News & Views

HS2 Must Clarify BIM Expectations or Risk Restricting Supply Chain Engagement Warns FPS

With the recent HS2 Supply Chain Event [held in Birmingham on 5th November 2013] highlighting the importance of BIM use within all elements of the project, The Federation of Piling Specialist’s (FPS) warns that a lack of clarity over BIM expectations risks excluding many tier two contractors – piling subcontractors included.

FPS Chairman, Jim De Waele, said: “HS2 [The client] must specify now what its expectations are in terms of BIM if they wish to engage with the widest possible number of contractors, so that the supply chain, and in particular the smaller tier two contractors, can start planning and investing in the appropriate technology. There is no doubt that HS2 has the potential to be quite lucrative and will present many opportunities to pretty much all areas of construction, but to maximise the spread of potential benefits, across the widest construction sector, specifics are needed now.

The construction sector is often accused of being slow to innovate, yet I believe the best way to encourage the entire length of supply chain to adapt is to describe, clearly and distinctly, what is required. In terms of BIM, with requirements defined, suppliers of solutions and products can then make an informed choice over whether to invest or not in the tools and skills necessary to be a part of this project. In addition, it gives those companies with some catching up to do, the time to get up to speed and be BIM level 2 compliant if that is what is required”.
Jim continued “This is an issue for our members and we are doing everything we can to prepare them for BIM and a common data environment. We have produced some great summaries of what BIM means to our membership, but the issue will affect the entire potential HS2 supply chain unless clarification comes quickly”.

With the first pre-qualification for the site investigation phase being offered shortly, the FPS also calls for tighter specification of the requirements for data collection, with Jim De Waele also commenting: “We have long had 3D representations derived from AGS data, and the AGS members, the site investigation companies, provide their work in this format, but by and large, by the time their associates and FPS members get involved with the job, the data in AGS format has been lost. Instead pdf’s and scanned borehole logs are what remains. We now have the chance to see what BIM can deliver from cradle to grave: in this case from the site investigation to the instrumentation and monitoring data that will be used by the owners of the asset.”