The UK BIM journey to date

Following the British Standards Institution (BSI) launch event marking the publication of the BS EN ISO 19650 documents, National Annex and Transition Guidance, Dr Anne Kemp, BIM Strategy & Development Director, Atkins and Chair of UK BIM Alliance sets out the UK BIM journey to date and invites input and support.

An important milestone has been crossed – the publication at international (ISO), European (CEN) and UK level of BS EN ISO 19650 Parts One and Two. Based on the principles of BIM Level 2, but tested and adapted for the global stage, these two documents have taken four years to get through the international and European standards development process. But this is only the start of the journey. Development and publication of standards is a pretty pointless exercise if they are not adopted and implemented within the sector.

I’d like to take this opportunity to explain a little about how ISO 19650 has come about and what we must do to facilitate widespread implementation.

The decision to move to an international standardisation of what in the UK has become known as BIM Level 2 was signalled as early as 2011 in the report for the Government Construction Client Group. BSI as our National Standards Body triggered this as a new work item within ISO as the international standards organisation, and then through what is known as the Vienna Agreement at European level within the European Committee for Standardization (CEN).

The story of how BIM Level 2 has progressed and matured has extended nearly a decade. Many people have been involved in this journey on a pro bono or voluntary basis, and I for one would like to thank them for all that they have done. During this time, additional standards have been added to the UK suite of documents (often referred to as the 1192 suite) – and we have been able to incorporate these changes and lessons learnt within the ISO standards. But equally we have had the benefit of learning from our international colleagues and taking on board their own experience and points of view. It is fair to say that there have been some intense arguments and negotiations. But at the end of the day, it has been possible to reach consensus.

Fundamentally, ISO 19650 addresses development of a consistent approach to managing information through the whole life cycle of buildings and infrastructure – a vital first step in the progression of the built environment sector to digital transformation. We are now very much in the critical phase of making BIM Level 2 ‘Business as Usual’ (BAU) in the UK, and the transition to ISO 19650 gives us the opportunity to have a spring clean of the plethora of guidance and training that has developed over the last 10 years, and to write a single guidance framework which is clear, concise and to the point.

Over the past four years there have been many meetings and many comments to individually address. So, what have we ended up with? Specifically, the concepts and principles of BS1192:2007 and Pas 1192 Part 2 have been incorporated into ISO 19650 Part One. We have also been able to introduce the concepts and principles of whole life and operation and maintenance (in particular PAS1192 Part 3) and reference the need for security mindedness (Part 5). Where consensus has been reached, the requirements of BS1192:2007 and PAS1192 Part 2 have been incorporated into ISO 19650 Part 2. Some could not be agreed upon. In this case, we have included these in the UK National Annex, which in the BSI publication appears at the end of what is now titled BS EN ISO 19650 Part 2.

In the UK we have prepared a Transition Guidance (PD 19650_0), which is targeted at those who have been using the 1192 suite of documents already to implement BIM Level 2 and need help to understand what has changed, or has been presented in a slightly different way. In this manner, it is now possible to deliver the BIM Level 2 wrapper, using the ISO 19650 framework.

With the publication by BSI of the ISO 19650 documents, BS 1192:2007 and PAS1192 Part 2 have to be withdrawn by BSI as the National Standards Body. They will however, still be available but lose their status as standards. Parts 3 and Parts 5 are currently going through the same standardisation process at ISO and CEN, and it is hoped they will be published some time in 2020.


I am pleased to tell you that a team is working hard to prepare the Guidance Framework which will help all of us – particularly those of us who are yet to start our BIM journey – to implement BIM as BAU in the UK. We aim to deliver the first phase of this by the end of March, and the second by the end of June. We aim to address any issues arising from the transition – or ones which remained within the 1192 suite – within this Framework. I anticipate that transition across to the ISO standards will be progressive over the next 12 to 18 months as clients and the supply chain adjust their training, processes and systems in response to ISO 19650.


Collectively BSI, CDBB and UK BIM Alliance have recognised that it is not helpful for there to be lots of different guidance appearing from different organisations and institutions. As a result we are collaboratively developing this single Guidance Framework and encouraging the whole of industry to get behind this framework, rather than develop a plethora of different ‘ flavours’ which only serve to conflict and confuse.


We welcome your input and support. Please do get in touch through the UK BIM Alliance if you would like to help. Or let us know if you yourself need help on your journey to BIM as BAU.

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