UK BIM Alliance welcomes the Hackitt Report

The UKBIM Alliance welcomes the Final Report by Dame Judith Hackitt, ‘Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’, published last week. 

The Alliance is the umbrella body representing BIM Regions, BIM4 sector groups and special interest groups, all groups of individual volunteers who came together over the last 7 years to help industry manage the transition to the Government’s 2016 Mandate for BIM set out in the 2012 Government Construction Strategy. 

All UK BIM Alliance groups are committed to work towards a digital future for the construction industry and recognise the need for the industry to modernise. The fire at Grenfell Tower was one of several incidents which demonstrate how important this work is for everyone. 

Whilst the work of Dame Hackitt and her team was commissioned after the Grenfell Tower tragedy and has a specific remit to look at High Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs), her report’s findings have implications for the whole of the built environment, and if implemented will bring benefits to building users, operators, constructors, designers and owners. Much of the report is also pertinent to the wider infrastructure industry – which the Alliance also serves. 

The Alliance welcomes these messages from the Hackitt Report: 

  • The condemnation of siloed thinking within the industry;
  • The recommendation for a clear model of risk ownership and the prioritisation of building safety in procurement;
  • The advocacy of BIM as an approach to enable improved transparency and integrity of information throughout the building lifecycle;
  • The need for a consistent labelling and traceability system for construction products, and
  • The requirement for a digital record of buildings, including products used, to underpin a more effective understanding of a built asset.

The Alliance is already working in some of these areas to identify areas of difficulty and find solutions. For example, it sponsored the Winfield Rock Report which looks at the legal and contractual implications of BIM. The Alliance has also supported a project to look at client requirements with a view to enabling clients to be more aware of what is possible and take a more active role in demanding outcomes from a BIM process.

In March this year, the Alliance set up a Product Data Working Group whose remit is to report on the “state of the nation” regarding product data. The group, which will report in the Autumn, has already committed to open data principles, encouraging industry to learn more about and align with International, European and UK Standards, and for communication of these standards to be improved.  The working group expects that whilst some solutions exist and only need to be implemented, it will identify other areas where industry is not united behind a way forward. The Alliance hopes that the working group’s report will provide clarity, leadership and direction on product data, a key element of the ‘golden thread of building information’ described in Chapter 8 of the Report.

UK BIM Alliance Chair Anne Kemp said,

“The UK BIM Alliance is a cross-industry body and as such is in a unique position to enable industry to break down siloes and work collaboratively. We call upon all our communities to read the Hackitt Report and look at how they can work together and through the Alliance bring about the digital transformation our industry so badly needs.”