Christchurch and Wellington markets. Auckland being a much larger market has the scale to adopt learnings and new ways of working and really drive them forward.”
The continued push from government and the private sector in NZ has certainly produced greater uptake of BIM principles and methodologies in the region, and with the drive from the community toward innovation, it’s fair to conclude that NZ is on the right path. The challenges they face are similar to that of most regions and while progress to date is good, there is always more to do.
Read Rebecca’s other articles in this series:
‘BIM – born in the USA’
In the second instalment of a series of articles examining the level of BIM adoption globall, Rebecca turns her attention to the USA.
‘BIM, the Chinese way’
BIM adoption in the world’s most populous nation.
‘BIM in Australia – are we there yet?’
The level of BIM adoption in Australia
‘BIM in Europe – a bright future?‘
How Europe is grasping the opportunities available to deliver a harmonious digital construction industry
NXT BLD 2018
Rebecca addressed NXT BLD 2018, presenting her unique global perspective on BIM adoption, specifically with implementation of Smart City projects. See her presentation here.
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