Osborne Predicts 50% of 2015 Work at Level 2

The year ahead for £325m turnover contractor Osborne will see a “step change” in the volume of public sector projects using BIM, according to Dr Rennie Chadwick, the company’s director of design and IT and a member of the CIOB Innovation & Research Panel.

Chadwick predicted that projects delivering Level 2 BIM would make up 10% of its turnover at the start of 2015, rising sharply to 50% by the end of the year.

“We’ll be changing gear. We’ve got an internal adoption rate curve diagram, and the gradient changes pretty steeply – that’s coming to fruition next year,” he told BIM +.

The main source of public sector Level 2 BIM projects will be Osborne’s clutch of long-term framework appointments. The Reigate-based contractor has recently been confirmed on the Highways Agency Collaborative Delivery Framework, and last year secured a place on Network Rail’s framework for its Wessex Route in the south of England. 

Meanwhile, it is currently bidding on the renewal of London Construction Programme and the IESE (Improvement and Efficiency South East) Framework.

“A lot of the work we do is delivered through frameworks and framework operators are aligning themselves with the BIM Level 2, so we’ll be making  a step change in 2015,” said Chadwick.

Osborne has already committed to using BIM in its 5 year multi-function  Wessex framework for Network Rail, having already completed its first BIM project with four more in the pipeline.

At IESE, Osborne has already worked with the framework operator’s team on developing BIM guidance for its member organisations, which tend to be infrequent clients. “We wanted to demystify it, there is a lot of jargon and acronyms around BIM that tend to put people off. From a customer perspective, they don’t necessarily need that level of detail.”

“So we collaborated with the IESE framework team and produced a set of Plain Language Questions, to help tease this out, which would also enable the supply chain to shape the BIM offer to meet their specific requirements.”

Chadwick predicted that suppliers such as Osborne would get “smarter” at offering clients a BIM menu with different options.  “We’ve got to be much more astute in working out how we offer BIM to clients. The standards are there to drive standardisation of process and the structure of the information, but there’s still a requirement to finesse the information we supply to customers. That’s certainly part of our objectives at Osborne – understanding the customer’s needs, and shaping our expertise to fit that.”

“We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to engage with BIM, without having to spend too much and so that there’s benefit for each of the players in a project. If everyone waited for everyone else to move first, there would be no progress made.”

The contractor has adopted a suite of Autodesk tools, including an enterprise wide subscription to the BIM 360 cloud-based platform. This includes Autodesk Glue, which lets designers co-ordinate and develop  models regardless of the underlying modelling software; and Navisworks Manage, to federate design models and add cost and time dimensions to the design.

It also includes Autodesk Field, enabling all site based staff to access the design models via tablets and capture ‘as-built’ information and manage the physical construction works. Chadwick commented: “Our investment in BIM360 makes it possible for anyone working with us in one of our BIM projects to contribute models, view them or use them without any need to invest further in their own technology.  All they need is a PC or an iPad and an internet connection, removing many of the perceived barriers to entry from a technology and process point of view.”

Chadwick also said that Osborne has trialled the use of the ACT-UK Simulation Centre in Coventry as a “visualisation cave”, projecting data from BIM models onto its wrap-around screens. “It’s useful for taking something that’s relatively complex to understand, then visualising the problem and finding the solution.”

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