Blog discussing the terminology, jargon and language barriers around BIM and the effects on UK construction and the wider talent market

Digital Construction companies BIMboozled by terminology

Gareth Back, Senior Recruiter at FMC Global Talent
Gareth Back, Senior Recruiter at FMC Global Talent

Digital Construction terminology is one of the main barriers for UK construction companies to adopt and implement BIM. It’s also a contributing factor towards the government’s failings to promote and convince companies over BIM level 2 mandate.

A quick Google search doesn’t help. In fact, this is where the problem starts… Industry leaders with BIM in their title have been accused of mistreating terminology and consequently blurring the lines between new and traditional workflows.

The early adopters and pioneers of BIM are also guilty of BIM snobbery, creating the feel of an exclusive club. Since then, others have created their own terminology to substitute for the “real” thing.

There’s no doubting the benefits of BIM but wading through the sea of BIM jargon is a tiresome and confusing exercise.

The effects on UK Construction

It’s hard to believe that the ambiguity around BIM terminology can cause so much disruption to the UK construction sector.

This was reflected in the latest NBS 2019 BIM report, where nearly 50% of respondents claimed they have little confidence in their knowledge of BIM.

It’s also having a knock-on effect on talent whereby consultant’s look discreditable and future talent (both the graduate market and other software industries) are discouraged from joining the industry.

Not to mention the wider construction market where:

  • Companies are being discouraged from investing in BIM
  • BIM investment, implementation and adoption are delayed
  • Businesses struggle to make informed decisions from BIM post implementation
  • Limited evidence of BIM Level 2 mandate progress
  • Legal complexities

Overcoming the terminology barrier

Each of the industry recognised BIM experts interviewed for this project provided a different definition of BIM Level 2.

This quote from The Winfield Rock Report is largely unsurprising and reaffirms the difficulty BIM “experts” have with distinguishing the BIM jargon, let alone other your average technology professional. Clearly change must begin at the top of the BIM food chain.

With that said, a collaboration between the three leading bodies (British Standards Institution, UK BIM Alliance and the Centre for Digital Built Britain) within BIM standards agreed earlier in the year to “create a single guidance framework” for the adoption and implementation of ISO 19650 Parts 1 and 2.

Whilst we wait with bated breath, the hope is that this framework will take precedence over the jungle of existing BIM jargon.

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