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Building services SMEs ‘not ready’ for BIM 

4 November 2015 | Marino Donati

Small and medium-sized firms could be “frozen out” of billions of pounds of central government contracts, says the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA).

In the run-up to the approaching mandatory use of ‘BIM Level 2’ in all Whitehall-procured contracts, the ECA survey found that 54 per cent of contractors with a turnover of less than £1 million are “not ready at all” for Building Information Modelling (BIM). Thirty per cent of companies with earnings between £1 million and £20 million say the same.

This compares with 11 per cent of the largest firms – those with turnovers of more than £20 million – while most say they are either fully ready or nearly ready.

The survey also found that one in three SME contractors has a BIM champion compared with almost three out of four larger firms.

Eight out of 10 SMEs do not have a BIM planning group, compared with one in three larger contractors.

While more than half of larger companies say there is enough “practically useful and publically available” information on BIM, only one in four small firms feel the same.

According to the survey, almost seven in 10 respondents say they do not have a suitable BIM management process in place.

ECA director of business services Paul Reeve said: “Our survey shows that the majority of building services SMEs are not ready for BIM and could find themselves effectively frozen out from central government contracts.”

He said the ECA would shortly publish an action plan to help building services firms prepare for BIM Level 2.

It will include a ‘BIM readiness checklist’, a ‘BIM jargon-buster’ and case studies. The ECA also said it would work with partners to develop awareness and training.

The ECA’s sector-wide survey was backed by partners including the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, BSRIA, the Building and Engineering Services Association and SELECT.

The full results of the survey will be released later this year.