The BIM Journey

Posted by Richard Poulter, Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong on Friday, November 11, 2022

Let’s dive into history for a moment and list the 4 main industrial revolutions of our time:

  • First Industrial Revolution was born from coal in 1765.

  • Second Industrial Revolution when gas was harvested in 1870.

  • Third Industrial Revolution when electronics and nuclear became prevalent in 1969.

  • Fourth Industrial Revolution saw the evolving internet and renewable energy in 2000.

If we look at electronic technology, the digital revolution known as the Third Industrial Revolution above, saw the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology to digital technology.

Building Information Modelling

Building Information Modelling is a very broad term which describes the process of building and managing a digital model of a piece of infrastructure such as a road or tunnel, a building or a facility, covering the journey from design, construction, operation, maintenance and ultimately decommissioning. Civil Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Planners and Project Managers all benefit from this powerful digital modelling process.

BIM is an information management tool for project managers to share back and forth data, designs and models across the entire lifecycle of a project to facilitate design intent, clash detection, value engineering and lifecycle costing.

There are 3 levels of maturity of BIM culminating to date in a British Standard specification; “BS 19650”. Level 0 and Level 1 describe unmanaged and managed CAD; Computer Aided Design;  Level 2 involves building information within an integrated workflow 3D environment including sequencing, cost and time but created in different discipline models; Level 3 is a work in progress and will integrate into one model online, the full collaboration of all parties throughout all stages of the lifecycle of a project from concept to demolition.  

Adopting BIM

Notwithstanding the term “building modelling” to describe collaborative computer aided drawing was first used in 1986, the UK were early adopters of BIM in its present digital form in 2008.

The Hong Kong Institute of Building Information Modelling was created in 2009 although the journey of adoption across the industry in Hong Kong has been sluggish. Although the Housing Authority HA started piloting projects using BIM in 2006, it wasn’t until 2018 that Development Bureau in Hong Kong issued a circular describing the requirement to adopt BIM for capital work projects in Hong Kong.

Although BIM immediately conjures an image of computer aided design or CAD used primarily by architects, structural engineers and building services engineers, BIM in its broader sense is an information sharing platform for the multitude of stakeholders across all of the construction industry sectors.  

 Challenges ahead

The evolution of BIM has created a significant number of new job roles and one of the main challenges has been to define the roles and responsibilities among the parties involved in the project.

The BIM flow of information demands specific application hardware and software, standards and personnel with particular skills. Three core roles have been identified by the Construction Industry Council, a statutory organisation established to focuses on the construction industry's needs and aspirations as well as providing a communication channel with local Government to solicit advice on all construction-related matters. These roles are:

  • BIM Modellers
  • BIM Coordinators
  • BIM Managers

The job duties, responsibilities, skills and experience required can be found on the BIM website

Where are we going?

BIM is certainly here to stay and with the rapid advancement in technology, BIM is becoming ever more sophisticated and an integral part of the construction industry’ future. It will continue to allow designers, engineers and contractors to collaborate and coordinate and the future will see an incredible level of intelligent automation within the BIM model.

As BIM becomes ever more important, opportunities globally for BIM Modellers, BIM Engineers and BIM Managers become ever present. Hong Kong ‘s BIM journey is gathering pace and the demand for talent in the BIM environment is hotting up. If you would like to know about opportunities which exist within BIM in Hong Kong please take a look at our website for job openings.

Richard Poulter
Richard Poulter
Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong
Maxim Recruitment

Richard has successfully recruited for the construction industry for the past 13 years following 15 years as a civil engineer and construction project manager. He is based in Hong Kong and responsible for Maxim Recruitment operations in Hong Kong, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.