NEWS: NBS wins BIM Toolkit development contract for UK Government

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NBS has won the £1 million Technology Strategy Board contract to develop the Digital Toolkit for BIM for the procurement of buildings and infrastructure. The Toolkit defines and tests the BIM data required at each stage of a project.

The award follows a two stage competition to examine the feasibility of the project, which will deliver the final two elements of the standards and guidance being provided by the UK Government. This free-to-use BIM toolkit will make available a digital plan of work and a classification system which incorporates definitions for over 5,000 construction objects at each of the delivery stages throughout the life of a built environment asset.

The NBS team includes BIM Academy, BDP, Laing O’Rourke, Microsoft and Newcastle University. The team conducted an in-depth research programme within the industry to test its proposals for a free-to-use digital BIM tool that captures, validates and stores information based on publicly available Level 2 BIM standards.

A series of workshops and focus groups were held with leading manufacturers, clients, project managers, designers, constructors and operators to ensure that the design of the toolkit satisfied the cross-industry need.

A series of working prototypes have been produced which include a cloud computing demonstration harness and an IFC verification tool. The bid includes a commitment to complete Uniclass 2 which will be developed as the UK’s unified classification system based on international frameworks. The project, which is being supported by the BIM Task Group and Department for Business, Innovation & Skills is seen as a vital part of the global race to develop an open standard and supporting tools for BIM adoption.

Level 2 BIM, which the government is mandating by 2016, is made up of a number of components as defined by the BIM Task Group. Many of the standards and guidance documents have already been developed; now this project will deliver the final two pieces of the jigsaw. With the UK market for BIM-related services estimated to be an annual £30bn by 2020 and UK-based firms already exporting £7bn of architectural and engineering services, taking a leadership position in developing BIM will provide strong potential for further export growth.

Speaking about the latest funding award, Stephen Hamil, Director of Design and Innovation at NBS said: “Delivery of a best-in-class digital toolkit that completes Level 2 BIM is a vital component of the Government’s strategy for the construction industry which will deliver huge benefits.

“We’re naturally delighted to have been chosen to deliver the BIM Toolkit and will be working with our partners to develop our proposals further and provide a free-to-use tool that will help give the UK construction industry ‘first-mover’ advantage in the global marketplace. We are looking forward to working with the BIM Task Group to build on their achievements particularly with regards to industry engagement and thought leadership.”


Richard Waterhouse, Chief Executive of RIBA Enterprises, which owns NBS said, “It is essential that we gain cross-industry support and input on this project if it is to be a success. We already have the backing of key organisations such as CIBSE, CIOB, ICE, IStructE, RIBA and RICS and we will be extending and widening this dialogue over the coming months.”

The project is set to start in October and is anticipated to deliver the first phases of the toolkit in the spring of 2015.

David Philp, head of BIM with the UK BIM Task Group, said that “The completion of the Digital Plan of Works (DPow) and Classification System will not only complete the Level 2 BIM suite but help drive the take-up of BIM, support exploitation of the standards and ensure that the UK remains at the vanguard of a digital transformation in the built environment”.

For more information about the project and to register your interest in partaking in BETA testing or regular updates, visit

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