ISO 19650: going global part II

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In the second and final installment of this article on ISO 19650, Rebecca De Cicco explains why the UK is benefiting most from the practical application of the new standard

We have seen much momentum since the release of both the international and British versions of ISO 19650. This is an exciting time for our industry as finally a global solution for BIM is now available.

Regions with little or no guidance are beginning to utilise new BIM processes and adopt a common language. With the British standards being used as a foundation for the development of the ISO, there is much to look forward to when it comes to its future use in the UK.

What excites me the most, is that we have a world of opportunity ahead of us as a global industry, where we’ll see regions with little to no standards trying to adopt new processes they know very little about.

The uptake on the use of PAS 1192-2 and 3 in regions such as Australia and China for example, was an excellent start, which can only grow further now we have the ISO. However, even though there is an understanding of the importance of the standards, no official mandate exists in these other countries like it does in the UK therefore gaining mass buy-in will be challenging – but we’re ready to take on that challenge!

It will be an interesting journey to see the implementation of ISO 19650 across the world and although we don’t have clear visibility across every region when it comes to BIM implementation, we still understand that consistency in language, process and information delivered intelligently is crucial.

Here is my observation of where we are globally and why the disadvantages of other regions are proving to be a massive advantage to the UK, with expertise export opportunities now on our doorstep for UK BIM professionals to support other regions in their BIM adoption journey.

About the author

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.


UK domestic strength

It is known that the UK is more advanced than many other regions of the world in its BIM delivery thanks to the BIM mandate. Therefore, due to our understanding and regular use of the 1192 suite of standards, the transition to ISO (it is presumed) will be a smooth one. This is also supported by the fact that the UK is the first region to release the British Standards / CEN version of the ISO and to develop the very first regional annex.

The same ease of ISO implementation sadly cannot be said for a global roll-out. Much of the regional development in BIM outside of the UK is being haltered by jurisdiction as well as historical context and we’re seeing a very disjointed approach toward the uptake and use, as well as understanding of BIM according to ISO 19650. There are small pockets of BIM enthusiasts driving the BIM agenda in many different regions, however a formalised incentive is needed.

ISO 19650 international adoption

BIM knowledge is extremely varied from region to region with a distinct lack of consistency in process. However, appetite is growing, and the ISO is just the very beginning.

For us, the key was to start promoting the use of the ISO even before it had been released. Our work with both private clients and government in regions such as Australia and China has been governed and supported not only by British Standards but also the knowledge that the ISO was on its way. Although much of the work outside of the UK in terms of BIM process and standardisation is specific to a region, the opportunity for global trade in regions such as Australia and China is enormous.

There are also many organisations with offices all over the world and in particular in Australia that have been pushing and mandating PAS 1192-2 as a solution. Therefore, these companies are already open to new ways of working.

We are seeing that local standards are hindering the development and use of a consistent process; therefore, the adoption of the ISO will have the ability to wipe this out. For example, in the US and Canada local BIM standards are very much unique to the language, history and processes defined and developed in these regions. This is why we believe uptake in the US will initially be slow when it comes to the use of the ISO but for Canada things are a little more positive. Canada is already using UK methods and products such as the NBS BIM Library and this is very much true for Australia too.

There are also huge opportunities in China, as we see Hong Kong leading the way nationally with the development of local BIM standards and certification for BIM professionals. These projects have been influenced by the local authorities (Construction Industry Council in Hong Kong) which have taken much of the guidance from British Standards. Much work is now being undertaken to internationalise these products with the release of ISO 19650. UK businesses will begin to see the benefits of the ISO being implemented globally as specialised knowledge and skill will be required to support these types of initiatives.

New opportunities

The construction industry is currently in a state of development and change. Not only due to the implementation of consistently applied methods for BIM and Digital Engineering, but also the way technology is influencing every part of the way we design, build and operate. An international standard for BIM creates great opportunities for global trade and translation of skills and resources across the world. We will see the UK still act as global leader when it comes to BIM according to ISO 19650 purely based on historical context and the whole BIM journey which has provided advancement in a region where innovation leads the way.

Which is why other regions will be looking to the UK for leadership and guidance.

This is a great time for the construction industry, and we are certainly in a state of positive change globally. ISO 19650 has been long awaited by all those paving the way for a future built environment where information flows freely and is accessible when required. Now it’s time to use the new tools we have been given to make it work.

Read the first article in this series – ISO 19650: going global – here




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