EDIT Jan 2019: ISO 19650 was published in January 2019, replacing PAS 1192-2.
As the UK Government’s BIM Mandate begins to take effect during 2016, companies in the construction supply chain are getting ready to demonstrate their working practices comply with the BIM process.
Many firms are seeking to quantify their capabilities through a certification scheme in the same way they have with ISO standards, but it these early days, the consistency of certification schemes looks varied.
What is BIM?
The BIM culture goes beyond simply creating 3D CAD images, it aims to Capture, Model and Analyse all the data generated through-out the life cycle of a building.
It’s difficult to codify a culture so broad, although it is starting to happen through several specific and related standards.
PAS 1192-2 “Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling” a technical specification created specifically to address information exchange in construction.
While BS 11000 the standard for Collaborative Business Relationships has been developed more generally, but embodies many BIM principles.
Traditional standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 (Soon to become ISO 45001) can also support BIM processes by focusing on Quality, Environment and Health & Safety Respectively.
What certification is Available?
There are several schemes already available however without a unifying standard, the scope of these varies.
Of course, individually, companies can be certified to various ISO standard included those mentioned above, but each will demonstrate just part of the overall BIM picture.
Some, including BRE and BSI, have considered PAS 1192-2 the gap in certification and as such have designed schemes to certify to that standard.
An offering from LRQA appears to consider the “BIM maturity Levels” of the company and state:
“BIM Level 2 shall only be awarded where full compliance with PAS 91:2013, PAS 1192-2:2013, PAS 1192-3:2014, BS11000-1:2010 and all published sections of BS 1192 can be demonstrated.”
Key Considerations with BIM Certification
Training and Competence
BIM skills are still not widespread in the construction supply chain itself, and there are concerns over the availability of competent and experienced auditors to run a certification scheme.
The BIM Task Group Learning Outcomes Framework and BRE’s aligned Certificated Professional Scheme are one example of how the industry is trying to formalise BIM skills, however in most cases it is unclear the extent of the training certification auditors are getting.
For many, a BIM certification scheme needs to be internationally recognised. UK Construction has a well-respected place on the world stage, and many of our biggest construction firms are involved in projects over seas.
BIM is also an international movement, so commercially it makes sense for companies to adopt a uniformed scheme across their global footprint.
Will these Schemes solve the Government Mandate problem?
We can assume that while any of the available schemes can be voluntarily adopted by the industry, UK Government departments are not directed to seek suppliers holding any particular certification.
This could also mean that the government will separately verify the BIM capabilities of an organisation during the tendering process.
This does not necessarily mean certification is wasted though, as preparing for certification itself can bring structure, formality and evidence to BIM processes which can then be provided during a tender.
Is it just better to wait for ISO 19650 Progress?
With so many unknown quantities it raises the question, is it better to wait for ISO to agree and publish it’s standard for “Organization of information about construction works — Information management using building information modelling” know as ISO 19650?
Part 1 of the standard is, at time of writing, at the proposal stage.
It’s likely that an international standard would sit better on an international stage, however this will not be fully published in 2016, in-fact it’s hard to know a definitive timeline.
The credibility of certification schemes in general could also be a concern. With the well-established standards, such as ISO 9001, there is clear and independent governance of the scheme through UKAS in the UK and ANAB in America.