BIM Collaboration

Victoria Fillingham
Faithful+Gould supports collaborative relationships with academia and is jointly funding my research into the wider use of BIM.

This is such an exciting time for the built environment as Building Information Modelling (BIM) has the potential to dramatically change the way the industry operates. I'm fortunate to be part of a pioneering research project designed to critically evaluate current interfaces between project and cost consultancy and the wider construction supply chain.

This is such an exciting time for the built environment as Building Information Modelling (BIM) has the potential to dramatically change the way the industry operates.

My journey began when I studied Architecture with Environmental Engineering at the University of Nottingham, graduating in 2011 with a Masters in Engineering, accredited by both the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

My next step was working in industry as an Architectural Assistant, but I felt I could make more impact on industry within the field of research. During the final stages of my degree I had heard murmurings about the BIM process and I became interested in the collaborative research opportunity offered by the Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments Centre (TSBE) at the University of Reading.

I've now embarked on an Engineering Doctorate programme which over the next four years will help guide the development of BIM capability as the construction industry works towards the government’s target to deliver Level 2 BIM for all publicly funded projects by 2016 (PDF, 495KB). I'm jointly funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and by Faithful+Gould.

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The project has been designed to critically evaluate the current interfaces used between project teams, cost consultants and the wider supply chain; identifying how existing service delivery requirements are challenged by the adoption of BIM and the carbon economy. With the aim of proposing areas for change and improvement, the project will evaluate the use of open standard formats, current legislation and investment criteria, as well as identifying the complexities of change within the industry. You can see more details on my project poster (PDF, 666KB).

Right now my time is divided between my literature review and my investigation of industry case studies. I'm based at the University of Reading and my partner organisation Faithful+Gould’s London Euston Tower base. Initially my emphasis has been on narrowing the focus and crystallising the scope of the research. The first sixth months has been dedicated to evaluating BIM implementation within the UK construction industry. The project is tracking the BIM Task Group’s progress against the original expectations set in 2011.

The relationship between academia and industry is vitally important – it’s very much a two-way process, with each party gaining strength from the other’s knowledge and input. Academia provides us with a platform for investigation that industry struggles to achieve in the current economy, enabling an ongoing dialogue.

The beauty of being supported by leading multi-disciplinary consultancy Faithful+Gould is the opportunity to actively work alongside project teams on really exciting live projects.

The beauty of being supported by leading multi-disciplinary consultancy Faithful+Gould is the opportunity to actively work alongside project teams on really exciting live projects. For example the BIM early adopter Ministry of Justice project and Birmingham City University. The in-house philosophy of industry-wide collaboration around BIM is perfect for my research – we're all in agreement that sharing information and best practice is the way to go.

Faithful+Gould is pushing innovation within the company structure and I'm working alongside the strategic asset management team, which aims to maximise the potential of facilities by continually monitoring and reviewing use. Faithful+Gould's approach to projects aims to look at the whole picture - the whole life of the facility. The plan is that my research will aid this workstream, applying information modelling principles to create a leaner, greener management process.

Faithful+Gould encourages its people to develop their capability and push boundaries, so I'm enjoying being part of a proactive, questioning and client-focused team.

Faithful+Gould encourages its people to develop their capability and push boundaries, so I'm enjoying being part of a proactive, questioning and client-focused team. I work closely with Adrian Malone and Shahida Rajabdeen  who are at the forefront of BIM innovation, and are working with professional bodies, industry groups and clients to develop BIM solutions and standards.

The association with parent company Atkins adds a further dimension, as does the great internal technical support and good relationship with software providers. In house, we're also establishing a framework that will enable all staff to handle BIM opportunities confidently in a supportive and knowledgeable environment.

This will not only lead to a strategically placed and well tested outcome based on real-life situations, but will allow for the continual investigation and development of ideas throughout these next four years.