From 2016 the UK government has mandated that BIM be used in construction.  We asked Tekla UK resident expert Duncan Reed, who serves on many BIM task groups, to explain a little more about what this means in practice.  Duncan shares the UK's BIS-BIM Strategy, as well as, highlights the 8 pillars of Level 2 BIM.  Read more in his blog here...

Overview of BIM in the UK

In 2011 the UK Government set out a major plan for Building Information Modelling (BIM) adoption that is still pretty much unique in the world. 

Link to the BIS-BIM Strategy Report

Rather than just develop 3D modelling standards, as has been done in several countries, the Report recommended the creation of model process standards and guidance across the entire lifecycle of a project.  Since then this has developed into what is now known in the UK as the 8 pillars of Level 2 BIM.  If you're unfamiliar with the UK definition of BIM Levels, they have been defined in the document above in what is known as the BIM wedge.


In brief the levels are defined as follows:

Level 0 - paper based document exchanges

Level 1 - electronic document exchanges using an agreed document numbering system.  Document status is clearly defined.  Can be with 2D and 3D digital information.

Level 2 - 3D model sharing an collaborative by the team, outputs as both 2D and 3D deliverables.

Level 3 - the future for the UK Construction Industry.  Now branded as Digital Built Britain with a strategy report published in February 2015.


Following this original Government report in 2011 the definition of Level 2 in the UK has been defined by the publication of 8 documents, with one or more to follow later this year.  These documents are as follows:

  1. BS1192:2007
  2. PAS1192-2:2013
  3. PAS1192-3:2014
  4. BS1192-4:2014
  5. BIM Protocol
  6. Government Soft Landings
  7. Classification
  8. Digital Plan of Works


This suite of documents, the BS1192 family plus additional documents, have been created to allow customers and all parties involved in the creation of physical assets, to define processes and procedures around the electronic exchange of data sets.

To fully deliver Level 2 BIM on a project the team should adopt all of these documents.  In many cases all the documents are often considered but not necessarily adopted and so the project is often described as working 'in the spirit' of Level 2.  Equally there is not a single version of Level 2 as these guidance documents allow project teams to pick and choose the precise way they decide to deliver on the requirements.  

So what do these 8 documents cover?  Well in brief this is what each one has been created to define.




This is the foundation document to UK BIM processes.  It defines the collaboration management processes that a project team are required to adopt for issuing information and secondly, it provides a numbering system template so that information can be searched on electronic data bases.






This document defines how data is to be managed during the construction phase of a project; also known as the Capex – or capital expenditure phase

It gives guidance on the processes required and recommends the use of several template document documents like the Employers Information Requirements (EIRs) and the BIM Execution Plan (BEP)







PAS1192 is the partner document to PAS 1192-2 above but deals with the Operation Phase of an asset – Opex and therefore the way that facilities management teams should access construction information and built upon the data set for the lifecycle of the asset. But this isn’t just about data after Practical Completion – it’s also about setting out the data requirements right from the inception of a project.







This document is the UK definition of COBie, the Construction Operation Building Exchanger format data scheme developed in the USA and used worldwide as a sub set of IFC, Industry Foundation Class. This is the standard for defining the method of exchanging data, primarily the non-graphical portion.

COBie is defined internationally in ISO 16739:2013






BIM Protocol

In order to ‘do’ BIM the UK government has also identified that slight amendments need to be made to the current construction contracts available. The BIM Protocol is a legal addendum to allow parties to share data within a contract, when working up to level 2 BIM.







Government Soft Landings

Soft Landings is a re-vamp of a much older BSRIA document whereby contractors are required to stay with their customers for a period time, typically 3-5 years and assist them in learning how to operate their asset effectively. 





In order that data can be read accurately and quickly by software systems, classification of data is a critical process. Consistency is vital. In the UK Uniclass3 has recently been published as the intended standard to be used for classifying every part of an asset.



Digital Plan of Works

Another key part of BIM is the delivery of lean processes. The Digital Plan of Works seeks to define what information is required at what point in the lifecycle of an asset and can be used to allocate responsibilities for creating and issuing this data.



The last two documents in this list have recently been published as an online beta tool by the NBS, part of RIBA Enterprises. This is an online tool that allows project teams to define what data is needed when, who is to produce it and can also check that data created is suitable and sufficient for the requirements of the project.

An overview of the NBS BIM Toolkit can be found here

Post script:

As a result of early adopter projects now becoming live schemes and moving to the Facilities Management phase, the UK Government has also identified the need for cyber security to be considered when sharing data about assets. As a result PAS1192-5:2015, a new draft standard for cyber security was published in January 2015. This has yet to be ratified but it is expected to become a definitive guidance document late in 2015.

So in summary the UK has produced a set of documents to deliver 8 specific requirements for BIM through the lifecycle of a project. They are summarised below.


Duncan is the Digital Construction Process Manager with Tekla (UK) Ltd. His focus is on ensuring existing customers get the best out of their existing BIM tools, advising on the adoption of new tools to that can improve business efficiency as well as developing work flows to maximise interoperability and collaboration between organisations.


In addition to this Duncan works with industry bodies such as the BIM Task Group, BuildingSMART, Buildoffsite, COMit, British Precast, BCSA and Constructing Excellence to share knowledge and disseminate best practice in the UK and abroad. Duncan is also the chair of thinkBIM, the knowledge exchange network at Leeds Beckett University.